Did you know the world’s largest concert was held this month? The concert had over 10 million attendees and lasted only 10 minutes. How is this possible you may ask? Gaming.
Fortnite, one of the biggest video games in the world, hosted the world’s largest concert on a Saturday night in February and if you’re not into gaming, it’s likely you won’t have heard of the event. However, it’s impact could be significant.
The in-game concert performed by DJ Marshmello was held in an arena in the open world game and attracted players from across the globe. Posters advertised the concert in-game and a stage was ‘built’ in Pleasant Park (a location in Fortnite), and this was the only advertising Fortnite needed to encourage over 10 million players to join the concert. As 7pm (UK) time neared, Fortnite pushed its user base into the arena and removed all weapons. Soon after, DJ Marshmello took to the stage for a live 10-minute set where players could fly, jump and have fun doing the infamous Fortnite dance moves.
Although Second Life attempted similar in-game concerts with its Duran Duran Universe several years ago, the novelty wore off quickly and now it’s just a deserted universe with adverts for bassist John Taylor’s 2012 auto-biography. But with Fortnite, the impact has been different, and it’s clear that this in-game concert is only the beginning.
But how will in-game experiences, like the Fortnite concert, impact the future of gaming? What other experiences will we see taking over the gaming world? And, most importantly, what must gamers do to prepare their system to ensure the best possible experience?
‘Get hyped’ for the future
In-game events are an entirely new area for the gaming industry. Yes, companies have tried to establish them before, but they have historically, always been a let-down. The ‘hype’ around the Marshmello concert and the fact that over 10 million players participated indicates that this is something gamers are ready to see more of.
Perhaps we’ll start to see live sports being played while we’re gaming. For example, let’s say you were playing FIFA and a real-world England vs Germany match was about to come on, the game could give you the option to watch this in real-time or continue playing the game. Perhaps it could even ‘virtually’ seat you in the arena to watch Gareth Southgate’s young lions go toe-to-toe with Die Mannschaft, so you had a truly immersive experience.
In-game experiences have the capacity, not only to entertain, but to help you learn. In Assassin’s Creed Origins, there is a ‘Discovery mode’ where you can experience ancient Egypt and learn about its history. This functionality could be applied to many games that are set in the past and allow you to not only have fun while playing the game but also learn about a place, its people, events, or general culture.
In the future, perhaps when we play GTA (Grand Theft Auto), we’ll go into a bar and watch a live, real-time, comedy sketch with a comedian such as Kumail Nanjiani or Ricky Gervais. Or, you could walk into a shop and purchase an item that will be delivered to your house and won’t just be an in-game purchase. The opportunities for these experiences are endless and as gamers demand more immersive experiences, it’s likely that these functionalities will soon become possible. But how will these experiences have an impact on the gaming community, and will they affect the gaming experience?
Strike a balance
It’s clear that the possibilities are limitless when it comes to new gaming experiences but as soon as something becomes popular, it’s probable that more and more brands will want to get involved.
Some companies will likely overdo the advertising and abuse the opportunity, much like when GTA was first launched and all the billboards in the city were real adverts, primarily from Rockstar, the company that made the game. If brands want to work with gaming companies on in-game experiences, then they need to give the gamers a choice. Allowing the gamer to choose whether they want to participate in the experience will ensure that the gamers who want to continue playing will not get dropped in in the middle of an experience, whereas those that are interested can participate.
Alternatively, the likes of Fortnite could bypass the advertising approach by charging gamers a ticket fee instead, much like how you’d purchase one to attend a music or sport event in real life. The Marshmello concert was free, but this was most likely to get as many people attending as possible to show off its capability. Moving forward, it’s not unreasonable for these events to come with a charge, similarly to the other in-game purchases.
The growth of technology
Five to ten years ago, online gaming could only facilitate around 100 gamers playing against each other and even this couldn’t be done unless the gamers were in a LAN environment. Now, Fortnite, for example, has over 125 million players. And if games are going to offer special, one off experiences, it’s likely that this will generate interest and, as a result, more players.
As technology moves forward and gaming becomes more sophisticated, our PCs and games consoles need to keep up. If these in-game experiences do become the mainstream, then gamers will need the right kit in order to get the best possible game performance. For the past five years, it’s only been the hardcore gamers that think about storage capacity and RAM density when gaming but now, even casual gamers will need to think about their PC or games console specs if they want to get involved in these new, exciting in-game experiences. It’s better to be prepared now, than miss out in the future.
The Fortnite concert has started a conversation. A conversation about the future of gaming, about how brands and gaming companies can work together and how the evolution of technology will enhance the gaming experience. Just as Netflix is disrupting the film and TV industry, we’ll start to see gaming companies disrupt the market and expand their offering beyond video games. The possibilities for this type of experience are endless and it’s a very exciting time to see how they help grow and evolve the gaming industry. We really are stood on the edge of something special that could well change the gaming industry as we know it.
Wtitten by Patrick Soulliere, Global eSports and Gaming Marketing Manager at Ballistix