Everyone and their brother (and sister) lately has been on about Fortnite, the new free-to-play “battle royale” game from Epic Games. Originally launched as a “survival” game akin to Minecraft with a heavy building component in 2017, Fortnite added a “battle royale” mode that September based on the model created by “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” – one hundred players parachute onto a battlefield, with the last one standing the winner. Since then, it has grown into a billion-dollar juggernaut due to the profits it rakes in over optional elements like skins, outfits and dance moves.
Part of the secret of Fortnite’s success is the low barrier to entry. Available on PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4, and Nintendo Switch, pretty much anyone into gaming can download it for free, but more importantly it is playable on iPhone and (soon) Android as well, and more importantly, all of these versions are capable of playing against one another (with the exception of the Playstation 4 version, something that Sony has taken a lot of heat over). The upshot of this is that anyone can download Fortnite for free on virtually anything with a screen, and form a team with their friends easily. Schools have raised concerns about the game interfering with students’ classroom productivity, and the usual media concerns about addictive behavior and violence in video games have predictably arisen from it.
Libraries have taken notice. A recent School Library Journal article looked at the game as a programming tool. Many libraries have started their own tournaments, including Harris County, TX, Gwinnett County, GA and Denver, to name a few.
Take a look for yourself and see what it’s all about – it might make for a great addition to your library’s programming lineup!