“Roblox” and “Fortnite” are no longer just two free online video games, but during the pandemic they have transformed into two coveted entertainment “platforms” by brands, in which players have a virtual life parallel to their real life, to the point that they have managed to undermine the dominance of social networks.
But what is the common ground between these two games other than the fact that they attract hundreds of millions of children and adolescents from all over the world?
Julian Pew, a researcher at the Institute of Higher Economic and Business Studies, who specializes in digital technology and cultural industries, explains that what brings together the two games is the so-called “metaverse”, a concept developed by Neil Stephenson in the science fiction novel “The Borrowing Samurai” in 1992, which is a phrase. About an electronic space parallel to the physical reality, in which users can meet for the purpose of interaction, discussion, or even entertainment, and for that they take the form of symbolic images that represent them.
The most prominent example of this is a series of five virtual concerts that were held at the end of last April, during the stone stage, during which the American rapper Travis Scott appeared, through “Fortnite” in the form of an avatar, and was followed by more than 12 million users, in an unprecedented event.
After this success, it launched “Fortnite”, which brings together 350 million “players” aged 14 years
And the 24-year-old film festival also called “Short Night”, and a giant virtual party entitled “Party Royal” hosted by famous recorders.
“In a time like this, it is difficult to meet physically, it is very important to provide these virtual experiences,” said Nate Nanzer, the official at Epic Games, the publisher of Fortnite. “We really see in (Fortnite) a platform for connected social experiences, not just a game.”
If the success in building “Metaver” is a valuable treasure in the video game industry, then the attempt is not the first of its kind, according to expert Charles Louis Blanade, who refers in this context to the game “World of Warcraft”, which was released in the first decade of the 21st century. .
“What is new is that these video games have almost become a hub in which playing is one of the activities available in it, but it is not the only activity,” said a financial analyst at TB Icap. He noted that it is “a strong trend that the epidemic increases.”
The goal for Fortnite and ROBLOX, among others, is to attract attention and retain players at all costs by constantly providing the event, while relying on small purchases that users make in every game.
The other goal is to monetize their audiences (150 million players a month on ROBLOX), by providing brands with a view of a wide audience of young people without adopting the “exotic nature of traditional advertisements”, as Julian Pio explained.
Many advertisers have taken advantage of the two games, including Nike and Disney, which promoted the latest part of Star Wars through ROBLOX in late 2019.
This uncommon economic model has begun to attract investors, as the value of “ROBLOX”, for example, reached 46 billion dollars after the initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in early March, four times the value of the French video games company, Ubisoft.
Everyone is playing
Is this power sufficient for “games” to compete with network giants such as “Instagram”, “TikTok” and “Snapchat”.
The answer, according to Pew, is that the key to a game like Fortnite is that the user is first and foremost a player. He added, “There is no possibility of outperforming (Facebook – 2.8 billion users).” As for the analyst, Charles Louis Blanade, he said, “We are moving directly towards this,” recalling the sudden disappearance of “MySpace”, which was the main social network. He expected that “everyone will play video games in the future.”
• Rapper Travis Scott appeared on Fortnite in the form of a picture followed by more than 12 million users.
• “Fortnite”, which gathers 350 million “players”, launched a film festival called “Short Night”.
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