Fortnite makes more than $1,000,000 a day.
But how does a free to play game make so much money?
Well, Fortnite sells cosmetic items like skins and pickaxes for your character.
You can purchase the items in the in-game shop using V-Bucks. V-Bucks are Fortnite’s virtual currency that you can buy using real-life money.
At the bottom of the item shop is a clear disclaimer that reads:
“These items are cosmetic only and grant no competitive advantage.”
Fortnite’s cosmetics can cost up to 2,000 V-Bucks which is roughly $20. That’s a lot of money for something that doesn’t do anything (other than look cool).
Yet every day thousands of items are sold. But why?
Today you’re going to learn about some of the psychological triggers Epic Games use to get you to hand over your hard-earned money and spend your V-Bucks.
And how you can avoid the traps to save yourself some cash.
Let’s get started.
You own enough skins.
Legendary skins from the Battle Pass.
And skins that you’ll never use again because you already own skins you prefer.
But, despite the number of skins in your locker, you find yourself buying more and more from the Fortnite item shop each day.
You see, we buy things we don’t need. And Epic Games know that humans are inherently greedy. So, they use Fortnite to capitalize on this and get us to spend our hard-earned money.
Of course, there are other reasons.
2. Sense of urgency
The second psychological trigger the Fortnite item shop leverages is creating a sense of urgency.
Creating a sense of urgency is something marketers use to increase sales for a particular item.
Listen, when you know an item is only available for a limited time, you are more likely to buy it. Because you don’t want to miss out on what might be your only opportunity.
The clever thing about the Fortnite item shop is that it has a built-in sense of urgency. As you know, the Fortnite item shop resets every 24 hours.
And since you don’t log-in to Fortnite as soon as the shop resets, you’re going to have less than 24 hours. So you have even less time to make your decision and feel even more pressure to buy.
Moreover, you don’t know when that item is going to return to the shop.
What are you going to do?
Well, the best thing I’ve found for reducing my urge to buy an item is to just step away from Fortnite for a few hours. Usually, when I return, my urge to buy that item has reduced.
And I save some V-Bucks.
3. Current fads
Obviously, Fortnite is very popular.
It’s so popular that other popular things want to team up with Fortnite to raise awareness.
For example, here are some of the things we’ve seen Fortnite team up with:
- John Wick
- Stranger Things
As you know, trends come and go and the hype doesn’t last very long.
So Fortnite makes sure to team up with these trendy things when they are most popular. Usually, as they release (or just before for even more hype).
As a result, sales go through the roof.
You can avoid this trap by remembering that these fads really are fads and the interest isn’t going to last forever.
In fact, not even for a few weeks.
And sometimes days.
4. Desire to collect
When you go to buy an item in Fortnite, you’ll see that they are a part of a set. For example, the Sunshine and Rainbows set or the Arctic Command set.
But Fortnite can (and do) release items of a particular set on separate occasions. As a result, you feel forced to buy each individual item and spend more of your hard-earned money to complete your set.
Sometimes Fortnite will release a set as part of a special bundle. The bundles are at a slight discount to make them more appealing.
Thus, giving you more of a reason to buy (only if you are interested in the set).
Moreover, Fortnite will release some items of a set in the Battle Pass. And the rest of the set in the item shop so you have to spend your money to complete the set.
But when you realize you can mix and match items from different sets and still create a really cool outfit, you’ll realize that completing sets really isn’t all that important.
So you can save your money for something else.
5. Satisfaction conviction
A satisfaction conviction is one of the most important parts of a marketers sales message. And a satisfaction conviction has been proven to increase the number of sales.
A satisfaction conviction is like a guarantee and could be something along the lines of, “order this item today and if you aren’t completely satisfied then return it within 30 days for a prompt and courteous refund.”
In other words, a satisfaction conviction removes that final anxiety you might have at the crucial point where you are about to buy.
And Fortnite has something similar.
Listen, when you buy an item in the Fortnite item shop, you can return it within 30 days and get your V-Bucks back.
The refund screen isn’t easy to find. And if you’re trying to find it, here’s where to look:
- Go to your in-game settings when playing Fortnite
- Click the account tab which is the furthest to the right (it has a little man for the symbol)
- Select submit a request
Now you will be at the return request screen. Again, only purchases in the last 30 days are eligible for returns.
Moreover, you only get 3 refunds. This prevents anyone from returning items as they please.
So, be strategic about any items you wish to return.
6. Desire to belong
You don’t want to be a default.
Defaults get picked on and defaults are seen negatively because most players think you are a bot.
Moreover, when you’re a default, you have no way to differentiate yourself. You can’t even decide which default you can play as.
Skins let you have a unique identity. You see, on the internet, you don’t have to be an ordinary person.
You can be whoever (or whatever) you want.
And Fortnite knows we want to be unique and different, so they enable us to buy a plethora of different skins that appeal to everyone.
But, remember, the skins are cosmetic only and grant no competitive advantage.
Humans love new things. Almost as much as free things.
Simply stating “new” in a marketing message can help attract more attention and, therefore, increase sales.
And every day Fortnite can rotate new items into the item shop.
This wouldn’t work if there were a handful of skins.
But there are literally hundreds of skins and other items. Some you’re probably not aware of because you missed the item rotation on that particular day.
I remember when the Raven skin was first released in Fortnite. It was new and it was different. It was cool and I was ready to drop 2,000 V-Bucks to buy it.
And I remember loading into my first game and seeing almost half of the lobby use that skin. What do you think happened?
The novelty wore off. The skin lost its appeal.
Things are only new once, and there are going to be plenty of new items to come.
So don’t fret if you aren’t able to get the latest item because another one is surely on its way.
As you know, the Fortnite item shop uses a lot of different psychological triggers to get you to buy items and spend your hard-earned cash.
It can be addicting. And financially damaging.
But you don’t have to click the buy button every time.
Sometimes it’s important to take a step back and remember that Fortnite is just a game. Selling virtual items.
Virtual items that really have no meaning (and grant no competitive advantage).
When you are able to take a step back, you’ll realize the item shop doesn’t have as much control as you might think.