It’s almost the end of 2019.
And it’s been a crazy year for Fortnite.
There has been the Fortnite World Cup, a whole new chapter, and many collaborations with things like Star Wars, Marshmello, Avengers and so on.
But what about the future of Fortnite? Where does this game go next after all that has occurred?
Well, in this post, I want to go through what I expect to happen to Fortnite in 2020. Now, I’m not an oracle, so there’s no guarantee that anything I’m about to say will be right.
But I have been playing video games for a long time, and I thought this would be a fun thought experiment.
Anyway, let’s get started, shall we?
1. Tournaments are going to get more competitive
As you know, the video game industry is enormous.
In the United States, eSports are set to compete with traditional sports in terms of viewership and revenue.
And no video game is giving away more money in prizes than Fortnite.
You see, in 2019, Epic Games gave out roughly $100 million in prize money. The total prize pool for the Fortnite World Cup was $30 million with a $3 million prize for coming first place.
For reference, the Fortnite World Cup had a greater individual prize than both the 2019 Masters and Wimbledon. How crazy is that?
I would have never thought that some 16-year-old gamer would be earning more than top athletes like Tiger Woods. But here we are.
Of course, there is more than just money to be earned from doing well in a Fortnite tournament. You can also become very famous and build your social media following and launch your brand.
That’s exactly what happened to Bugha. He went from a relatively unknown player to winning millions of dollars, getting hundreds of thousands of followers, and winning eSports player of the year at the Game Awards.
So what does this all mean, exactly?
Well, Fortnite is already very competitive. In fact, you could argue it’s the most competitive game in the world because the qualification is open to everyone. In other words, only the very best will succeed.
And with the fame and the glory to be earned as a result of a strong performance in a tournament, more new players are going to look to emerge onto the scene.
As a result, doing well in a Fortnite tournament is going to become even more difficult than it is now.
So if you’re looking to make it as a Fortnite pro in 2020, it means you’re going to have to practice harder and smarter than ever before.
And we’re going to see more new and unknown players burst onto the competitive scene in the next year.
2. Fortnite will cater more toward new players
So we’ve just covered the competitive side of Fortnite, which will impact a very tiny proportion (a fraction of a percentage) of players.
But what about the average player that accounts for the majority of Fortnite’s player base? How will they be impacted in 2020?
There’s a saying that it costs 5 times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one. We can relate this back to Fortnite in that they’re main challenge is going to be getting new players to start playing.
Obviously, Fortnite is already very popular, even though its popularity has been dropping recently. And it’s difficult to imagine anyone that hasn’t heard of Fortnite.
But it’s true. Fortnite hasn’t quite conquered the world, yet.
While Fortnite has exploded in popularity in places like the United States and most of Europe, there are still some parts of the world where hasn’t quite taken off. For example, Russia and South Korea, which have a large gaming audience.
And even in the parts of the world where Fortnite is well known, there are going to be a lot of gamers that aren’t playing it. So Epic Games are going to try to figure out how to target them in 2020.
The problem they’re going to have, though, is that Fortnite is not an easy game.
Certainly, it appears to be a simple kids game, but it’s far more difficult than most people think.
Fortnite is especially difficult if you’re a new player because there’s so much to learn and there’s no tutorial. And, as a new player, you’re going to get crushed by anyone that’s more experienced than you.
We’ve already seen Epic Games introduce skill-based matchmaking (or SBMM) to Fortnite this year as a way to cater to new players, and make public games more competitive at the higher levels.
But Epic will have to do so much more if they want to make Fortnite more accessible to new players.
So I expect that a tutorial will be added to Battle Royale soon. Epic could even create video lessons on YouTube that are catered toward beginners to help them learn the basics of the game.
Of course, there are already a lot of Fortnite creators on YouTube already. But who is going to make content better than Fortnite themselves?
3. More cosmetics and collaborations
As you know, Fortnite Battle Royale is a free to play game, and it makes most of its money by selling in-game cosmetics (skins) for V-Bucks that you can buy with real-life money.
But Fortnite isn’t just a game. It’s a business.
And it needs to keep generating revenue to keep stakeholders happy.
In 2018, Fortnite’s revenue was $2.4 billion, a record-breaking amount. But this number has been in descent throughout 2019 as fewer players are interested in Fortnite and buying cosmetics.
If you’ve been playing Fortnite for any amount of time, it’s likely you already own at least a few skins. You see, most players will unlock skins from the Battle Pass.
And once you have a few good skins, why would you need any more?
This is the potential flaw in Fortnite’s monetization. And unless they plan to make players pay for the game or make it “pay to win” (both of which are highly unlikely) then they are stuck with it.
So to make things work and to increase revenue, Fortnite is going to have to release more skins. But they’re going to have to be strategic about it.
We know Epic Games hired psychologists to make the game addictive, and they employ certain psychological tricks in the Fortnite item shop to try and persuade you to buy more items.
Listen, Fortnite gets its biggest success in the item shop when it collaborates with other things. Such as Avengers, Batman, and most recently Star Wars.
This helps the companies collaborating with Fortnite reach and advertise to a new audience, and it helps sell more cosmetics in the item shop. In other words, both parties win.
So, you can expect to see Fortnite teaming up with more movies and musicians throughout 2020. Who do you want to see?
4. More real-life merchandise
Of course, virtual sales are just one of the ways Fortnite makes money.
It always surprises me when I walk down my local high-street and see physical Fortnite merchandise being sold in a supermarket. Or when I see kids wearing Fortnite hoodies or shirts.
And even though Fortnite is going to make the majority of its money through the virtual sale of cosmetics, you cannot overlook the impact from physical sales.
What better advertisement is there than happy kids wearing clothes that literally say Fortnite on them?
And it also means that anyone that buys any of these physical items will have a greater affinity with Fortnite. In other words, they’re more likely to continue playing the game and buy items.
We are already at the point where you can buy figurines of your favourite skins, pickaxes, and llamas.
But how far can things go?
Just look at Disney, for example. Disney sells physical merchandise for just about everything, including mugs and stationery items. And don’t forget about Disney Land, either.
Now, Fortnite is not on the same level as Disney. But who knows where we are going to be in the next year and beyond?
Heck, maybe we could even get a real-life Fortnite Land.
I just hope the food isn’t as expensive as the ones displayed at the Greasy Grove.
5. Fortnite will face more competition from other games
We’ve already discussed how Fortnite tournaments are going to get more competitive.
But even the choice of games we have are going to get more varied and competitive.
Back at the beginning of Fortnite in 2017, it was a rivalry between Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG).
Fortnite quickly emerged as the winner of this battle of the battle royale games.
Then along came Apex Legends, yet another battle royale game looking to take the throne. And things look dicey at the start because EA was paying streamers up to $1 million play and, therefore, promote the game.
But Fortnite was able to ride out the storm and come out the winner again.
And then along came Call of Duty with its own take on battle royale. In typical Call of Duty style, however, the game started strong and swiftly dropped off again.
So far, Fortnite has managed to fend off each of its attackers.
Interestingly, one of Fortnite’s biggest competitors is Minecraft. A game that’s over a decade old and a completely different genre.
And in terms of viewership on Twitch in 2019, Fortnite was beaten by League of Legends. Another game that’s over a decade old and a completely different genre.
The thing is, there’s always going to be another game.
As we’ve already discussed, the gaming industry is huge, and everyone is looking to get the biggest slice of the pie.
Epic Games needs to be prepared for anything because there are going to be many games gunning for the throne throughout 2020.
One game in particular that I’m interested in is a shooter called Project A that’s being developed by Riot Games.
As you know, League of Legends (also developed by Riot Games) is already beating Fortnite in terms of Twitch viewership, and it’s one of the best and most successful eSports titles of all time.
And this new shooter game looks to be targeting the competitive players and tackling problems that have plagued online competitive shooters for a long time.
I think the competitive aspect of Fortnite is where the game is weakest. So if a shooter game were to dethrone it, this is the right target.
You see, Fortnite tournaments don’t get a great deal of viewership, and there are generally a lot of problems that are preventing it from becoming a massive eSport.
So things could get very interesting in 2020.
6. Diversification of game modes
There are actually 3 versions of Fortnite.
- Save the World
- Battle Royale
Obviously, Fortnite Battle Royale is the most popular and it’s what we are going to be focussing on.
As you know, in Fortnite Battle Royale, 100 players jump off a bus and fight it out to be the last one standing.
But does it have to be this way? Could Fortnite be better suited to something else?
Listen, when Fortnite Battle Royale was released in 2017, the battle royale genre was all the rage with games such as PUBG that we’ve already discussed.
So it made sense for Epic Games to move into this genre because they wanted to capitalise on the trend to get the largest number of players possible.
But things change over time, and we’ve already seen the failure of so many games trying to make it as another battle royale.
I think Fortnite could be so much more.
You see, it has the potential to get into other game modes.
My main problem with Fortnite Battle Royale is that it’s so slow. A typical game lasts about 20 minutes and most of that consists of very little action. Just players running around, looting, and gathering material.
In other words, battle royales can be boring.
But if you’ve played LTMs such as Zone Wars, then you’ll know that Fortnite is capable of thriving in a faster and more exciting mode.
You see, with Fortnite Creative the possibilities are endless. Almost anything you can imagine, you can create.
Some skilled and creative players have made escape rooms, box fighting maps, death runs, and so much more.
In the Fortnite World Cup, we saw a special game mode where players could disguise themselves as inanimate objects and then drop into a hole to score a point.
That was unique. And it was fun.
I would really like to see Epic Games diversify the game modes available to Fortnite other than Battle Royale.
Something that I think could really suit the game is a smaller map where you play 2v2, or 4v4 with an objective, for example. Where the games are fast and you can play multiple rounds.
Or a sort of deathmatch map where you can respawn and quickly get back into the action. This would allow players to get a lot of practice without the need to play Kovaak’s FPS Aim Trainer.
Anyway, Fortnite has a lot of opportunity for exploring into different game modes, and I hope we get to see some of that in 2020.
So much has happened to Fortnite in 2019 that it would take a whole other post to summarise everything.
But sometimes you want to think ahead to the future and the possibilities it could bring, rather than reminiscing about the past.
Regardless of whether I am right or wrong with any of my predictions, we are certainly going to see many changes to Fortnite in 2020.
As you know, the game is updated all the time, and there is no real distinct storyline that Fortnite has to follow.
In other words, anything could happen.
Including the possibility of an entirely different game coming along and wiping out Fortnite entirely.
But with how big Fortnite is, I don’t see that happening.
Only time will tell.
What do you want to see Fortnite do in 2020?