Commentary

Fortnite Brings Millions Together On Video Game For Live Music

Last week, the mayor of Los Angeles publicly shared that many public officials are pretty sure that large gatherings like concerts and sporting events may not return until the fall of 2021.

While you might be able to watch sporting events without audiences, or listen to concerts, bringing people together in the thousands in person would certainly be a risky move.

Enter Fortnite, the video game gone cultural phenomenon -- the latest in live music venues.

Starting April 23rd, Fortnite will be hosting a live concert called the ASTRONOMICAL Tour with hip-hop superstar Travis Scott and his label Cactus Jack at set times through April 25th.

Players who tune in will take away free in-game cosmetic customizations for their character, themed around Travis’s eclectic and psychedelic party theme. The “doors open 30 minutes before the show”, too, allowing players to log in and secure their “seat” on a game server. 

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This isn’t the first time Fortnite has held an in-game concert. At the beginning of February last year, Epic Games, the publisher of Fortnite, teamed up with electronic DJ Marshmello for an in-game concert, free to anyone playing the game that day.

Instead of ending up in the usual battle arena, players and their avatars were teleported to a concert stadium, with huge speakers and an avatar of Marshmello at a DJ turntable. The event brought in around 10.7 million players in the course of the 10-minute period that the event was available. 

Now, for those who don’t know or just arrived back from a space mission, Travis Scott is a multi-platinum-selling, critically acclaimed musician who has sold out the largest arenas around the world, including Madison Square Garden (I was there) and was supposed to headline Coachella this year (I was supposed to be there). Fun fact -- he also shares a child with Kylie Jenner.

While Marshmello is certainly a major artist, Travis Scott is even bigger. And with the event occurring five times across the world over the course of three days, and the stay-at-home quarantine, this event is bound to bring in a massive amount of viewership. Around 6 to 7 million people play Fortnite daily, and the number peaked in February at 8 million.

Once again, Fortnite has leveled up what it means to virtually connect thousands of fans with culture outside of video games. 

What’s more, Travis will be debuting a brand new song during the set, which is bound to only drive all of his fans even crazier.

Right before the latest Star Wars movie hit theaters, an avatar of its director, JJ Abrams, appeared in Fortnite to debut a unique teaser clip of the movie, only seen by Fortnite players (and the hundreds of thousands watching their favorite players watching it on Twitch). A drop of a new piece of music from a big name like Travis will only up the hype.

Want to check it out for yourself? Here’s a link to the schedule.

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