Only Fortnite could pull off a total blackout

Epic Games

Usually, when you hear that a game is down, it’s never for a good reason. Maybe the game’s servers are overloaded, or these’s some critical bug that isn’t allowing players to get back into the action. But today, Fortnite went offline on purpose. As of this writing, millions of people are queued up on YouTube and Twitch to watch absolutely nothing happen.

There’s just a black hole, which sucked the entire map into its event horizon. And waiting. Sometimes, there are numbers which appear over the black hole, but mostly, everyone is waiting. You can’t get into a match of any sort right now. Fortnite’s Twitter account, Instagram account, and seemingly every social media channel has either been wiped or been blacked out. People don’t know how long all of this is going to last, but the fact remains the same: A video game is going out of its way to make sure people can’t play it. It’s a move that signals confidence in the game’s ability to rebound whenever it comes back, and that’s especially noteworthy given that the battle royale game has spent months being disparaged by fans.

All things told, season 10 was a rocky one. Hardcore players hated the inclusion of mechs, and much criticism was levied toward the game’s lack of balance. It was as if a cloudy haze followed Fortnite — after a year of being on top, it seemed as if some devotees were getting fatigued of the battle royale game’s direction. The game has still been wildly popular in 2019, but there were signs that its explosive growth was winding down.

But if you look at the chatter around Fortnite now? It’s as if none of that happened. We’re back into hype-land with Fortnite, and that’s partially helped by all the leaks and teases leading up to this moment. The leading theory is that the black hole will eventually turn into another map that will perhaps include new mechanics — one leaked image, for example, shows boats, a type of vehicle that Fortnite currently doesn’t have. There’s good reason to believe that when Fortnite will come back, things will be very different, else the game would have just changed some points of interest as it usually does and then been done with the last season.

Fortnite Chapter 2, as it’s being called by fans, could mark a new beginning for a game that consistently finds ways to keep things feeling new. I’ve never seen anything like this in a game before — perhaps the closest comparison is Taylor Swift, who, in 2017, deleted all of her social media to promote an upcoming album. It was a risky move, especially considering how huge Swift is on social media, but the gambit worked. People started talking.

That’s exactly what Fortnite is doing right now, at least within the game itself. As social media posts stack upon each other, with everyone asking what’s happening or when the game is coming back, Epic Games has remained mum. There’s no explanation on Fortnite’s social media channels, or Fortnite’s blog. The only thing we have is what Epic Games warned us of before the event started:

I’m guessing Epic Games won’t be saying anything for a while. Instead, Fortnite’s social media channels have updated to prominently display nothing:

Epic Games

What a flex.

Comments

Like I said earlier, kudos for the people to leverage history to create something like this without "impacting" players.

>Only Fortnite could pull off a total blackout

Yes, Final Fantasy XIV doesn’t exist.

While granted, it was similar, I don’t think that or any game has quite pulled off something like this on the scale Epic has. If the Calamity took place in real-time and players were left wondering if/when anything could happen next, then maybe, but Epic Games kind of took it one step further (for better or worse, cough EGS is down too).

The Calamity did take place in real-time. No one knew what was going to happen next after the service was shut down, they just knew the time table of when servers would go back online with the start of 2.0.

The only thing players got was a longer cutscene that plays when you launched 2.0.

Difference being XIV 1.0 was a giant turd, so that was an attempt at starting over.

Fortnite is pretty fine.

haha also, FFXIV didnt just do it to be cheeky, they HAD to do it to save that game. Fortnite is stable enough they didnt need to pull something like this. Not to mention, FFXIV is a game you pay for, then pay $15 a month for just to play, Fortnite is a free to play game that 100% relies on people buying battle passes and skins, o the fact that it can just shut down for 3 days and completely shun anyone from being able to do that is pretty impressive.

They didn’t have to do it to save the game. They just figure that if they’re going to shut the service down before 2.0, then they might as well have fun with it.

Fortnite is also a free game that is supported by people spending money on cosmetics and on the royalties that Epic generates whenever a game is released using the Unreal Engine.

Childish Gambino deleted all his social stuff way before Taylor Swift.

That’s it. That’s all I have to offer.

I don’t think Glover deleted his social media to promote an album, which was the point of the Swift comparison.

He deleted his Twitter because his account was called @Donglover

radiohead did the exact same thing to promote an album over a year before swift. not that I even enjoy them all that much but they def seem like the vanguard for this kinda stuff (see also the initial pay-what-you-want release for in rainbows back in 2006)

"Sorry, the old Fortnite can’t come to the phone right now… Why? Because it’s a BLACK HOLE."

Lmao, well played

Can’t help but think there must also be some maintenance going behind the scenes, especially if they’re preparing for a big update. Seems to be marketing just capitalized on the downtime.

Extensive downtime now. No way anybody in maintenance could get away with this kind of opportunity cost. Every minute they’re down is another minute they have to keep the lights on at the company, pay employees, run servers, etc. I know in past companies I’ve worked at we had a $/min calculation for every significant outage. Can’t imagine what they’re up to now that they’re pushing 20 hours.

I’d wait for the release of Chapter 2 (or whatever they release after the blackout) before calling it a victory or a rebound from season 10.
We’re talking about gamers here. If there’s even a slight problem with chapter 2 Twitter could end up flooded with #BringBackFortnite or #MakeFortniteGreatAgain hashtags faster than you’d expect. This can go as bad as season 10, no matter how successful this black hole event is.
And while I know Polygon doesn’t have a very strong Fortnite community, I think’s it telling that the 4 (four) front-page articles covering this black hole thing barely generated 10 comments each.

They haven’t had a rocky season. The ten year olds who keep Epic swimming in money care as much about all that nonsense as you did about office meetings at the mall you and your friends hung out at in middle school.

Now would be a great time for those addicted to Fortnite to simply walk away now and begin living a productive life again. Fortnite was fun. Time to move on.

"productive" lol

For what it’s worth, my almost 13 year old played Fortnite exclusively on the Xbone for about a year straight. Barely touched any other games. I can’t even begin to guess what his playtime is.

Him and his buddies (a pretty large group of youts, by the way) started to slow down on it shortly before the mech thing, and quit on the game completely once the mechs came. Uninstalls everywhere. They’ve moved on to R6: Siege, Overwatch, and a few others. It’s been a pretty staggering turnaround, not gonna lie. I don’t know what other kids of fellow Dad-gamers like me are doing, but is Fortnite really still pulling the numbers like it used to?

View All Comments
Back to top ↑