We sure hope you weren't planning on getting in some games of Fortnite this weekend, because you're going to be in for a rude awakening. The goofy, building-based battle royale's latest event was called "The End" for a very appropriate reason, as it concluded with the entire game world being sucked into a black hole. Since then, all players can do when they log in is stare in wonder at a mysterious rip in time and space (unless of course, you type in a familiar code).
Everyone is pretty intrigued and perplexed by the hole, and want to know what's going to happen next. But you know what people aren't doing? Playing Fortnite. This event is a nice marketing strategy and all, but games are kind of pointless if you can't use them. Epic has found yet another way to generate buzz, but this End thing just seems pretty dang stupid when you think about it.
What Has Become Of My Beautiful Battle Royale?
Season 10 seemed to be moving along smoothly with fans figuring "The End" event would simply be the transition to Season 11. Yet, players who were online during the epic (pun possibly intended) finish began floating towards the sky where they saw a meteor crash into the island which then generated the birth of a black hole that swallowed up the entire game.
Now we're not going to lie, it was pretty cool. And the result of this implosion was a whole heap of media coverage, and millions of people all tuning into Twitch streams trying to figure out what was going on.
Here's the problem: After the initial excitement of the black hole wore off, everyone was faced with the unique problem of abruptly having no more Fortnite to play without any fair warning. And this is a pretty crummy situation for battle royale fans everywhere.
Down The Drain
Hour 6 of the Fortnite black hole... we’re losing our minds pic.twitter.com/xmO7M81XoH— LG Nicks (@Nicks) October 13, 2019
For a lot of people, Fortnite is their favorite game. It's how they unwind at home, and it's also something they enjoy playing with their online friends. So now, thousands, maybe even millions of players have nothing to do while they wait for the game to re-launch.
Alternatively, what if you're a Twitch streamer and your content revolves around playing Fortnite? This game is tied to the revenue streams of quite a few streaming channels, and with the game now literally a blank void, they have nothing to stream. Some are stuck streaming a black hole because they don't know what else to do.
Games go down for maintenance all the time, but there was no indication or messaging from Epic that Fortnite was going to be taken down. Sure it made for a cool moment, but players had no indication as to when they could jump back into their favorite game. In fact, to take this marketing stunt one step further, Epic has been radio silent on social media, replacing everything with black screens, meaning that everyone has been left in the dark about what's going on.
Could This Be The End?!... Nah.
No one honestly thinks that Fortnite is gone. Epic has made so much money off of it that the only reason it would disappear forever would be if the company suddenly got sick of being profitable or if they wanted to get out of the gaming business and transition into something like manufacturing industrial pipes or removing asbestos. We even know that the whole reason behind this change is because plans have leaked for the next phase of Fortnite, which will likely be called Chapter 2 and feature a completely new map. Meaning that this so-called mystery is already solved, and now it's just a waiting game.
Marketing stunts are a good way to create some hype, but this one just seems like a crappy thing to do to their fans. They had no time to prepare, and for people who only really want to play Fortnite, they're left with nothing to do in their downtime.
This could also have the negative effect of forcing people to find something else to play, and some fans may get hooked into another game that will replace Fortnite in their hearts. After all, Apex Legends is free-to-play as well, it's available just about everywhere but the Switch, and it has the current advantage of not being stuck in a black hole. As a result of their hubris, Epic might end up losing players who move over to other games that don't pull this kind of nonsense.
Fortnite loves its big events and is no stranger to stunts, but "The End" blindsided everyone. Pulling your game just to get attention from the internet is borderline disrespectful, and going dark on social media is a cute little ploy, but it also shows a bit of contempt for your audience.
Not to mention that they're doing the old trick of giving out obscure clues so internet sleuths can crack some random code. Except there's nothing mysterious about what's happening, it's all a prelude to a new season, and it's kind of lame considering that this whole thing is nothing more than Epic preparing the game for its next batch of cosmetic items. When Fortnite comes back it'll likely be met with an influx of new and old players for a while who want to see how the game has changed, but this all could have been accomplished in a much better way.
Epic might want to be careful about trying this sort of marketing act again, because next time their audience might not be so willing to sit still and stare at a black screen.