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On Boxing Day 2019, Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic Games, was asked if he viewed Fortnite as a game or as a platform. His response? “Fortnite is a game. But please ask that question again in 12 months.”

Less than six months on, it appears we already have a new answer to that question. Many pieces have been written about Fortnite being as much a social network as it is a game, but it is now transforming into an events space—and one with the scale to put on major attractions that cut across different genres of entertainment. April 23 saw rapper Travis Scott perform a gig inside the game world—more than 12 million players watched his debut set, which featured a vast digital avatar of Scott and a range of special animations. In total 27 million or more watched him perform five sets. Another performance from DJ Diplo followed on May 1, while on May 22 players were treated to something different—a trailer for Christopher Nolan’s upcoming film Tenet, with promise of a full-length in-game screening of another Nolan film in the summer.

These performances are now taking place in Fortnite’s newly created “party royale” space – a weaponless zone with a wide range of activities available, from a cinema to a club. It’s described by Epic as “experimental and evolving,” as the company explores the full range of possibilities available to it – exactly what else its players will be interested by beyond the game itself. Fortnite has even been touted as a possible campaign stop for Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate for the US presidency.

What we are witnessing, then, is the ever-tighter convergence of games with other media. The Fortnite game world can now be credibly described as the world’s largest events space, capable of hosting major live music, cinematic and other spectacles—all in a socially distanced setting appropriate for these testing times. There will be no shortage of personalities from all forms of entertainment clamoring for a slot in Fortnite’s game world to tap into its enviable scale and engagement.

In a follow-up to his initial response, Sweeney stated that his definition of a platform was when “the majority of content [that] people spend time with is created by others.” With the social side of Fortnite now boosted by a revolving cast of stars from other media, the balance has now tipped away from Fortnite’s founding idea towards a new, more wide-ranging future.

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