Hobby Musings: Panini’s Fortnite product extends brand’s popularity – In addition to its offerings in the basketball and football card genres, Panini has been releasing trading cards based on the video game Fortnite. Since its inception, the game has attracted millions of players from all walks of life and continues to grow. For more on Fortnite’s history and enduring popularity, I had the chance to catch up with entertainment journalist John Powell via email.
KS: John, what is your reaction to Fortnite having multiple trading card releases with Panini?
JP: It makes total sense. The brand is so popular and contains so many unique characters that a trading card set is a great idea as the game really lends itself to that and capitalizes on the growing fascination and popularity with the game and the characters.
KS: Could you have ever imagined Fortnite becoming so popular that it would be merchandised like this?
JP: At first, I wasn’t sure how well the game would do. At the time, there were two leaders in the battle royale genre. There were PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite battling it out for popularity. The makers of PUBG actually sued Epic Games over the similarities but ended up abandoning legal action against them.
Although Battlegrounds was the first to introduce the battle royale concept, Fortnite quickly became more popular because it has a better community. Epic Games adds new features such as pop culture characters like Batman into the game, and the gameplay sessions are quicker and faster. Right now, there are about 20 battle royale games, but Fortnite continues to be the most popular among gamers.
KS: For our readers who may not know, what exactly is Fortnite?
JP: The battle royale genre gets its name from the Japanese cult classic film, Battle Royale (2000). Fortnite is a battle royale game in which players from all over the world are dropped into a map and have to scavenge for resources and weapons. The goal of each round is to be the last gamer standing by bumping off as many opponents as possible and just plain surviving the round. Essentially, it is a virtual version of The Hunger Games.
KS: Fornite has been widely played for quite some time. How did it get its origins though?
JP: When Epic Games saw how popular PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was, they adapted their original game Fortnite: Save the World to be a battle royale game and released it as a free to play experience that had some microtransactions built into it.
KS: What is it about the game that has kept it so popular for so long?
JP: There are many reasons why it has grown in popularity and continues to stay ahead of a very crowded pack. It is free to play. You really don’t have to make any purchases if you don’t wish to. It has a stable of imaginative characters that is always being expanded. They have introduced many famous characters like Batman, Aquaman and Deadpool into the game. There is an amazing community which includes Twitch streamers who broadcast their gameplay. Since there is no blood or gore, it is a kid friendly experience. My nephews became massive fans when the March Break of all time happened earlier this year.
KS: The game is enjoyed by a number of people, including celebrities and athletes. Who are some of the bigger known names that engage in it?
JP: Some of the biggest are fellow Canadians Drake and Norm Macdonald. Others include professional sports stars like Gordon Hayward of the Boston Celtics and Richard Sherman from the San Francisco 49ers. Fortnite’s appeal is so broad that people from all different walks of life can pick up and play the game quite easily.
KS: What do you think is Fortnite’s future in the gaming world?
JP: The keys to strengthening a gaming brand, especially a multiplayer game, are community and providing additional, new content to freshen up the experience. Epic Games has done a phenomenal job of not only keeping fans intrigued and excited, but also laying the foundation for a very passionate and lively online community that continues to grow and grow. I don’t see Fortnite’s popularity dying out any time soon. In May, Epic Games announced there are now 350 million active players from around the world. At the same time last year, they had 250 million. Because of the times we are in the video game industry is flourishing, and Fortnite is still riding that wave of popularity that I don’t see diminishing any time soon.
Hobby Musings: Panini’s Fortnite product extends brand’s popularity
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