By HVY Journalists: Tweens are embracing gaming as the new frontier in social media, and esports juggernaut Fortnite has already eclipsed Facebook and Instagram as their favorite online hangout.
Fortnite: Facebook’s Grim Reaper?
A study by the National Research Group found that a large portion of Fortnite’s 250 million players prefer spending more of their free time engaged in battle royales than they do in monotonous scrolling of their Facebook and Instagram feeds. Even content powerhouses such as Netflix and YouTube could not keep up with the gaming craze among early teen demographics.
Since its release in 2017, Fortnite has become a global and cultural phenomenon. The game commands an active player base of 250 million, 82 percent of whom are under the age of 35 – a critical demographic in terms of leisure time and excess recreational spending.
Early teen and young adult preferences give a telling snapshot of the evolving digital economy and prove that gaming is poised to explode on a scale that was previously reserved for the likes of Facebook and Instagram.
Social Media Risks Becoming a Toxic Wasteland
Younger demographics have historically been the trendsetters and first to embrace emerging technology. Teens today are pushing back against the toxic landscape that has developed on Facebook, which critics say has become an echo chamber of ideological and political disputes.
Instead, younger generations are turning to legitimate sources of entertainment that combine social platforming with engaging participation. Fortnite provides the best of both worlds. Players can log in, squad up with friends, and build an immersive sense of teamwork and community that is impossible to establish on traditional social platforms.
Tim Sweeney, CEO of Fortnite developer Epic Games, claimed the game was designed from the ground up as a ‘social experience.’
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Sweeney said:
“Just like anybody could create a Facebook page, anybody should be able to express themselves in Fortnite in a huge variety of ways.”
Gaming Is No Longer Just for Nerds
Fortnite has amassed $2.4 billion in annual revenue since its launch, but the industry of electronic sports is exploding. According to CNBC, esports is set to amass over $1 billion in 2019, with top networks like ESPN featuring gaming-related programs.
While some scoff at the idea of ‘sports’ and ‘gaming’ used in the same phrase, esports have become a global tour-de-force and a legitimate career worth pursuing. Last year Forbes estimated the average professional players for League of Legends were making over $300,000.
With the upward trajectory of both Fortnite and esports at large, it comes as no surprise that teens are shunning Facebook and Instagram to pursue more engaging social pastimes.