Manufactured Discontent and Fortnite

Manufactured Discontent and Fortnite

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So back at the beginning of February 20, 19, DJ marshmallow performed, a live concert, inside, Epic Games online. Gaming sensation. Fortnight, and I. Have since then being informed via numerous breathy. Think pieces, that fortnight is no longer, merely a game but, is now a content. Delivery. Platform. Experience. And so. Logically. The only, sensible thing for me to do is to get in on this and pivot, entirely. To. Fortnight. Welcome. To, the brand-new, folding, ideas all fortnight digital studio that is not only a, digital, studio because I'm producing digital content, but it is also, literally. A digital, studio it is, double. Digital and. This. This arm-waving emote, is the only meaningful animation, I've got and there's nothing available that really looks like talking. So I, I, guess, it's what I'm going with for now so when you see me doing this it, means, I'm talking, to. You. It. Took me like 20 hours to unlock this fortnight developed, by Epic Games is, an online, for player cooperative, base-building tower-defense shooter, game released, as early access, with in-game purchases in, july 2017. The game has been utterly, eclipsed, by it's free-to-play sub, game fortnight, battle royale launched, in September, 2017. Battle royale a format, popularized, by player unknowns, battlegrounds, and originally, inspired by the 2000. Japanese horror film battle royale is a last, player standing free-for-all. Where 100, players are dropped onto an island with an ever-shrinking, zone of engagement, and leftist, ground resources. Build defenses and fight until, only one remains, in the. Wake of the success of fortnight battle royale the original, fortnight, has been renamed, fortnight, save the world a critical. Bit of fortnight's development, comes from the involvement, of Chinese multimedia, firm $0.10 in 2012. Epic Games approached. $0.10, for help with the then-fledgling fortnight. Seeking, their input on turning the game into a live service, platform, meaning it would function as an ongoing revenue. Stream rather than simply being a single purchase product, $0.10. Agreed to help and supply additional financial resources and expertise, in exchange. For being allowed to purchase a 40%. Stake in the company an arrangement, to which epic agreed. Following. The merger a number of high-profile, staff retired, from Epic including, Cliff Bleszinski Adrian. Chmielarz, Lee Perry and Rod Fergusson all to, one degree or another citing, dissatisfaction. With either the Tencent merger the games as a service business model or both, but, that's, not, what you're here for, you don't want a history lesson play, in fortnight, into an appropriate cultural, context. You're, here for hot fortnight. Player, on player. Action. Player. Wait what did I say. So, remember to follow me on twitch TV slash I kill weed names because you can enjoy what the earth-mother gave us for that isn't the same as having, a personality. One, of the things in particular that stands out to me about the meta-narrative. Surrounding. Fort back. He. Isn't it weird how hostile, the free-to-play track, is like, it's not simply structured, to drive paying, for something or another it actually, starts. Okay. So what's all basic about a concert, Matt. Okay. So what's. All this about a concert, in fortnight, on February. 2nd 2019. Christopher, Comstock, who performs, under the DJ named marshmallow, played, a 10-minute, concert in fortnight's, pleasant partner. Or. More, accurately at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time players who joined a special marshmallow concert, game-mode got to watch a scripted, concert, event during which weapons, and damage were deactivated, to ensure that players couldn't be griefed and that the event wouldn't be interrupted, with gunfire and explosions.

It's, Maybe a bit of a pointless hair to split the fact that the concert, was pre-recorded and, not actually, live but, I mean that's what we do here we deconstruct. Narratives, and the idea, that this was a live set was very much part of the narrative the, fiction, extended, to the fact that the mini set was added, to marshmallows, tour schedule, a significant. Component of the implicit messaging, was to demonstrate the flexibility. Of fortnight, the concept. Of fortnight. As a content. Delivery platform. As a, scripted, event utilizing, the games engines server architecture and, assets, the concert, is quite, impressive the, crowd does end up looking a little thin because it turns out 60 people per match just isn't that many if you're trying to simulate an actual audience but. Players, manoeuvring virtual bodies need a bit more space to do things than real people and keeping. The population low. Mitigated. Problems, with players who are accessing. On lower end hardware or internet connections, minimizing. The odds that they would lag out or just crash, entirely, as. A. Delivery, platform, however well. It demonstrates. The flexibility. And possibilities. That fortnight offers, if your. DJ marshmallow, the. Concert, isn't actually built in fortnight, it's, full of bespoke assets, and scripting, that could only be constructed, with the active participation of epic games, well, fortnight, has a creative. Mode that allows players to build their own spaces even, very, impressive, spaces nothing. Like this, is remotely, doable. Well. It's possible to put on a concert in fortnight, it's not possible, for you to, put, on a concert in fortnight, the. Actual audience for this specific, message is big-name, collaborators. Epic is advertising. The idea, that, fortnight, is a viable, venue, for crossover. Promotional, opportunities. This, is all part of the concept, of games as a lie. Service so we should probably spend some time disassembling. That particular narrative, concept. For, tonight isn't really, a game, like. There's, a game attached. To, fortnight, but that's not the core, of. Fortnight. Fortnight. Is first, and foremost a storefront, the. Monetization systems. In fortnight Battle Royale, are seemingly, simple on their face but, well, join. Me on a journey the, two arms of for tonight's monetization, are the battle pass and the item shop both of which are fueled by an in-game token, currency, called V Box V, bucks are used here as in most other micro transaction, based games as a means to bypass, financial, regulations, involving, held value, and some, regional laws surrounding gambling.

With Regards to the loot crate's because, in many regions it doesn't count as gambling if the currency evolved, is non fundable, basically. In a lot of places it doesn't legally count, as gambling, if you're gambling with fun bucks that can't be converted, back into legal, tender so things that utilize, all the structure, vocabulary. And psychological. Mechanisms, of gambling, like video, game loot crate's or Gacha pon toys aren't, technically. Gambling, as far as the law is concerned because. You can't convert your winnings directly, back into dollars. Additionally. The use of v bucks also allows epic to obfuscate the assigned, value of both in-game purchases and, the value of v bucks themselves. By giving buyers a bulk discount for buying more and handing, out v bucks for performing, in-game activities. Nominally. One v buck is worth just under one US cent but if you buy 10,000. V bucks at a cost of 9999. U.s. you, get an air quote bonus. 3,500. So the actual monetary, cost of anything you buy on the store varies, by about 25, percent depending on how many v bucks you bought if you're confused, that's the, point. The primary, utility of funny-money is to relieve you of the pressure and weighing if this, specific, skin is worth fifteen dollars or is. Eleven, dollars this, is on top of another really common strategy. Where the amounts, don't scale evenly, and don't line up cleanly. With the costs of actual, items increasing. The likelihood that you'll always have some left over or will, need to buy a substantial. Amount in order to get the thing that you want this. Particular bit is pretty common but Fortnite, manages, to take it to a whole new level this, is ultimately, the meaning, of game as a service, it's just a euphemism for a game that takes up all your free time and becomes the only game that you play because it's just an elaborate, constantly. Resetting, Skinner box that utilizes, progression, systems, and seasonal competition, as a means, to place you constantly, in the path of an endless stream of monetary. Interactions. To. Top it off as a game, fortnight, battle royale isn't, even particularly great, the, matchmaker, is utterly bare-bones, and pays no regard, to your performance, so you'll almost always be matched to the mix of players who are barely, functional, and several, who are so far above your skill level that you're, not even really playing the same game the building mechanics, in battle royale are unwieldy, and create a tremendous. Skill gap that contributes, to the after mentioned disparity, but they're also the, whole gimmick that the game is built around so, that's. Kind of take it or leave it the game is full of weird unpolished. Edge cases, like vehicles. All using, slightly different control. Schemes even for shared functionality. You, get on a hoverboard and the speed boost is bound to left-shift but, on a quad, crasher, boost is spacebar, even though left shift isn't bound to anything on the quad crasher, because, of the way that systems, interact, in particular the ways that the building mechanics, are vital for defending, against long-range attacks, but are also so, effective, for either closing distance, or escaping, that, the, mid-range effectively. Barely, exists, the, game biases, extremely, heavily towards shotguns, basically. Becoming a contest, of closing, distance and gaining Heights so you can land a shotgun headshot, on your opponent's if, you strip out everything else the game is a moderately. Okay shooter with a unique, twist and a compelling aesthetic, it's not dire, but, it's, kind of just barely, good enough to stand on its own without the rest of the hooks and oh. Boy. Does. Fortnight, have hooks the. Item shop is pretty grotesque when, you break down its underlying mechanics in. Contrast, to pretty much every other game on the market fortnight, only displays 10 to 13 items at a time rotating. On a daily basis. This has the dual purpose, of obfuscating. What's available and creating. A FOMO response, or fear, of missing out if you see something you like you have a limited, window in which to purchase it and with the total, inventory of products obfuscated.

There's No sense of how long it might be until, that particular item is available again or, even, if, it will ever be available again, at all, incidentally. Alfonso, Ribeiro isn't, just suing epic because his carlton dance made it into the game but because they took his work and were selling it for 8 bucks a pop, the. Other arm of the monetization system, is the Battle Pass which costs a little under $10, u.s. and ties into the seasonal progression, track system, which, is itself broken, into two tiers freed, and paid fortnight, cyclical, gameplay is broken up into ten weeks seasons, and the battle pass applies, only for a given season the, paid track just throws piles of stuff at you every tier to incentivize, playing more including. An early perk of an experience, boost next, season, just, in case you were maybe considering. Not getting the next battle past ten weeks from now what's, interesting about the free track is that it doesn't nearly make use of FOMO, psychology. It's not just, saying oh look. At all this stuff you'd get if you bought the battle pass though, I mean it is literally. Saying that right there but, in addition to that it's making use of hostile. Design, the free track actually, ends, at tier 62, though the season track goes until 100. There's no additional, free rewards past, this point from, here it's not simply a matter of a fear, of missing, out the. Entire battle past system is founded on the dopamine, rush of unlocking, something new every, few hours of play to keep players coming back within. That context. The point where the game stops giving you stuff entirely, the, game is withdrawing. The thing that is used to get you hooked it is, punishing. You for having dared play this long without, paying, this, is manufactured. Discontent. And make. No mistake you. Will have to play a lot, to, get to this point again. With the layers of deliberate obfuscation, the broad progression, systems are broken into two parts first a count level which is, self broken, into total level and seasonal, level and the, Battle Pass which we've discussed, progressing. In level, is done by earning experience, which is rewarded, at the end of every match while, progressing the battle pass is done by earning battle stars battle, stars are rewarded, and amounts ranging from two to ten for every level and for completing, challenges which. Come in daily and weekly flavors, daily. Challenges, tend to be fairly straightforward ranging. From placing, in the top twenty five to, scoring a number of takedowns with a specific weapon type while, weekly, challenges, tend to get more varied and abstract, and include things like visiting, specific, locations, on the map now, briefly, I want to touch on the psychological design, elements, of the weekly challenges, and the way that they're presented, first. There's the element of FOMO, in the completion. Reward of 5,000, XP a substantial. Amount of experience, requires, completing, four challenges, but only three, are available for free second.

The Paid battle past challenges, aren't simply locked but are turned into a mystery, box if you don't pay you, don't even get to see what they are. Tantalizing. Isn't. It you. Only need one more, you're. So, close, well. Let's go back to these tracks they're, presented, as roughly, analogous, literally. In parallel. But, progression. Along these tracks aren't, even the, gold tier players have access, to more challenges, which reward, more battle stars which in turn reward. Direct experience. On top, of experience, multipliers, gold. Players don't just get more they, get it faster, and with, less effort so. This point tier 62, it's, highly, unlikely that you'll actually get to this point without playing a lot, of fortnight, every. Single day I've, actually needed to play a lot, of fortnight, pretty much every day in the course of making this video both, in order to ensure I understood, the game itself, well enough to speak about it confidently, and also. Just to get these specific, kinds, of footage I was looking for and. At the midpoint of season, 8 I'm, less, than halfway there. This, maybe seems like I'm just complaining, about the free-to-play players not, getting enough stuff but, that's not actually the, point the, underlying purpose of demonstrating, all this is to show the mechanisms, that the creator's, are willing to employ these. Psychological, tricks are in effect a form of rhetoric a form of persuasive. Speech, they are trying to persuade, you by applying select, forms of pressure and it is I think worth, understanding the mechanisms, of that pressure so that we can better recognize, how, and when, we, are being persuaded. Also, it's worth keeping in mind that as a season. Is only ten weeks long a paid, player, can, slip back into being a free player at any time, in. Order to retain all the perks of being a, paid, player one, would need to buy all four, to five season. Passes, every. Year all of this goes hand in hand the, marshmallow concert, isn't a thing happening, in parallel, to the monetization systems. It's a core pillar the external, purpose of things like this are fairly straightforward it's a publicity stunt an oddity, that people will talk about the, cost of assembling the technical, aspects of the concert and paying comstock, for his participation, were effectively, weighted, against a direct ad buy and based. On the coverage, epoch $0.10 is probably, pretty happy with the outcome the internal, purpose, is a little, more arcane, and I wouldn't blame you if you wanted to use the word sinister, the, purpose of the concert, is to utilize the social, pressure of, exclusion. Let's. Take a closer look at a couple key moments. If, marshmallow, is calling out for you to use your favorite emo, well, if you haven't paid in odds, are, you don't have any.

Or The, ones you do have are going to be pretty generic, and, lame events. Like the concert, create environments, where the ability to self express is placed at a premium, in, order to feel like a full and active, participant. You need to be able to perform, the, catch is, that literally, every, unique, action, has an attached price, tag. And. There. Are some things that you'll simply never, get without, paying players who haven't bought a skin, don't even have control over their, basic image there, isn't a roster. Of default, looks to choose from your look is assigned, randomly, after. Every match there isn't just a layer of FOMO the sense that others around you, with cooler, more expressive, character, models are having more fun are better. Able to, project, themselves into, the social space there's, a level of hostility in. The design, if you, don't buy in you aren't merely, limited, in your options of expression, you are actively, denied, control. Over. The most basic, element, of how, you choose, to look in the virtual world nothing. That Fortnight does is particularly, new, these complex. Monetization, systems, with multiple layers of obfuscation you, can find this in pretty much any mobile, game and plenty, of desktop, and console games are laden with cosmetic. Microtransactions. Legally, dubious, gambling, and other ways to aggressively. Monetize, the game lots. Of games use progression, systems, and incremental, rewards, as part of their core loop to keep players playing, fortnight. Is really, just a maturation, of those systems a refinement. Of every. Habit-forming, trick. And micro transaction. Pressure point, developed, in the last decade, condensed. Into a weaponized, product, targeted, at kids one, of the articles that originally. Called my attention to all of this was one Nick stat wrote for The Verge titled, fortnight's, marshmallow, concert, was a busy are an exciting glimpse of the future I. Disagree. With NYX breathy, excitement. But on the whole he's right, fortnight. Is a glimpse, of the future an awful. Perpetually. Monetized, vertically-integrated. Vaguely. Hostile. Future. You.

2019-04-04 20:25

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Comments:

So tired of April 1st jokes that I missed out on this video until the title was changed. Also: great Lobster shirt, I bought the same one myself.

tbh fortnite is a lot better than other games because they actually let you buy the items you want rather than make you gamble for them lootbox style. you bring up the whole v-bucks thing to suggest Epic is using it to facilitate legal gambling but fortnite doesn't have loot crates :/

The only April Fools' I see here is the layers upon layers of ridiculous SPECTACLE

This episode of Black Mirror sucks.

why are you wearing a lobster shirt? Are you trying to get me to buy a Jordan Peterson book?

More like DJ Marshsellout.

I will give you a dollar per month on Patreon. I can't be arsed with setting up d.rip when I've finally convinced my bank that Patreon is not credit card fraud.

Long boring stretches of nothing important happening and no dialog for info. Thats bad youtubin.

I have heard many things of Fortnite from a parent of a kid obsessed with it, and it's wild. I didn't even KNOW there was a creative mode until this video. Also, just...the insanity of it all. Calling mom to ask if he can buy a skin because it's only here todayyyy mommm and her pushing back and making him pay for it with allowance or earn experience, or to save for something he really wants instead of spending on impulse. While in the mobile store, trying to sign in with their usernames on the new Samsung phone floor model, to get the exclusive content. (sadly, it didn't work lol.) And her sentiments being echoed by other people! On the one hand, Fortnite could be a powerful lesson on money management, saving, capitalism, etc. - and on the other hand, like you said, is creating a constantly targeted ad campaign. It's like getting the newest action figure or other fad toy on steroids.

Epic Games is a terrifying glimpse into the future of gaming. If they can not use social coercion to gain revenue, then they'll use strong arm tactics aka the Epic Store. People thought EA was bad...

Never thought I'd see an April Fools video that came down harder on F2P monetization schemes than Jim Sterling.

Thank you for being one of the few people to actually separate Save the World and Battle Royale when talking about this. Epic's big weird early access grift with Save the World that they parlayed into the Battle Royale mode always goes unmentioned now when talking about this stuff, and I think it really shades Fortnite BR as a "free service" when yeah, there were a whole lot of people paying for a 60 dollar product up front to make it happen.

@folding ideas One mistake: 14:15 - level si nto broken into 'total level' and 'seasonal level', it's broken into 'player level' and 'battle pass tier' - Your 'player' level still resets per season along with your battle pass, but the two are separate. You get 2 stars per player level, 5 stars per 5 player levels, and 10 stars per 10 player levels which apply to your battle pass. 10 'Stars' is a battle pass tier. Confusing, right?

If you go to Career you can see your account level, which is, I believe, simply a sum of all your seasonal levels.

Fortnite [normal] erotic fan fiction

I never really thought about how hostile the monitization in the game was before watching this. I am pretty good at resisting the urge to buy things I don't need and have only ever spent 10 dollars on the game because the battlepass gives you enough vbucks to buy the next season's, but my friend has spent hundreds of dollars on this game and I see now how it plays off of basic human instincts. I still like the game but now I question the ethics of Epic Games.

Why did it take 5 minutes for you to shut up and start the vid? Just don't need to do that.

I dunno, why do you hate fun?

But, we already did this stuff with SecondLife, this'll crash and burn too. I was there, I seen't it happen.

Kinda skipped over this as I don't tend to watch April fools videos, but pleasantly impressed that it still kept up the usually thought provoking style! I do wanna mention however, there is a use to in-game currency and also getting extra currency when paying more money in-game. I'll give my thoughts on this; Take a micro-transaction, say like getting an extra life early. Now lets say it costs $1 to get. You need to get the player to purchase this, and they are gonna either use something like paypal or a credit card. To use these services, you need to pay a fee. This fee usually comprises of a flat amount, plus a percentage of what is given. (Say like $0.10 + 5% of total moved.) Now whenever you get someone to buy that life, you lose 15% of the money just to transfer fees. Doesn't sound like much, but when you consider stuff like taxes, every cent counts. So in order to combat this, you could turn to packs. Get 5 of this item for like $4.99. At the same fee you only pay like 35 cents in transactions. Much better. But forcing everything into packs, leaves players unsatisfied. As they would often like to choose to only get the one they need right now. The other solution is to use an in-game currency. Spend $5 and we'll give you 1000 fun bucks. Now you can buy said life for 200 fun bucks. And you keep the benefit of not paying that much to transactions. In fact, if you let someone pay $10 instead of 2 times $5, you might as well give them the extra money you earnt as fun bucks. (e.g. An extra 10 cents worth of fun bucks, or 20 fun bucks.) That being said, it does open up a whole lot of extra can of worms, a lot of which mentioned in the video and more that weren't. This seemingly good system can get corrupted so easily, it is not even funny. To name a few: Using prices that never add up to full amounts, Using must buy now purchases, giving small amounts of money to make the player think they are progressing, but ultimately getting nowhere. And with so many games trying to nickle and dime, only a couple are gonna come out on top. Usually leaving the ones that don't screw the consumer as much in the dust. Ah well, thanks for the video. Willing to see the next one.

Just use hand-wavey lady for your new avatar, from now on

As a game dev, I really loved this video. I wouldn't mind at all if you made more videos on video games!

I feel like platform holders like you should inject the descriptor "late capitalism", or "late stage capitalism" into these scripts more often. Its a potent and accurate descriptor that ties these issues to their shared source.

I'm going to take a wild guess and say kids that are exposed to these gambling mechanics are not going to be great with money when they grow up.

I think you may be a bit too into the Fortnite Fan Fic based on the tabs open in your browser.

I agree

slime rancher is better

"Fortnite fan fiction" Excuse me?

Every time you say, "live service," I hear it in Jim Sterling's voice.

You're doing great work, kid. Thank you.

Yeah, this is the kind of stuff that turned me off of Fortnite. I was initially kind of into it, but I rapidly grew annoyed with a lot of the free features that you mentioned. I'm usually cool with this sort of thing when you can at least earn stuff just by playing, but the way it was handled here was just so blatantly "Give us money" that I couldn't stick with it. Gameplay stopped feeling rewarding and fun, I got increasingly tired of the constantly changing default character, and I quit after a week of playing because I refused to pay money to make it more rewarding.

Has anyone looked closely at the waving chicks' armpit? It is not proportional.

Oh God. People will say "late stage capitalism" but this isn't capitalism. This is literally avarice made manifest. I feel physically sick.

For the record, there are also benign reasons for the FunBucks strategy, two in specific: 1: It minimizes the number of "Points of Sale" involving real currencies. Instead of spending $5 on this thing, $2 on that thing, and $3 on a third thing, you spend $10 on a bundle on the FunBucks and then use those FunBucks to buy the stuff you want. It reduces service charges by credit card companies and allows for non-credit card methods of purchase (like the gaming cards you see in every single corner store these days). Yes, it has other, shady purposes, and that's shitty that companies abuse it, but it was created in the first place because not everyone has a credit card, and credit card companies charge based on number of purchases, not the amount purchased. 2: It makes for *much* easier price conversion and communcation in an international marketplace. Basically, games internationally have three options: Do all business in $USD and hope that Koreans, Brazilians, Germans and everyone else can figure out the conversion rates. Have everything for sale in all currencies and have to maintain, update and possibly even advertise the prices for all of the hundreds of items for each region as they values fluctuate. Or only sell the FunBucks in various prices in various regions and sell everything for those FunBucks. The third option's a pretty good middle ground, especially if you want to deal with countries with more volatile/imbalance economies. Its shitty that this method is also so easily abused, but it kinda irks me when people just state that the only reason the FunBucks systems exist is for evil, exploitative reasons. That shit can (and usually is) part of it, sure, but it's also just insanely more practical.

cough Chomsky cough

Boi you not even giving props to Minecraft Battle Arena as the first Battle Royale game.

Perpetually monetized, vertically integrated, and vaguely hostile? To quote Lindsay Ellis, “that’s capitalism.” ...and also why I don’t play Fortnite. Well, to be fair, that style of game has never really appealed to me in the first place, but after such a deep dive into it’s underlying marketing tactics... yeah... hard pass. Wonderfully presented, as usual, Dan! Thank you for posting ☺️

Darn, this isn't talking about what I thought it was going to be talking about. I thought it was going to go into why epic keeps making great changes and then metaphorically goes "Psych!!!" moments later by making a horrible, heart tearing change in the next update...revert....revert....revert....

The battle sequence around 4~ minutes is too long to mentally maintain the original intent of the video. And too many random scenes to be memoriable. Maybe narrow-in your editing skills there.

Amazing job. As someone who spent more than I'd care to say on a free-to-play mobile game once, this hit really close to home. I especially loved the section discussing FOMO, and the rhetoric behind these spaces. We think of persuasive architecture as placing candy bars in the aisle of the grocery store checkout at a child's eye level -- here, the entire grocery store is designed to entice the child, and nobody is talking about it.

epic games are still scum got it

Fifty Shades of Paywall

hey,the vidiots wge theme song is featured in this video. this triggers decent memories.

The best thing anybody has ever had to say about Fortnight: "ALL I KNOW IS BACK IN MY DAY IF SOMEONE STARTED SHOOTING AT YOU, YOU SHOT BACK. YOU DIDN'T BUILD A MOTHERFUCKING DUTCH COLONIAL" - Zodiac Motherfucker Itso. Fatso.

This makes me happy that I don't like the kind of game that Fortnite is. I'm trapped in MTG Arena right now, but its monetization is much less aggressively manipulative.

paused the video to check out your tabs and now i understand those tweets about fortnite fanfiction from a while back

Huh. Now I know why I didn't find the game that gripping before I started buying skins, and why I felt no incentive to play it again after I decided I wasn't going to spend any more money on it.

Taking dances moves is one thing, but taking a small time artist original art and claim it as is own is hitting a new rock bottom for Epic.

Second Life waves at you from the past.

Thanks I hate it - jk good video -

Don't forget that Fortnite has a *lot* of elementary school age players. Fortnite is probably the most commonly played game in elementary schools next to Minecraft. It's the Super Mario Bros of their generation.

Not sure if you exactly did enough research on this to be honest. For one you forgot to mention marshmallow also got an emote (3 different dances actually) given to everyone the weekend of the concert so no one felt left out and a marshmallow pickaxe they can keep forever, second you don't mention that by having save the world players get free V-Bucks everyday. Personally I have about a $300 inventory on fortnite but I've spend a total of $25, I purchased the season 2 battle pass for $10 and I purchased save the world off of a 3rd party website for $10 and got the most recent starter pack. Save the world gives a daily challenge every day rewarding 50vbucks so 1500vbucks a month give or take, and has login bonuses rewarding 10000 vbucks over the span of a year in forms of 50, 150, 300, 500, 800, 1000 vbuck rewards. The battle pass alone pays for every battle pass after the first if you save the vbucks for it. Yes they try and milk money off of whales but what can you do to stop that.

this is why i hate most games now and why i have stopped playing... oh and fuck fortenite in their lofty yah yah L.A. based studio headquarters with their two faced L.A. mentality.

Epic Games is in North Carolina...

Weren’t concerts in second life and even coalchella in Minecraft pioneers in this kind of thing? It’s kind of dumb how this is portrayed as history when it’s really not even new to the gaming scene

_STOP WAVING_

I would love to hear your analysis of animal crossing (pocket camp and DS).

If the seasons are 10 weeks, why is it called "Fortnite?"

Because it was originally just about building forts in the day and defending them at night.

Thanks for changing the thumbnail. I didn't watch the video at first as I assumed it would just be an April Fools joke. I am glad that there was an interesting video underneath.

It's not a wave, its a cry for help.

All of these tricks and tactics remind me of mobile Games. I've played enough of those to recognize a money machine masked as entertainment. I will never ever play games like this. If live service games are the future of video games, then I'm out. But I think, there is still hope. Indie games keep getting better and there is this tiny spark of hope, that the AAA industry will find out, that "games as live services" or "the Oasis" is a wet dream that will crash and burn as soon as the fad is over and players stop being interested in games like this

I'd love to see people break down the different systems like this in games more.

I wonder who else noticed all the fortnite erotic fan fiction tabs.

Why's this in Laura Platt's Undertale song playlist?

I came out around the time I was playing fortnite and this video made me realise that the game made me spend money on it *as a result of me being trans* The 50% chance of my expression within the game being a dude was excruciating. ;-;

this is best video you have ever made, good pivot

Garbage cosmetic-heavy microtransactions like these create an interesting discussion topic for me and my friends. I'm someone who can fall for impulse-buy psychology seen in games like Fortnite (big reason why I won't play it), but my friends are largely unaffected. Their opinion roughly goes, "Meh, they're just cosmetics. They don't really mean anything," to which my argument is: isn't that powerful commentary on the gaming industry as a whole? For many people, Fornite is a great game, but how much BETTER could it be if the higher-ups weren't obsessing over useless fluff "content"?

I imagined Dan waving frantically in the sound booth recording this.

Wait... so this was all just an April Fool's, right? Surely the contemporary gaming monetization philosophies aren't actually this exploitative. Right? Right?

A good breakdown of the game, but the bizarre misuse of terms was totally unjustified. The "psychological tricks" are no more a form of rhetoric than any game mechanic is to encourage certain behavior, and conflating forms of conveying information is not helpful, and it is still clear how these tricks are literally and fundamentally not speech.

Except many of them are quite literally a matter of placing specifically worded phrases in front of you at calculated moments and are literally speech.

My good Sir, may I kindly suggest changing your background from white to any other color, especially for your late night viewers sake? Otherwise, an extensively researched and a very well written essay. Well done.

shut up raf :@

My arm is getting tired just from watching your avatar wave for so long... Is that weird?

the last 3 words sent chills down my spine.

So...the frantic waving is durably hilarious.

Yeah I used to play a MOBA and it was rife with this lootbox gambling and obscene grab-it-while-you-can pressure for cosmetics and weekly challenges to entice continuous participation. And two tiers of in-game currency which could be bought at stupid prices with real life money! I stopped playing for other reasons but man it actually became a humorously bitter talking-topic when the luck of the box would give me a fancy skin or vehicle or an XP-booster but not my teammate, or vice-versa. And the matchmaking kinda sucked too so really what was the point of skill. The real damn worst part is that I'm an adult and was not super affected by the gambling and social pressures of an online multiplayer game, but other people will be, and Fortnite is *aimed at children*. Yikes.

Honestly, I prefer the battle pass system over lootboxes, but I do wish the in-game store either wasn't there or didn't rotate, because yeah, that does get annoying, especially when the skins there generally cost more than the battle pass itself (and also has totally gotten money out of me >_>;;) The battle pass itself I think is fine when you consider games like WoW or FFXIV which take a sub fee to play at all. A premium account is okay, and generally the sum of the stuff on the pass is worth it to me especially considering how much they charge for individual stuff, though it absolutely could be done in a way more friendly way even if this was just about the battle pass in a vacuum. I still like Fortnite though, even if I havn't played in a good while. I prefer the aesthetic it has over like PUBG, it runs better, and honestly the way they slowly change the island over the course of seasons is a neat way of keeping people engaged without money being involved, watching this place you spend time in slowly getting altered, and theorizing how it might change next. I get the gameplay complaints, I do wish building wasn't super OP, its frustrating to be against someone who can suddenly materialize a tower because they have ultimate twitch reaction skills, though the gunplay and vehicle controlls generally feel fine to me, and I kinda forgive the matchmaking considering you're in a game with 100 other people so I feel its a little unfeasable to get 100 people who all have the same level of skill as you - and the sheer amount of people honestly levels the playing field by the end. I get why people dislike Fortnite, I aknowledge its got issues, but I've still had fun with it, and thats the main thing I care about.

One thing you mentioned on Twitter that I didn't hear in the vid was that this manufactured discontent is largely targeted at kids, who are even more susceptible to these practices.

I would really love to see something like this but put in comparison with something like Second Life. SL has been a 'live service' for a long time, and while much of the economy is built on microtransactions via funny money... About 99% (that's a guess) of content is made by players of the game. The value of L$ also is based on some sort of economy so the amount you get doesn't vary by these weird, obfuscated functions that adjust the price by the quantity purchased, but instead some actual economy. I remember seeing people I knew who play or have played SL laughing about the Marshmello concert in fortnite because lol I can log on SL and see a DJ play an actual live set nearly any time. There are game modes that include shooter aspects, but nothing like an actual tiered system like this. I'd be curious to see how much, if at all, came companies have looked at it and things like it for ideas on how to craft live services (rather than just 100% looking at the mobile game market). I really liked this video though, Dan, and you always do such a great job breaking down topics like this in a very digestible manner. :)

Wait a minute. This isn't an April's fool. Is that the fool? I'm confused.

Fortnite is the ugliest most blatant rendition of the AAA corporate drive of "Games as Live Services" with the actual "Game" part becoming less and less pronounced and the "Live Service" (predatory micro-transactions) becoming the actual "content." It is the absolute opposite of "Games as art" ideal some people actually want realized in the industry, a shallow, bland, uninteresting, uninspired, trend-seeking monster created for the sole purpose of targeting teennagers to fork out ridiculous amount of cash in micro-transactions, knowing full well most teenagers are not fiscally reasonable enough to resist or have any awareness of how predatory in-game storefronts work.

Hum... I think it's kinda interesting to think of "fortnite as art". I agree, conceptually it's bland, uninteresting, uninspired, trend seeking monster created for the sole purpose of getting a targeted audience to fork over unreasonable amounts of money for a product that ultimately provides little value beyond perhaps 'personal expression'. That said. I think that's kinda the literal definition of "kitsch art". If video games are art, than games like fortnite represent the ultimate kitsch of the artform.

You're gonna love Jim Sterling man. He's been saying the same thing for years with a stronger sarcastic but just as cutting an edge. I still remember the rush of realizing i wasn't the only one seeing the insane monetization and pressures in mobile pricing (that's not just regular pricing) schedules.

him and jim have been friends for a while, so the love is already there.

It's hard for me to watch these kinds of videos without comparing the subject to my personal poison of choice: Warframe. Especially now that the Nightwave update has essentially introduced its own "battle pass" system. When compared directly is often ends up looking pretty good. The monetization in Warframe is pretty fair and pretty lightly pushed compared to what these games tend to do, but the skinner-box tricks to keep people coming back day in and day out are present and polished to a mirror shine. Just blatant enough to be effective without going far enough as to be actively offensive. People generally buy in to Warframe because they feel they've gotten enough out of the game that it deserves some of their cash, rather than because there's any single thing they particularly want. And while "give people a good enough experience that they feel you deserve their money" is hardly the most insidious business model an F2P game can have, the tactics used to keep people playing long enough that they feel that way are often far from saintly. It's not terrible, and I do continue to dip in and out of Warframe as I have since its early beta days, but these kinds of videos remind me how far from perfect it is, even if it's better than a lot of the competition.

Only true lobsters buy the Battle Pass

her head is so tiny, that disturbs me so much more than i thought it would

Damn, ur investigative journalism is legit important to me.

what insightful video. knowing this, its kind of sad that the in thing for kids to play a few years ago was minecraft. That game looks like a saint when you compare it to how this store subtlety tries to get you to pay for things in its included game mode, and kids dont even know that they're being manipulated in this way either. eww.

You thought it was April Fools, but it was me! An informative video!

Ah man, I never thought I could hate Epic more than I already have, thank you for expanding my fury

Now do Halo. Bobble your head like there's no tomorrow.

Thank you for this one. It was a beautiful reminder of why I try to avoid games like these now.

Yeah I did some testing for fortnite back before they added Battle Royal, and I loved the game and was playing the moment we got an alpha release but BR made me quit, I didn't enjoy it, the mechanics were ill suited for it and it started getting all the support. Which is a shame I still love save the world.

The tone of this feels so weird now that I'm also constantly thinking about "waving = talking" the entire time.

L O B S T E R S ps: Fortnite is entergagement

is that a Jordan Peterson shirt? lmaooo

To sum the video up in one word: Capitalism

Um, excuse me? You did not just stop at Battle Royale, the movie. Originally, it was a book. Thanks.

excuse me, you first mention the manga, and then you will say it was a novel while making note that it has the number of the beast as pages.

Man, your arm must be absolutely knackered after all that "talking".

Not one Floss? Is this even a video about Fortnite?

That lobster shirt. Daddy

Nice video, Dan. Guess I'll just keep playing Snake on my phone then.

I first suspected Fortnite was evil when I saw scribbled on a grade school wall in chalk "Fortnite rules".

I haven't purchased a battle pass since season 3 (the season I started) and yet I have had access to every single seasons battle pass....if you buy save the world for 20 dollars when it's on sale (which is very often), not only do you get a decent game but you get enough free vbucks to buy 4-5 skins and the next battle pass for free every season....It's really not a bad pay model and while I hate most paid models in games these days, harping on fortnite when it has a very very mild one, and IS FREE TO PLAY (therefore it must make money somehow) is hardly the best target to make your point.

Although v-bucks and similar currencies are a way to circumvent gambling laws, I fail to see the gamble when their are no loot boxes.

Marshmello himself gave an insight into the behind the scenes, and while yes, the set and animations were scripted his voice was in fact live.

Holy shit this video is good. I can't belive I never heard of you before and first did with an april fools video. Every point here is exactly what I was trying to communicate to friends but couldn't find the right words to. Also that weed joke was genius too, 100% agree about personality

Incidentally, Alfanzo Rivera stole that dance form Belinda Carlisle.

Uhh, didn't Carlton steal that dance from someone else, too? Lol

I don’t get fortnites popularity, the art style and image of the game clashes unbelievably hard with the core gameplay loop and the building is just so gimmicky. I want to understand the game but I just can’t...

Your Fortnite avatar looks like the female human models for World of Warcraft after they updated the character models.. The big cartoony eyes and over-exaggerated facial movements are a dead ringer for a Warcraft Humans.

I think this is a decent video, but I think it misses out something in regards to the Switch version 1) Buying games on the switch online store gives you gold points which can be spent on discounts for other games 2) Gold points can also be used to purchase vbucks 3) There is enough vbucks on the battle pass to be able to save up and purchase the next battle pass. So you can probably see where I'm going with this.

Fornite killed Unreal Tournement. It stole all those dumb kids away from a much better game. And now we're here, at live services. This is your fault gamers.

Sick

Huh... and this is an example of why I am *extremely* distrustful of anything free-to-play. It took two very good friends over a year to convince me to give Warframe a shot. Two other friends have, and will continue to, fail at convincing me to play Fortnite.

Just go to Second Life if you want to throw a virtual concert.

So... we've reached the cultural moment in which people have entirely forgotten about Secondlife.

I don't really want to know if fortnite vore incest fanfic is a thing, but damned if I'm gonna google it anyway...

The first four minutes are really obnoxious, past the point of being meta for a joke

Holy shit you are very pretensions, making references to Chomsky in you title.

creators like you give me hope for youtube :)

I actually bought the original Fortnite, it seemed super cool at the time. But I barely played it after launch, in part because I'm not a fan of the battle royale format, and mostly because it didn't have singleplayer. It was a perfectly adequate tower defence type game, with a neat little story, ruined by the fact that it was almost entirely online.

Every thinkpiece, article, or video about games that talks about the evils of using a "dopamine rush" and the "psychological tricks" of a game has been total horseshit based on literally nothing, and this is no different. There is no basis for the claims you make, other than that you want them to be true. You make authoritative claims about how victimizing F2P games are that are the same tier as Jack Thompson's fucking nonsense. And I say this as someone who never has an never will play Fortnite, and has spent a total of 5 dollars on FTP games in the course of ten years.

If it was "total horseshit based on literally nothing" then why are EA, Activision, and Epic hiring psychologists to help them design their monetization systems?

+Gnome de Plume Do I have a single shred of evidence to support the claim that he is advancing claims without evidence? Do you know what words mean or are you just aping the form of other arguments you have seen?

do you have a single shred of evidence to support your claim? Because they are predatory and they do encourage addictive behaviour and you only have to look at every game that employs these systems to see it plain as day

Those browser tabs tho…

I always thought games as a service was just an annoying monetization model. Now I realize it is actually a sinister method of trying to grind away at your will power to drain money from you by crafting every visual element and progression tracker in the game to torture you with possibility

fornite erotic -vore -incest

So Fortnite is basically the Studio 54 of the Internet?

So ... Could you tell people PSO did it first, having a concert I mean

Is this music by Alex Mauer?

Interesting!

I feel like this concert was just Fortnite hopping onto what altspaceVR is doing with live groups, events, and meetups in VR. Except it's shit.

Why does that waving make me so irrationally angry?

Thank you for your April fools day video only having jokes and not just being a joke

This video feels like its intending to argue against something but instead of using arguments relies on, I dunno, negative analogies. I'm ambivalent about Fortnite's monetization system also, but I think can make that point in a less obviously biased manner.

I played the save the world version before I realized I was basically in a grind wasting my time. Got to like level 40 or something. I think I musta got to the manufactured discontent point and said "fuck it then im done", not the intended effect. But it has worked on me before in other games that were highly addictive, and I wasted several hundred dollars then before i learned my lesson the first time. And I have a pretty unaddictive personality too. Well made I was expecting to close out a few min in.

I can't even take this seriously as a joke. Somebody please murder fortnight before my students start actually stabbing each other in real life over game sessions.

I really disliked the gunplay so much when I tried earlier last year. And the hooks don't necessarily interest me. So, I am totally Fortniteless and feel so out of touch and old lol.

that ending was brutal

that avatar is so cute her eyes are soo big!

i think past being a promotional stunt for fortnite itself, the marshmallow concert is an advertisement to other intellectual properties that Epic-Tencent is open for cross-promotional content as one of their revenue streams. Either next season or the season afterwards I expect epic to start hosting these events semi regularly, and I expect they'll be getting paid for it. I think this concert was something of a pilot for "Fortnite as an advertisement platform", and I think Epic-Tencent sees this as a potentially enormous revenue stream for them.

I watched that clip of Dan getting ganked from behind like the Zapruder film.

God the art design in Fortnite is hideous

dan where to cop shirt

4:20 that is not a no-scope! THAT IS NOT A NO-SCOPE! A no-scope is a hip-fired killed with a sniper rifle. You were ADS-ing! A! D! S-ing!

+Folding Ideas Lol I figured that was going on after a while.

I planted a few deliberately underwhelming/fairly normal takedowns in there with puffed up graphics as an easter egg for people who would know that "115m basically the furthest shot possible!" is, in fact, not that impressive even if the shot was pretty funny.

The one critique I would have about your argument is the part about the Carlton Dance and Alfonso, is that the dance literally isn't even Carlton's, he stole it from somewhere else. Either way, he was only doing it because Fortnite was popular, tons of other games have used the dance and he didn't attempt a lawsuit. He just saw the big bucks in Fortnite.

The browser tabs at the end are an excellent touch. I salute you.

Wait when you showed the article you had like 5 tabs fortnite fan fiction open. I SEE YOU!

I fucking love deconstruction,it's oddly addictive

seeing this made me realize/remind that when i played fortnite a while back with a friend he pushed so much the idea of buying the battle pass now i kinda now why

It's one thing to hear about these FOMO effects and just brushing it off, but Anthem does the same thing with its store and I was legitimately tempted to buy stuff thanks to the manipulation. I'm not really someone who dislikes microtransactions, but I think it creates a problem when you combine them with predatory gambling-lite practices.

OMG those Google tabs at 20:34.

Thank god for Dan.

Thank you for terrifying me.

Man now that you showed into detail those kind of monetisation tactics, especially the seasonal rewards that stop after a certain point for the non paying player is straight up pulled from out a drug dealer page when presenting a new product to his clients.

While I don't disagree with your points I think choosing to never consider value for investment takes a very surface approach when looking at ways in which things are sold and advertised. For instance, you make a point of saying that anyone who wants to stay "gold" instead of free to play has to "buy the battle pass 4 or 5 times a year", but ignore the fact that each battle pass contains enough unlockable vbucks to purchase the next season battle pass. Meaning you at most have to buy 1 and you're good from then on. And the battle passes have consistently delivered a quality assortment of items with the challenge system making it fun and interesting to work your way up the tiers (assuming you're not trying to just grind out 100 tiers on week 1 of the season). Ultimately I'm mostly surprised you gave a pass to the prices on things in the store. If anything about fortnite's monetization system feels sketchy to me it's their pricing. $20 for a skin should be a special occasion thing, not a normal everyday price.

Thank you for making actual content on April first. I avoided it yesterday because I avoid everything on April first.

I appreciate the thought put into this video and the argument you put forth. You're wrong, though. Fortnite's ahead of the game from an ethics standpoint right off the bat since all purchases are purely cosmetic-only. All the content, gameplay-wise, is 100% free and available from the start, as well. How many F2P games can say that? Even within the realm of cosmetics, Fortnite's more of an example I wished more games would follow than not. No loot boxes, what you see is what you get, and there is a clear delineation between store purchases and "achievement-based" battle pass unlocks. Nobody's gonna rip your John Wick skin off, you earned the privilege. The FOMO and (again, *strictly* cosmetic holy shit that's way better than otherwise) "hostility" toward non-battle pass players is cynical, yes. But damn man we all know this live service model nonsense is here to stay, and if I had my say, I'd much rather be assured that I can play the fucking game normally than to child-proof the dinosaur costumes

Wow, an "It's *just* cosmetic!" defense in the wild *takes photos*

I actually had a whole bit that I was lukewarm on including, because it was a late addition, about how cleverly they've hacked the Core Gamer mentality, deliberately constraining things to only "good" microtransactions, thus ensuring that no matter how predatory they get Gamerz will come out of the woodworks to defend them.

What I'm getting from this: Venture capitalist "tech bros" want us to believe in the Matrix so they can monetise everything we do in their nonsense constructed spaces.

So this is why Fortnite is bad.

Excellent video. Fortnite might be fun on the surface but holy hell is its heart black and corrupt.

One thing I will say in Fortnite's defence is that at least it IS free to play; as manipulative as these tactics are, at least it's clear that they are an optional 'cost of entry'. I find this stuff a lot more nauseating when it's attached to a paid title.

didn't know Jim Sterling was writing your script now

How is the waving giving me motion sickness???

When will I learn to stop ruining good videos for myself by going to the comments section

Nice shirt

The Progression of those tabs... Dan...

FINALLY new Folding Ideas. Fuck yeah

Legit described live services far better than Jim Sterling, the loudest hater of AAA industry. Props.

Depressing stuff

Pivot!!

Lol @ Orange Pump.

Loved it. Agree with you on most of your points. I would like to bring up maybe a counter point. Just got into fortnite in the tail end of season 7. I wanted to play free to play at first but ended up buying the battle pass for 8. I leveled up 4 times as fast with the battle pass because of constant xp bonuses that you unlock threw play. I spent 10 bucks on the game in total but already have enough V-bucks for the next battle pass. I kinda think the battle pass was worth it. I wont spend anymore on the game and will probably be able to get the battle pass every season based on the v-bucks I unlock. (Granted i wont have enough vbuck to get emotes outside the BP) Just a thought, love your vid.

hot take the best "in-game concert" was when all of those probably-not-super-great emo-ish bands played a show within that old flash mmo adventurequest,

@Folding Ideas See UX "Dark Patterns", intentionally designing a user experience not in the interest of the primary user. They are everywhere.

Fuck, I remember limited time availability of cash store items, as well as loot boxes in GW2. I was extremely susceptible to it, spent over €2000 in total and just hoarded all the rare limited-edition items I had. Teens with Fortnite gambling habits are going to be a problem.

You made me watch a fortnite video. Congratulations

I've played "games as service" models since as long as I can remember. It started with MMOs and now others are following suit. I prefer it over any other model because there's little sunk costs. I can cancel a subscription whenever I want, and I'm not going to ever 'complete' the game that's perpetually updated. In the almost 2 year life span of Fortnite I've paid less towards it than a single AAA game. Its gameplay has more depth than any other shooter that exists. I've played FPS' for a decade, and nothing has come close to the depth that building and editing adds. Everything else in comparison is mindless and boring. The psychological aspects of the storefront are, of course, playing on young children's lack of impulse control. That being said, it remains better than any other monetisation service offered on other games.

Those chrome tabs killed me.

It get's kinda sad when you take all this information and merge it with the fact that the fornite community in itself has a pretty nasty take on "default skins"(players who haven't purchased any skins and are assigned the default character models), I've clicked on a couple fortnite youtubers over time and some of them were pretty vicious towards "defaults" so your bits about taking away player skins and creating a sense of missing out is even further pushed by the community itself, defaults are looked at with a kind of disdain by at least a part of the fornite community and it certainly has created a kind of "in group" mentality amongst some of the actively paying players. I could see some people being shamed into buying a skin especially since the main audience is children, god just thinking about how maybe some kids have even been bullied at school for having default skins is sad.

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