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Epic Games struck gold when it took Fortnite: Save the World and added a battle royale mode to the game. Fortnite became synonymous with the new genre and grew to a level of mainstream visibility that few other games can touch, serving as a launchpad for a number of popular streamers and digital celebrities including the likes of Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, Turner “Tfue” Tenney, and Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf.
Fortnite was originally released on July 21, 2017. When the game launched, the battle royale mode that its now known for wasn’t even included. This mode would not be implemented until later in the year, on September 26, 2017.
It didn’t take long for the battle royale mode to overtake the original base-building mode that was at the heart of Fortnite, and developer Epic Games was quick to take notice. The game’s development shifted to support the more popular battle royale mode, and the success that followed was dramatic.
Fortnite went on to achieve such popularity that the game played a large role in further emphasizing the mainstream nature of video games in the current day. Hundreds of millions of players have registered to play Fortnite, and there’s no denying that level of success in any entertainment medium.
The game was also among the first to spawn entire careers for its most popular players. Ninja is perhaps the most notable example, as his popular streams of the game drew mass attention and eventually included the likes of rapper Drake. That crossover appeal and acceptance helped to demonstrate the culture power of both gaming and livestreaming, and Fortnite was at the base of it all.
Epic has sought to build on that success in a variety of ways. Popular crossovers have been established with pop culture icons ranging from comic book heroes to popular musical artists. The Fortnite World Championship was established as one of the largest esports tournaments in the world, with champion Bugha making appearances across the popular talk show circuit to celebrate his victory.