Yesterday I read that Netflix believes that Fortnite is a bigger rival than HBO.  People are spending more time playing the game than watching Netflix, HBO, or Hulu programming.  What’s the appeal of Fortnite?  As an online shooter game that feels like it has been combined with Minecraft, it gives people freedom.  It enables people to make choices and create their own path through a familiar landscape (once you’ve learned how to play).  There are many different paths to winning the game that eventually leads to eliminating the last player standing in the most popular module of the game, Battle Royale.

Epic, the creators of the game, has created a world in Fortnite that is interactive.  You can choose your own path to victory and take control of your own future.  There are certainly opponents to contend with along the way, but that’s not too different than what you see in the physical world.

Why does Fortnite matter?  On one hand, you may find Netflix and other companies exploring how to become more involved in the video game market.  But also the nature of entertainment itself could change.  Could a movie experience become more like Fortnite?  Imagine entering the world of Star Wars and participating in the narrative of the movie while having the opportunity to interact with characters and influence the outcome.  It gives you freedom of choice.

Movies and other traditional programming could change from linear structures to open-ended and immersive worlds.  Old storylines and plot devices are broken as people get to create their own path and experience lessons firsthand rather than as an observer.  It’s also a different way of experiencing the passage of time which in turn could change how you perceive the physical world.  The game accelerates time and enables people to solve problems and test solutions very quickly.

As Netflix figures out what to do next, I’m going to figure out how to last longer than a few minutes playing Fortnite.

[Photo:  Old Atari video games.]

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