Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Kemal Koštrebić, Marketing Research Expert
January 18 – The big ice sphere has exploded! For days now players had been guessing what is the purpose of this ice sphere which the developers left hanging in the game’s sky. Now, the map has been covered in snow and ice, as the players fight off icy zombies. This event was followed live in the online world, both in-game and in streams from popular players. Something like the lunar eclipse in real life. The changes happening on the map, characters and game rules in Fortnite are actually a constant. Just like in life.
January 19 – Netflix, producer and distributer of TV content, in their latest quarterly report singled out Fortnite, the game, as the bigger competitor to its business model than HBO, another producer and distributor of TV content.
January 21 – Hackers have started using Fortnite as a platform to launder money stolen from credit-cards. Hacked credit cards are used for micro transactions in Fortnite accounts. After the purchases, all that is bought is usually resold, mostly through dark web, but also through eBay and other eCommerce platforms, for much less, but now clean money.
More often than in news, we can hear lectures at portals and conferences dedicated to marketing and advertising that social networks are now much more important than conventional media. We are being sold the story that we should buy ads on social networks, not on TV screens.
It is not that there are no arguments for that, but let’s see what we can learn from news about Fortnite and Netflix.
All who deal with the media and advertising are the attention merchants. Their goal is to attract the attention of the audience to achieve a particular interest. Whether we are talking about conventional or social media doesn’t matter.
Netflix has named Fortnite as its biggest competitor because it competes not only for the user’s attention, but also for their time and space. Multiplayer games, just as streaming platforms, are fighting for our attention across all platforms (mobile devices, desktop computers, and more and more often a move to TV screens is being mentioned) at all locations, at any time. The time spent in apps has overtaken TV time three years ago. Purchasing of apps, and purchases within apps have already exceeded advertising investment.
Although Netflix is more often mentioned in the media, with its 139 million users it is still much smaller than Fortnite with its 200 million users.
Why is then Fortnite a bigger competitor to Netflix than companies engaged in the production and distribution of TV content? Shouldn’t a video game be a passing trend?
When you play Fortnite, you have less and less time and money to spend on Netflix. Not only that, Fortnite and similar games have become, as Americans call it, the “third place”. Players don’t come to Fortnite just to play.
The socializing component of the game is quite pronounced – interaction between players, real friends or friends in the virtual world alone, is a very important factor in Fortnite. I’d rather call it a platform than a game. Players don’t just come to play, but to hang out – to get together and spend time together. Not to mention a multi-million audience that is watching the most popular pro players through streaming media (Twitch, YouTube and so on).
Fortnite, therefore, is not only competition to Netflix and streaming platforms. Fortnite and similar games have used, and stimulated, a change in consumer behaviour, and thus became competition even to cafes, social networks and conventional media – they are competitors to any place where people hang out and spend their time. Even though it isn’t something they’d want, they’re even becoming competition to the traditional ways of money laundering! This is not just a game, it’s a social network.
The more time, attention and money is spent on Fortnite, the less of it will go to Netflix, cafes, social networks, sports stores … Fortnite, as a separate entity, is the closest to what we imagine as the virtual world.
I often mention the term uberization, or sudden emergence of competition from the IT industry, which makes the conventional industry obsolete. Uberization is currently one of the greatest fears of managers. Uber has replaced taxi services, AirBnB is replacing hotels … If Netflix had uberized conventional TV producers and distributors, then Fortnite is fortnizing Netflix.
In the end, let me go back to the beginning of this text: a couple of nights ago ice poured over the virtual world of Fortnite, and completely changed the look of the environment in the game. On the other hand, the real world wants to be as it is or what it was: seven days ago it was reported that Tim Sweeney, owner of Epic Games (Fortnite’s publisher), is one of the largest investors in land afforestation on the planet.