Epic Games is one step closer to creating a metaverse ecosystem with the launch of new playable modes in the past week, including ‘Lego Fortnite.’ The survival game has already made a big impact, seeing 2.5 million concurrent players this past Saturday following its launch on December 7th.
In the game, players can team up with up to seven other users to build shelters, farm food, and battle NPC enemies like werewolves and skeletons. To put the number of concurrent players in context, the 2.5 million is higher than any game on rival Steam except for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, which peaked at 3 million concurrent players in 2018.
Lego Fornite is rated E10+, which may make it appealing to kids who are a little too young for Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode. Battle Royale is PVP and based off defeating other human opponents. Many see Lego Fortnite as a competitor to Minecraft, the popular children’s game which has a similar survival component.
In addition, the experience points that players gain in Lego Fortnite roll over to the ecosystem’s Battle Pass, which grants access to skins and other cosmetics that you can add to your character. That makes it an alternative route to leveling up, supporting other aspects of the Fortnite ecosystem.
The rollout of Lego Fortnite is the birth of a world that started with a partnership between the two companies in 2022. At the time, Epic Games said this new ‘metaverse’ would be a safe and positive place for kids of all ages, with the CEO of The Lego Group adding that digital experiences could help kids learn creativity, collaboration, and communication.
Epic Games: A New ‘Metaverse’ Ecosystem
While most of the headlines today are about Lego Fortnite, Epic Games has actually unveiled two other parts of the Fortnite ecosystem: an arcade racer called Rocket Racing and a rhythm game called Fortnite Festival. The goal seems clear: to build a metaverse with different gaming options in the Fortnite ecosystem.
Donald Mustard, the former Epic Games Chief Creative Officer, said as much on X two days ago, sharing a screenshot of a drawing from 2017 about what Fortnite could become, beyond the typical Battle Royale game:
There are now six gameplay modes in the Fortnite ecosystem, which players can toggle between, satisfying their gaming whims. As such, it appears that Fortnite has created what many have tried and mostly abandoned: an online virtual world with a collection of games that caters to millions of players every day.
Keep in mind it’s probably not the metaverse that Web3 advocates are hoping for: Items are not non-fungible tokens and cannot be taken out of the ecosystem; there is no indication that a blockchain is being used for transactions; and the world is not compatible with other worlds like Roblox. But it certainly has become one of the most popular closed virtual worlds around.
Time will tell if Fortnite continues to be successful, but its revamp this year has been nothing short of impressive. And that bodes well for metaverse enthusiasts, Web3-native or not.