Nate Nanzer: “Fortnite ‘has become a social entertainment platform” | Technology

It is difficult to understand the success of the video game company Epic Games without Fornite, its star title, which since its launch in July 2017 has become the most popular game in the world with more than 350 million fans. Created in 1991 under the name Potomac Computer Systems by its CEO Tim Sweeney today, it took more than a quarter of a century to achieve its greatest success. But during this three-decade journey, Epic Games built a game engine used by countless developers – Unreal Engine -, managed to sell almost half of the organization to Chinese digital giant Tencent in 2012 for $ 330 million and has created acclaimed titles, What Gears of war and Rocket league.

One of the strong men of Epic Games is its head of global agreements, Nate Nanzer (San Diego, USA; 40 years old). In his office, he has negotiated the performance of song stars such as Travis Scott or J. Balvin within the video game, or has decided that users can disguise the characters they control as Batman or with the kits of their favorite American football teams. the videogame. In those disguises, called skins, for which each player pays an amount of money, which can range between five and 80 euros, a good part of the company’s income resides. “We work with companies to bring all kinds of characters and costumes, as we have achieved years ago with the comic publishers DC Comics and Marvel. In fact, for this new season, which started on Tuesday, we have launched the skin of Neymar ”, he assures.

Good part of the universe Fortnite it has been forged by personalizing content. Nobody denies that the essence of the title, trying to be the last player standing in a virtual cartoon world, revolutionized the known formats; but his collaboration and openness to other sectors of entertainment has catapulted him to stardom. The success is undeniable: the game had a turnover of more than 1,500 million euros in 2019, according to the latest data provided by Epic Games.

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For Nanzer, the video game has become a “social entertainment platform.” As he explains, players are looking for unique experiences to share with their friends. The same want to have fun shooting and building, the genesis of Fortnite, than talking to each other or watching a concert. “All these experiences have to be socially connected. It is not only about evolving in the game’s own formats, but also in how we interact with and through it. This has become very clear with the pandemic, where social interaction has been reduced to nothing, “he says.

This speech represents the germ of new functions such as House Party, which allows friends to make video calls to see each other while they play, and Party Royale, a map full of options and activities to compete without the need to shoot and eliminate the rest of the users. They even dared last month to organize a festival of animated short films. They played a dozen tapes over 24 hours. The only requirement to access was to open the video game. “It is crucial that we offer diverse experiences to our community. Fortnite it has a very important role in society, it helps it stay connected, ”says Nanzer.

A world of gamers

According to the consulting firm Newzoo, video games had a turnover of more than 135,000 million euros last year. Yes Fortnite He was already in good health, with the current health crisis his position of dominance has increased even more if possible. “We are talking about a massive business. If you combine mobile games, computers and consoles, the world is gamer. Video games are transversal in society. Just look at platforms like YouTube and Twitch, where diversity is brutal in terms of genders and ages, ”Nanzer reasons.

On the open war between Epic Games against Apple and Google, companies that it sued in the courts of the US, the EU and Australia for monopolistic practices, in its digital stores, Nanzer opts to take refuge under the official discourse. He prefers not to comment because, as he suggests, his position has nothing to do with these legal battles, which only led to Fortnite will no longer be available on Apple devices.

Resuming its functions and away from possible controversies, although it does not advance any new collaboration, it opens the door to any sector that wants to get closer to video games. He clarifies that this is not about paying for advertising – “that’s not how we work”, ditch – but about maintaining the authenticity and meaning of the title while new formats emerge. This is how the concerts of J. Balvin and Travis Scott, self-confessed players of Fortnite. “We spent a lot of time looking at the best way to represent the brand within the game. That yes, always from the collaboration, preserving a value for our users ”, affirms.

The success achieved in the last four years by Epic Games has no signs of disappearing overnight. If a word dominates its general quarters, it would be evolution. Nanzer understands that development must be constant. That the changes have to happen with the intention of offering surprising experiences to the players. Maybe they can go overboard, but they have already demonstrated their ability to turn a video game into a social network. “We have many plans for the next few years. I am not afraid of what the life cycle of Fortnite. We neither look at it nor take breaks ”, he concludes.

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