Fortnite is without a doubt the biggest game on PC or console right now. Epic, the company behind the title, puts the number of monthly players at 78.3 million. Superdata, a research firm specializing in video games, estimated that Fortnite generated close to $300 million in revenue back in April, meaning it has the potential to pull in $3.5 billion annually. They have so much cash that they can afford a staggering $100 million prize fund allocated for in-game competitions. Not bad for a free-to-play game. Fortnite generates these dumbfounding mountains of cash, not through sales of the game, but through cosmetic micro-transactions, selling items and outfits for your character that mercifully have no effect on gameplay.
How the gift system will work
The new gifting system is exactly how it sounds; it will allow you to buy items from the in-game store which you can then gift to your friends, possibly opening up the game to item trading. The new system is due to be rolled out very soon, and thanks to a leak from @The1Jaren, a Fortnite enthusiast and computer wizard who managed to get the feature working on his account early, we can see how this will all play out in the game thanks to the 22 seconds of video footage released on his Twitter page.
Store items will have a gift button under them that allow you to purchase the item as a gift; you can then select from among your friends list who to send it to. Supposedly it will also allow you to add a personalized message and there is chatter about a returns system where the gifts can be returned for a refund. Exactly how this will work, however, has not yet been revealed. It may mean cash back for the original buyer, though it seems more likely that the refund would consist of the in-game currency V-bucks for the person returning the item. The limiting factor in all of this is that a player can only be gifted once every ten days. You are also able to send yourself a gift, however, this may not be returned. Most speculation indicates this is for better parental control over in-game purchases, allowing parents to gift an item in-game to their child rather than the child having free-reign with a credit card.
The cosmetic gifts will make your character look cooler without a doubt, however, they won’t make you a better player and this should be counted as a blessing. Fortnite is thoroughly avoiding the pay-to-win plague of modern gaming. Survival all depends on your skill and luck. There are many strategies to survive in Fortnite, from going solo and hiding in a bush until the end of the game, to a guns-blazing, base-building team approach. The gifting system will not affect how the game is played, it’s just another cherry on the top that will allow for more extensive customization of your character.
When will it be released?
Although no release date has been declared for the new system, it was announced all the way back in June 2018 to be “coming in the near future”. It appears to be in the final stages of testing so it shouldn’t be long before the feature is rolled out to the 78.3 million Fortnite players logging in every month. For such a small change it could potentially alter the visual landscape of Fortnite, with many more characters showing off cool new gear gained from gifts and possibly trading.
The battle-royale gaming scene is thriving right now and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere soon. Fortnite’s main competitor, another immensely popular game called PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), has released a mobile version of their game to good reviews. Even titans like Activision’s Call of Duty are cashing in on the craze with a new battle-royale mode in the soon to be released Black Ops 4. So how will this new feature play out for Fortnite and will it noticeably improve the already excellent gaming experience? We’ll have to wait until season 6 to find out.