Epic Games

Fortnite video game
Epic Games

Winning with virtual battles

You may not recognize Epic Games, but you probably know its latest blockbuster video game, Fortnite—or at least know someone obsessed with it. The arcade-style game became a global craze this year thanks in part to its “battle royale” gameplay, which challenges players to be the last one standing among 100 fighting it out on a gigantic island. The opponents are real people, all hooked into the game over the Internet. Fortnite is more than just another popular game — it’s also helping Epic Games rewrite the rules of the industry. Most top-tier games cost about $60, but Fortnite is available for free on everything from the PlayStation 4 to the iPhone. Epic makes its money on in-game avatars and “season passes” that let players complete challenges to win in-game gear. While Fortnite wasn’t the first battle royale game on the market, it quickly became the most popular by far. Competitors are increasingly under pressure to duplicate Epic’s success. But the company keeps Fortnite fresh with regular updates, such as dramatic changes to the field of battle—ensuring the teen players who have powered Epics sales will plenty of new frontiers to explore. —Patrick Lucas Austin

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