Ben Kuchera: ‘Why Are Fortnite Players So Frickin’ Nice?’

Ben Kuchera, writing for Polygon:

Before I continue, I know that there are shitty players out there, and I’ve stumbled across more than a few. But the tone of Fortnite has, in my experience, been much more positive than negative. It’s an issue I’ve discussed with my colleagues at length, but that niceness is something I’ve been hesitant to write about because it’s so squishy and strange. It feels almost unbelievable.

The average player I hear from in Fortnite is younger than I am — by decades in many cases — and they’re incredibly well-behaved online. If someone says they’re unfamiliar with the game, a dedicated player will explain the rules. People cheer each other’s victories and offer pep talks when someone gets angry. Players will jump into group chat to apologize for not having microphones, and everyone seems to be playing to have a good time.

I’m not a gamer, but my son is, and he and his friends love Fortnite, and I enjoy watching him play. It is a shooter, yes, but there’s something about the tone of it — the characters, the physics, the architecture — that just feels playful. Just look at the characters in the image accompanying Kuchera’s piece — they look like action figure toys.

It’s the most interesting game I’ve watched my son play in a long while. Even the business model is interesting: it’s a AAA game with high production values but is free-to-play. They make money only through in-game purchases.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018