Epic Games CEO, Tim Sweeney, has highlighted his fondness for brand partnerships within Fortnite over traditional billboard advertisements. Speaking to Digiday, Sweeney made it clear that he wished to see brands enter the world of Fortnite in a more collaborative way, making themselves present as opposed to simply inserting ads. Sweeney pointed out that “playing an ad is just annoying. Players hate it and aren’t very engaged with that content.” Instead of ads, Sweeney proposes “give them a drivable Ferrari or a cool shirt they can wear, and they love it.”
Brand Collaborations Within Fortnite
Fortnite’s high-profile collaborations with music acts, anime, movies, and other video games have been well-received by gamers, making it clearer why Sweeney believes traditional advertising does not cut it. While previous collaborations have not always come across as advertising, there is distinct branding throughout the game. For example, players can purchase Fortnite skins that include clothing items from brands like Nike or Adidas. In addition, Sweeney’s caution with in-game monetization means direct virtual commerce, to Epic Games, would only be an option if it would be something the players could be interested in – at this stage, it’s not the plan.
In-Game Monetization, The Future
Epic Games’ Executive Vice President, Saxs Persson, has indicated that the decision to implement direct virtual commerce would be based on what it is they are selling. Similarly, Sweeney has echoed this sentiment, stating that “if you’re selling a ticket to an awesome experience, then that’s the whole model of the game business.” However, when it comes to gameplay advantages or loot boxes, Sweeney said Epic Games is not interested in implementing them in Fortnite.
Eradicating the “Race to the Bottom”
Sweeney has publically voiced concerns over the “race to the bottom” concept when it comes to mobile gaming. The primary issue in this ecosystem is that the ‘worst’ companies (in terms of consumer practices) are those that generate the most money. These companies can bid the highest amount of advertising, meaning that the top advertising-based games are often the least engaging. Sweeney believes that this system is flawed and is taking Fortnite on an alternative path to avoid it entirely.
The Future Of Advertisement Within Fortnite
Although Fortnite has previously included in-game advertisement billboards, it seems that the future of advertising within the game may be a move toward product placement. Epic Games may have already identified this shift by offering players branded clothing pieces as Fortnite skins. With the level of gamer engagement and the frequency of gameplay, it’s conceivable that players are very willing to participate in advertising in-game, just not in the form of billboards or loot boxes.
Sweeney’s Stance On Loot Boxes Favored
When it comes to online gambling or loot boxes, Sweeney’s stance is transparent. He likened loot boxes to gambling and criticized their inclusion in games. Furthermore, he stated that their inclusion goes further than just price points or chances to unlock a desirable avatar or weapon. Instead, for Sweeney, it goes right to the heart of how children and young adults approach gaming.
- Sweeney has publically spoken out against loot boxes.
- He slammed their inclusion in games, stating that they are akin to gambling.
- Sweeney took issue with how children and young adults approach gaming.
- Gamers, especially younger ones, are susceptible to the strong pull of gambling in all its iterations.
- Opting not to include loot boxes in Fortnite seems to be a strategic move aimed at making the space more child-friendly and reinforcing the game’s reputation.
Sweeney firmly believes that Fortnite is an opportunity to build a virtual ‘world’ that is free of the practices seen in mobile gaming. His stance on loot boxes is unwavering, advocating that the gaming industry should be going in a different direction. In conclusion, Sweeney’s preference for brand collaborations over billboard advertisements is apt when it comes to the Fortnite platform as it solely centers around user engagement rate.