What entrepreneurs can learn from the overwhelming success of Fortnite

What entrepreneurs can learn from the overwhelming success of Fortnite

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The game Fortnite is the most successful game of the last decade. Since its arrival on 25 July 2017, the game has already been downloaded by more than 40 million players worldwide. Most people think that the reason for Fortnite’s success is that the game is attractive to play and there are no costs involved. This sounds like a plausible explanation. However, the truth is much more complex.

Dr. Mirjam Baars, lecturer research at Fontys (a vocational education school), analysed the success of Fortnite, together with 120 first-year students of Business Administration Studies. They discovered that the success of Fortnite can mostly be explained by the way the developers of Epic Games, who developed Fortnite, constructed their marketing and business processes.

Marketing success

According to Baars, the marketing of Fortnite is brilliant. “Fortnite chose to offer their game for free in a time when a lot of expensive games didn’t live up to their expectations. This was welcomed not only by the players, but also by the parents of younger players, who were frustrated with the expensive and ‘soon-to-be-bored-by’ games.

Another asset of Fortnite’s marketing success is that their product has some extra features. According to Baars Fortnite is unique in the fact that players can both fight and build. “Normally, in most games, players can win by fighting. In this game, however, players can also win by building powerful fences to protect themselves. In this way, game players are challenged to develop multiple talents.”

Baars also mentions another extra feature, which explains the marketing success of Fortnite. “Fortnite also has some victory dances in it. Especially the younger players like to dance in their room, after winning a game. This dancing has a contagious effect on the parents, who tend to become more cheerful. This also explains the success of the game.”

Business processes

The overwhelming success of Fortnite can also be explained by the way Epic Games constructed their business processes. According to Baars Epic Games chose to develop their business processes in a non-traditional way. “In the traditional game industry, business processes are aligned in a linear way. The creative staff develops an idea and after that, the production staff translates the idea into a real-life game. In the end, the sales staff takes care of marketing. At Epic Games, they chose to work in project groups in which creative, production and sales staff members worked closely together. In this way, the production time of the game was less time-consuming. This resulted in a very short ‘time-to-market period’ which was very beneficial to Fortnite’s success.”

Entrepreneurial success

According to Baars, entrepreneurs can learn three important lessons from Fortnites’ success. “First, it is important that you clearly distinguish yourself from your competitors. Second, you have to build a product which strongly exceeds the expectations of your customers. Thirdly, it is important to innovate your business processes in a profound way, so you can arrange a very short ‘time-to-market period’ and conquer your competitors. If you are able to apply these three lessons in your company, then you can start to dance your own victory game!”

Guest post by Dr. Mirjam Baars, lecturer research at Fontys. 

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