- "Fortnite" saw a record turnout of 12.3 million attendees to its virtual concert starring rapper Travis Scott. The attendance surpassed the prior record of 10.7 million for a virtual show featuring DJ and music producer Marshmello last year, Variety reported.
- Scott's 15-minute performance hit a record for its premiere at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday. "Fortnite" followed Scott's "Astronomical" concert with a repeat on Friday and three more on Saturday for fans in other time zones, per Variety.
- Epic Games, the publisher of "Fortnite," added Scott to its Icon Series that lets players buy virtual outfits, gear and other accessories to decorate their avatars in the battle royale game. Attendees of the "Astronomical" events also received access to the Astroworld Cyclone Glider and two loading screens, Variety reported.
The record attendance for Scott's virtual concert in "Fortnite" is another sign of how people are seeking ways to entertain themselves while stuck indoors during the coronavirus pandemic. It's not clear which companies sponsored the "Astronomical" shows, although Rolling Stone reported that the loading screen for the live event showed several advertisements, including offers for in-game gear that players could purchase. A significant source of revenue for Epic Games is from the sale of "V-Bucks," a virtual currency that can be used for in-game purchases.
The concert comes about 14 months after Marshmello set a "Fortnite" record with a virtual concert, which may indicate that live events have a limited role in promoting the game and boosting engagement among an audience that's typically difficult to reach through other media. "Fortnite" is played by 40% of children ages 10 through 17 every week — the highest percentage of any game title, according to a study by National Research Group. "Fortnite" has 250 million players worldwide, and teenage fans spend about 25% of their free time playing the game, the study found.
The popularity of "Fortnite" among that demographic group has led sponsors to find ways to integrate their brands with the game. Mobile video startup Quibi this month premiered one of its shows in the game's virtual drive-in section called "Risky Reels," the same place that Disney showcased exclusive footage from "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" as part of its promotion for the hit movie.
Fast-food chain Wendy's last year created an avatar resembling its pigtailed mascot playing "Fortnite" while livestreaming on Twitch. Nike's Jordan Brand teamed with the game on a product integration that showed new characters wearing signature sneakers from the athletic apparel brand. Players could pay to decorate their avatars with the virtual shoes, which included limited-edition skins wearing Air Force 1s in different colorways. These integrations allow brands to reach young consumers, who are difficult to reach through traditional marketing.