- "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker," the final chapter in the science fiction saga, this week will debut exclusive footage in "Fortnite," the hit battle royale video game made by Epic Games, per a blog post.
- Gamers can see the preview in the "Risky Reels" section of the digital map in "Fortnite" at 2 p.m. EST on Dec. 14, six days before Disney releases the movie in North America.
- "Fortnite" will open its virtual doors to the map at 1:30 p.m., giving gamers time to prepare for the premiere of the footage revealed by movie director J.J. Abrams, the blog post said.
By offering an exclusive preview of the latest "Star Wars" installment in "Fortnite," Disney aims to reach an audience of teenagers and young adults who likely land in the movie's core target demographic. Those age groups are notoriously difficult to target through other advertising on traditional media channels, but "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 "Star Wars" trailer is another sign that Epic Games is expanding "Fortnite" beyond gameplay to include live events that appeal to its massive audience. Earlier this year, the game livestreamed a concert starring Marshmello, a masked DJ whose avatar appeared in a virtual stadium crowded with "Fortnite" gamers. The show wasn't the first virtual concert ever hosted, as noted by the BBC, but the attendance of 10.7 million marked the biggest event in "Fortnite" history. Disney may surpass that total with the "Star Wars" trailer, which will appear mid-day on a Saturday, when teens are most likely to have free time for gaming and entertainment.
With the premiere of the "Star Wars" trailer, Disney continues to bring the blockbuster franchise to "Fortnite." Last month, the company made a Stormtrooper skin — a downloadable character variant that users can pay for — available as a bonus for consumers who purchased "Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order" for PC from the Epic Games Store, the digital video game storefront that the "Fortnite" developer operates.
But Disney is just one among many marketers harnessing the promotional power of "Fortnite." Fast-food chain Wendy's created an avatar resembling its pigtailed mascot that has played "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.