The Fortnite Concert Was Terrifying And Amazing
I’ll always remember my first concert. An unreliable indie band at an ice rink in the north east of England. It was winter. We ate subpar soup at a supermarket café and then queued for hours in the cold. It was amazing. On Saturday, it's conceivable that a big proprtion of the 10 million people who caught DJ Marshmello's virtual gig on Fortnite were experiencing their first gig, too - as a precursor to their usual cartoonish warfare.
It was crazy. And kind of cool. But mostly crazy.
Released in 2017, Fortnite was designed by Darren Sugg and Epic Games and quickly moved towards world domination - it’s already amassed more than 125 million players who bash the heck out of each other in a three-mode virtual world. The reason most people create an avatar resembling a cross between a stage version of Mad Max and the futuristic villains in Weird Science however is, as yet, unconfirmed.
What is clear is that the 10-minute set by EDM producer Christopher Comstock (aka DJ Marshmello) was ground-breaking. Not by being the first of its kind, because it wasn’t. Not even because it was genuinely impressive to watch – a stage that had been teased for a week saw Marshmello’s avatar behind his trademark decks along with giant holograms of other Fortnite characters. But this represented something bigger. A glimpse into a future where we move from being mere spectators into active participants – albeit in a virtual world.
Context could be found the following day during the half-time show of Super Bowl LIII. The most anticipated performance of the year saw 100 million people watch Maroon 5 and Travis Scott. Compare this to the 10 million who experienced the virtual concert at Fornite’s Pleasant Park and you see where the lines become blurred… the fusion of digital and physical worlds creating something kind of extraordinary.
No matter that the avatars involved had clearly blown their V Bucks on some ridiculous outfits, this was a red letter day for the online game. Weapons had been disabled and you were even able to respawn if you were cruelly taken out while doing your thing in the mosh pit – only fair.
For a blissful 10 minutes, peace reigned in the world of Fortnite. Then DJ Marshmello finished his set and a bloody battle ensued.
Finally, a concert memory we can relate to.