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The person who grew Fortnight away from Silicon Valley’s “

Billionaire Tim Sweeney founded the company that developed Fortnight, the game that changed the global video industry Sweeney Sold from Jacket and tie, stresses that Fortnight was the one who developed Fortnite’s employees, and managed to reconcile Sony and Microsoft. “I like to get off the track and find things that I think no one “Still,” he said, “he was a great guy,” said Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic Games, a few successful video games, and he started earning a lot of money. “Ferrari and Lamborghini were in the driveway. People who did not know me were sure I was a drug dealer, “says Sweeney.

Now 48-year-old Sweeney’s fortune is over $ 7 billion, according to Bloomberg’s billionaire index. The value of Afik James is estimated at $ 15 billion, and its shareholders include Walt Disney and Tencent Holdings. Fortnight, the company’s video game, has become a huge hit, has accumulated 250 million players and generated revenues of $ 3.9 billion. However, Sweeney continues to be an unknown figure. “I’m single, I have no children, I had a fairly simple life,” Sweeney said. In his free time he is a programmer or a walker. “I like to deviate from the path and discover things that I think no one has seen yet,” he said. Sweeney had long ago retired from his love for luxury cars, and the office was wearing a T-shirt and dungarees, and he was now investing his money in nature conservation programs, where he spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the preservation of 10,000 hectares of forestland across North Carolina. His favorite is Bujangels fried chicken, which he says “has the perfect balance between delicious food and commitment to schedule.”

The largest video game companies in the US are based in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, but Afik James is based in Carrie, North Carolina, where Sweeney explained that this position protects society from drifting into Silicon Valley’s “herd mind.”

There is one thing Sweeny is not willing to compromise on; it was not he who created Fortnight but his employees. He did not design or program the game. However, under Sweeney’s leadership, this huge hit changed the world’s $ 130 billion video game industry. Before Fortnight, the video game industry dominated profitable games like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto, and people played mostly on PlayStation consoles Sony, a Microsoft Xbox, or a computer – for $ 60 a game. It was possible to play alone, and also with a friend or two who had the same hardware. Game makers periodically released new versions – like Hollywood sequels – to draw back the loyal Hasidim.

Afik James tried something else: it released Fortnight for free, and it was installed on any device where video games could be played: consoles, computers, smartphones and tablets. She has created her own version of the new genre of Battle Royale (Battle Royale) – where people struggle with each other in a large group of actors until only one person or team remains. The company continued to create changes in the virtual world of the game to provide players with new discoveries. She also took the popular shooting format and made it less violent and more cheerful – with colorful characters competing with each other in dance – not just with weapons.

However, there is still a problem: A player using the most popular game console – the Sony PlayStation 4 – could not play with another player using the Microsoft Xbox console.

So for six months last year, Sweeney talked on the phone and e-mail with the executives of the two technology giants, asking them to take the unprecedented and unbelievable step of allowing their systems to work together.

“Effort in international diplomacy,” Sweeny described the negotiations. “Given the protracted rivalry between the two companies, it was a series of disputes.” Meanwhile, Sweeney was busy installing Nintendo’s portnet, which is used both as a mobile gaming device and as a home console. Sweeny made an effort for Switch to allow what is known as Cross-Play – a cross-platform game with players using rival manufacturers’ consoles.

Sweeney had achieved only part of his ambition. Nintendo and Microsoft agreed to a deal in June 2018, but Sony declined. Sweeny then shared data with Sony, proving that cross-play between personal computers and mobile phones, for example, dramatically increased the players’ involvement in Fortnight. Sweeney also used Twitter to excite the fans – who longed for this feature for a long time. Last fall, Sonny retracted her refusal. “It was one of the greatest moments in the history of Afik, I was satisfied and exhausted,” Sweeney said.

By eliminating the barriers between players with different devices, the company has effectively turned Fortnight into a massive social network. Groups of friends who communicate by ear talk to each other and exchange jokes and gossip while struggling for their survival.

“For a lot of people it’s not just a game, it’s also a social gathering place,” Sweeney said in a recent telephone conversation, with the birdsong chirping behind his office and strolling on the phone.

The latest move by Afik James – the deal announced last week for the purchase of the Israeli houseparty video app – Houseparty – unites two places where teenagers run social life on the Internet. Houseparty allows small groups of friends to have a “salon talk” video call.

People who worked with Sweeney describe him as very intelligent and young-style. Lee Perry, a former video game designer at Afik James, recalled seeing Sweeny hopping around in a small office trampoline and swinging a rollerblade in the company parking lot. “He’s just a big boy,” Perry said. Sweeney works from a desk in the office of six people, along with some of the company’s management. “There are several similar offices of ‘brain crews’ at AfikGames, where I visit a lot,” Sweeney said. “In our view, such small offices create the best balance between individual work and group collaboration, as opposed to individual offices or open office space with lots of work stations.”

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Current and former colleagues say Sweeney has avoided official formalities. Chris Gerhardt, vice president of information for AfikGames in 2015-2014, said that before getting to the job interview he received an important tip from a friend who had worked for the company: “Whatever you do, just do not wear a jacket and tie.”

“Lawn Mowers to Build a Bus for $ 4,000”

Afik James is the only real job Sweeney has ever had, growing up in Potomac, Maryland, with two older brothers, and his father was a cartographer at the US Military Mapping Agency and is now retired. His mother, who died in 2007, was a gardening housewife.

When Sweeney was 11, one of his brothers bought him an Apple II Plus computer from Apple, and Sweeny started programming. “From that moment I knew what I wanted to do,” he says. “I think I spent more hours in programming than in sleep, school, or doing anything else in the world.”

Sweeney founded Afik James in 1991, when he was 20, in the basement of his parents’ home – with $ 4,000 saved. He then dropped out of the University of Maryland, missing only a few more grades to complete a degree in mechanical engineering. “I moved from lawn mowers to the position of CEO of Afik,” said Sweeney, who received his ID in 2018.

In the early years, the company had some success with a few games – including Unreal Tournament and Gears of War – which had a more traditional format, with a shootout format. Fortnight was born in 2011 in one of the occasional “improvisation meetings” in which developers experimented with different ideas. The game, subtitled “Save the World,” cost $ 40 and was not particularly fascinating because the players did not compete directly with each other. No one expected the game to become a hit. Fortnight sold only about 1 million units after its launch in July 2017 – a failure compared to today’s crazy hits.

A series of subsequent decisions Sweeney and his team turned Fortnight into one of the most popular video games ever. The company created a second version of the game and marketed it for free. Many free games generate revenue by charging for upgraded weapons and superhero capabilities, but the company has decided not to charge for extras that allow players to win each other. Instead, she sold “cosmetic” supplements like dances, which were often sold for a short period of time.

Fortnight is a game where you have to kill so they will not kill you. However, the bloodless and comic-like style of the game (a player can play a role as a banana character) has been well received by parents who censor their children’s games and are fed up with the terrible violence of many of today’s video games. This is not necessarily a design decision, but a product of the natural development of Afik James.

Fortnight’s dominance is fading

The daily replenishment of the Afik James virtual store, and the weekly content updates, give Fortnite another advantage. The game is able to quickly incorporate feedback from the players, and to exploit sudden follies in popular culture – like the hip-hop dance “The Floss”. “Every week we learn what works and what does not, and we constantly develop the game,” Sweeney said.

All this fuels Fortnight’s fever – the attraction of the game among children has turned on red lights, especially among people who believe video games are addictive. Among children, began to label negative children who did not play in Fortnight – and even those who did not excel at Fortnight. A child who continues to use the standard “Avatar” in which everyone starts may get derogatory names from the other children at school.

Sweeney said the company aims to make Fortnight a game accessible to everyone. He rejects Fortnight’s tagging as an addictive game: “It’s unfortunate that you define great pleasure as something more malicious,” “You can say the same thing about playing football or watching soccer.” Sweeney said.

The dominant position of the game is fading today. The monthly revenue from the sale of virtual add-ons, such as costumes and dances to players’ avatars, fell 56 percent from a record $ 372 million recorded in December, according to data from Nielsen Research. The Company does not disclose its financial data.

In May, people spent 106 million hours watching live broadcasts of other people’s Fortune games on Amazon’s Twitch, according to Newzoo BV. Down from 149 million in July.

Competitors are working fast to imitate Fortnight, and Afik is already thinking beyond the core experience of a shootout. In February, 10.7 million players lined up for the live appearance of the electronic musician Marshmallow in the Fortnight Universe. The entrance with guns was forbidden. Afik added to Fortnight a “creative” situation that allowed players to act without the threat of hostile rifle fire from other players.

The company’s latest move is setting up an online store launched in December to sell computer guns. This makes it a competitor of Steam, a huge influential gaming community owned by Valve Corp. Afik plans to add games to Android devices during the current year or next year. “I think what I’m most proud of is that I did not create Fortnight, but because I created and nurtured the company that built Fortnight,” Sweeney said.

Fortnight started in 2011 as a zombie survival game that allows you to play as a single player or co-op in a common game. After six years of developing and trying to go in several directions, Epic Games, the creator of the game, recognized the success of the popular game Unknown Unknown Battleground, also known as PUBG, a game that began to sweep gamers and decided to try its luck with a similar genre game called Battle Royal .
The successful genre that has been gaining momentum in recent years is the game mode of up to 100 players who land on a deserted island with weapons and ammunition scattered over it. The players must quickly acquire everything they can and kill their opponents before they are killed by others themselves. To achieve while the safe areas for living on the map are reduced by a dangerous storm that envelops them and creates an internal circle that becomes smaller and smaller and requires the players to move and reduce their location to the safe zone. This reality forces the players to encounter each other more and more frequently, The game. Kind of “hunger games” for the masses if you will.

Indeed, after two months of intensive work, Fortnight’s Battle Royal was born and it became a huge success in a very short period of time. Why did that happen? Fortnight: the full guide to the confused adult
If you have children with a computer or a game console, you probably heard the name “Fortnight” and you probably have no idea what it is or how it has captured more than 20 million users. If so, the next guide is just for you
Eviatar Cohenforsem
Fortnight started in 2011 as a zombie survival game that allows you to play as a single player or co-op in a common game. After six years of developing and trying to go in several directions, Epic Games, the creator of the game, recognized the success of the popular game Unknown Unknown Battleground, also known as PUBG, a game that began to sweep gamers and decided to try its luck with a similar genre game called Battle Royal .

Fortnight: The Complete Guide (voice and editing: Evyatar Cohen)
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The successful genre that has been gaining momentum in recent years is the game mode of up to 100 players who land on a deserted island with weapons and ammunition scattered over it. The players must quickly acquire everything they can and kill their opponents before they are killed by others themselves. While the safe areas of the map are reduced by a dangerous storm that envelops them and creates an internal circle that becomes smaller and smaller and requires the players to move and reduce their position to the safe zone.

Some of the weapons are realistic, such as M-16, and some of them are fictional, such as “grenade boogie” – a grenade that makes dancing for about five seconds to anyone in the radius of the explosion, leaving the player exposed without the possibility to defend himself. The game also has sophisticated traps that can be built in the hope that another player will encounter them. Here, incidentally, the big difference between Fortnight and the rest is the ability to build.
 

This reality forces the players to encounter each other more and more frequently and the last one that survives, wins the game. Kind of “hunger games” for the masses if you will.

Indeed, after two months of intensive work, Fortnight’s Battle Royal was born and it became a huge success in a very short period of time. Why did it happen?

 Unlike the PUBG, where we fall empty-handed and are supposed to equip ourselves with weapons, Fortnight’s players always start the game with a pickaxe, which can be used as a weapon, but it is not practical against guns. The role of the pickaxe is to collect raw materials. On Fortnight’s map, almost everything can be demolished, from trees and walls to cars and electricity poles. The raw materials are divided into three types: wood, brick and metal. Wood is the weakest raw material, but it is built the fastest and most durable metal, but it is built more slowly.

Well, one reason may be that the game can be downloaded for free on all the different game platforms, including a computer, but the main reason is probably the way Fortnight manages to differentiate itself from other Battle Royal games.

While PUBG, Fortnite’s main competitor is a more realistic game, with human characters, daily clothing that affects the game like helmets or bulletproof vests and weapons that exist in the real world, Fortnite is presented as a more arctic comedian, with varied and funny costumes like asteroids, dinosaurs, ninjas and more. . Casual costumes have no effect on the game and are only cosmetic.

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