This past weekend Fortnite hosted a concert. It was not the boring snooze fest of the Super Bowl, or even the Half-Time show. No, this weekend Marshmello played a live concert in Fortnite, if you were there then you saw something spectacular which had been attempted many times before and failed. This time, the ideas were right, the impact was strong, and everyone loved it. Now, let’s go back a few years to see where these ideas began. The death of Lord British is the best place to start.
On August 9th 1997, Ultima Online was an online world with thousands of players. It was the precursor to every online game to come. In one of the first live events during its Beta test, Lord British the creator of Ultima and Ultima Online appeared live in the game. Because of huge lag and crash issues, Richard Garriott decided to enter the game without a “god” mode on due to these issues. Sure enough, the players rallied around for the spectacle and quick destroyed Lord British.
There are still memes, stories, and fables that follow this day. Think what you want about hardcore MMOs, battle royales, or survival games. Nothing was more hardcore than Ultima Online in its day. The game had huge PvP battles along with exploration and questing throughout the world. If you died, you lost your stuff, and had to ghost to a healer to try and get someone safe.
This original live event ideas ended in how they always would, doom followed by great joy among the players who were actually there. Sadly, I was not in the Ultima beta, so missed out on this occasion. However, it was talked about for decades now.
The Gates of Ahn'Qiraj
World of Warcraft remains MMO royalty. It is the one game everyone refers too when speaking about MMOs. However, in 2006, the game was not the huge theme park everyone remembers. In 2006 WoW creators opened a new raid down the deserts of the game world. The raid featured huge beetle like foes through a maze of rocks. This was about a year before The Burning Crusade even launched (which was considered WoW’s highest population ever).
So flooding all your players into one zone near a choke point to open up a massive gate, did not bode well for the game. Plagued by crashes and slowed combat times the event took days to pull off. Not only that, it took weeks for servers to plan and gather resources together.
Some say the Gates event was epic, it was great to finally enter the raid dungeon and begin the battle against bosses. However, the opening of the gates was a bit of a mess. I remember walking away from my PC about three hours in because lag was so bad. Moving all your players into one spot, not the best move, but a valuable lesson. People speak on both sides of this event, parts of it were fun, but overall it showed you still could not pull huge numbers off.
Marshmello and Fortnite
Here we are in 2019. Decades later from the Ultima beginnings and Warcraft’s desert battle. Now we are in a world with high speed capabilities at every turn. If your home PC is not fast well, something is wrong. Also, online games are on your TV for console play as well.
Who could have imagined such a future? Well, in Fortnite, the biggest game on the planet, we got a live concert from the famous DJ Marshmello. If I am old enough to remember the other two events on this list, then how am I a Marshmello fan? Last year at E3 I watched Marshmello play during the Fortnite party. He was pretty amazing even though it’s not my taste in music. So, my kids tuned in for his concert when he took to the stage in Fortnite.
The very brief, (10 minutes) concert was great fun. Guns and bombs disappeared from the game and players were bounced around a concert area and flew as different songs played. With lights and giant dancing bears it was great fun to watch.
Then quickly it was over and gaming went back to normal as players fell from the sky to do battle again. So what did EPIC get right? Well, the simplicity of it. Having combat disappear form the game made sense. Some players did get bounced a few minutes before the show, I guess we will never get away from crashes. However, there was a quick recovery and fans enjoyed a great event that did not cut into their gaming time. Overall it was a huge success.
Live events will become more popular in the future now that Fortnite has shown they can pull it off. Gratz to Marshmello for being one of the first artists to do this, you made a fan who is much older than he should be. In the end everyone wins with an event like this. The question is, what game will try to copy this formula now?