Representation: Why is Fortnite….?
On July 21st, 2017, Epic Games released a game where players can collaborate or play on their own to survive in a Hunger Games-type environment, the game took its stride in September of 2017 as it reached XBOX, Playstation, and Mac. Fortnite is now arguably considered one of the most popular games of all time, the game gained its peak of popularity in 2018 as it had nearly 80 million users per day. Although the popularity of Fortnite has decreased in more recent years, it still has around 4 million players a day. The reason why I chose to use “Fortnite” in my search engine was due to the hopes of gaining knowledge of why video games (Fortnite in Particular) tend to “fall off”.
The three search engines I decided to use were Google, Bing, and Yahoo with the question “Why is Fortnite”, although the results were constant throughout the three search engines, they weren’t the results I had presumed. The most frequent results for the question Why is Fortnite were so laggy, not working, called Fortnite, and lastly so popular. The reasons for the results when asking a search engine a question can be categorized in the representation of the Circuit of Culture. Although one of the most popular video games ever made, Fortnite’s representation is motivated by its often laggy servers which is one of the most annoying things about playing this game, lag makes it almost impossible to play and have fun with your friends. Another thing that is frustrating and was frustrating when I used to play was the random logouts. Oftentimes when I used to play Fortnite with my friends I would randomly get logged out, this was frustrating at the time and I assume is still very frustrating for players as it is a long process to log back in. Fortnite also has the reputation of having the majority of its players being kids, despite being a very fun game, people might not want to be playing a game that is a so-called “kid game”. The results are based on people’s experience with the game, they could be a direct correlation for the fall-off in the popularity of the game in more recent years.
As previously stated, one of the more common results was “why Fortnite is called Fortnite?” While the previous results such as laggy and not working emerge from in-game experience and often frustration, why is Fortnite called Fortnite sparked from curiosity. Similarly, why Fortnite is so popular could also derive from curiosity. When deciding whether to download a game people typically tend to look into it, they look at the positives and the negatives of the game and decide from there. Although I understand from experience that Fortnite is an awesome game where you can log on with your friends and spend hours, what feels like minutes playing. I wanted to look into the result “why Fortnite is so popular?” and see if these reasons people enjoy playing are similar to the reasons why I enjoy it. The results were pretty similar around the different articles, the main reason Fortnite has gained popularity is due to it being a free download, its cross-platform play, and an easy game to understand.
In Safiya Umoja Noble’s, Algorithms of Oppression, she talks about how search engines try to attract the people using them. She states “At the very least, we must ask when we find these kinds of results, Is this the best information? For whom? We must ask ourselves who the intended audience is for a variety of things we find, and question the legitimacy of being in a ‘filter bubble,’” When researching it is important to diversify your search engines and take into account the audience the questions are intended for.
Seeing the results derived from the question “Why is Fortnite” really surprised me and helped me to realize the reason for the decline in the number of players. When researching Fortnite and the first things that appear are “why is it so laggy” and “why is it not working” there’s no wonder the game is on the decline. What began and picked up steam fast as it became one of the best video games of all time still obviously has a lot of work to do, the game constantly makes updates and tries to fix its problems, but lag and logouts have been a recurring theme since its start and needs to be fixed if Fortnite wants to get up to the popularity it had in August of 2018.
Noble, Safiya Umoja. “Searching for People and Communities.” In Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism, 110–18. NYU Press, 2018. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctt1pwt9w5.7.