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Fortnite delivers biggest day in history amid layoffs at Epic Games

The launch of a new "Fortnite OG" event attracted over 44.7 million players on November 4.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

November 6, 2023

2 Min Read
Key artwork for Fortnite OG
Image via Epic Games

Epic's decision to bring back the original Fortnite island to kick off a new "Fortnite OG" event has delivered a record-breaking surge in players.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, the studio said November 4, 2023, was the "biggest day in Fortnite's history with over 44.7 million players jumping in and 102 million hours of play."

Fortnite OG launched on November 3 and allows players to duke it out on the very first Fortnite map that debuted back in 2018. The event will continue to take players on a trip down memory lane, with each major update spotlighting a different phase of the battle royale shooter's past.

Within 24 hours of launching, Fortnite OG attracted 3.9 million concurrent users. That's a record high for 2023, according to unofficial tracking website Fortnite.gg, although it doesn't come close to matching the 12.3 million concurrent player record that was set in 2020 when Travis Scott hosted a virtual concert in the shooter as part of his "Astronomical" tour.

Fortnite breaks record as Epic cuts jobs

Fortnite's record-breaking weekend arrived just over a month after Epic chose to lay off around 900 staff, representing around 16 percent of the company's workforce.

As reported by Bloomberg, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney explained the cuts would allow the company to "power through" a transitional period and continue evolving Fortnite into a "metaverse-inspired ecosystem for creators."

"[Fortnite's] growth is driven primarily by creator content with significant revenue sharing, and this is a lower margin business than we had when Fortnite Battle Royale took off and began funding our expansion," explained Sweeney in an internal email. "Success with the creator ecosystem is a great achievement, but it means a major structural change to our economics."

Epic has spent years expanding Fortnite beyond its popular battle royale mode (which was originally a riff on the original co-op game Fortnite: Save the World) with a view to creating something akin to a "metaverse," but the studio has now struck gold by offering players a nostalgic sojourn back to simpler times.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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