By Rachel Yoka, CAPP, LEED AP BD+C

Let’s take 100 transportation, mobility, and parking professionals and drop them into a last man- (and woman-) standing online adventure. Throw in a rainbow llama or two and a big old tornado-style storm. Better yet, let’s do it for free across all gaming platforms, including your smartphone. If you aren’t following, you haven’t experienced the game Fortnite. Yet.

Yes, I am actually talking about a real something. A real something that just crossed the $1 billion mark (according to SuperData). That’s just one game in a genre called battle royale, which is expected to capture $20 billion next year. There are a number of paths to follow on this blog, one of them being how a free game nets that much money (the answer is the bewildered parent’s credit card). But that’s not the point today. I popped into a store to play the game and find out what could be so compelling. I needed quite a bit of assistance, Frogger being my latest gaming experience, but I did make a few observations before being unceremoniously killed:

  • The game evolves. Fortnite releases new seasons every so often that change the terrain, the characters (otherwise known as skins), the costumes, and the dances, and of course, the weapons. So once you feel you have the lay of the land, it completely changes and you have a whole new (video) game.
  • You upgrade. (This is the credit card part.) A new skin, with a fun dance move could cost you around $15 in VBucks. (Yes, they have their own currency).
  • Social media plays along. Some players are sponsored (like Ninja – ranked No. 1 worldwide) and make big bucks with live streaming apps like Twitch. Yes, you can get paid to play video games, bewildered parents. Twitch and other platforms have online communities that fuel the desire and dedication of the average player.
  • Community helps. You can play solo, or duos, or in squads–and of course it always helps to have friends around, and it’s lots more fun that way, IMHO.

This phenomenon came out of nowhere for a lot of folks, although the battle royals genre has been around for a bit. But Fortnite gets a few things right that are worth consideration when it comes to the concept of engagement.

People (read: employees and customers) want to learn and evolve; doing the same thing all the time gets boring. Upgrades (and cross-selling) can mean big bucks too, especially with the right social media connections. Sometimes surprises come out of nowhere. And community makes everything more fun – but as a member of IPI, you already knew that!

Rachel Yoka, CAPP, LEED AP BD+C, is IPI’s vice president of program development.