In the ever-evolving landscape of the gaming industry, one concept stands out as a catalyst for innovation and limitless creativity – user-generated content (UGC). It has redefined how players interact with virtual worlds, granting them unprecedented control over their gaming experiences.
As UGC becomes increasingly popular in the gaming space, platforms such as Roblox and Minecraft have been leading the way. However, Epic Games‘ Fortnite, one of the most popular games in the world, is dedicated to becoming a major player in the UGC space.
To gain deeper insights into the transformative potential of UGC in Fortnite, we spoke to Matt Zanazzo, head of Fortnite at Gamefam, a video game company that aims to develop for the metaverse. Zanazzo gave us an interesting look at how Fortnite could rival Roblox as a leading UGC platform as well as the challenges and potential in the nascent metaverse space.
In terms of UGC in gaming, what unique features or advantages does Fortnite possess that could enable it to rival Roblox as a UGC-driven gaming platform?
Matt Zanazzo: First off, I want to acknowledge that the UGC gaming world is continuing to grow at a rapid speed and while both Roblox and Fortnite are currently on top, many platforms can and will find success in the space. That being said, each top platform is different and attracts a fairly unique audience.
With high-fidelity graphics and a more mature audience, Fortnite offers unique advantages for content creators to develop modernised games with stunning visuals, compared to Roblox. As Unreal Editor for Fortnite (UEFN) evolves, we anticipate the potential to create full-fledged AAA games, elevating our UGC offerings. And while Fortnite is currently more console-oriented, breaking further into mobile is a huge opportunity for the platform.
As we harness the potential of expert developers, high-fidelity graphics and advanced technologies, the boundaries between traditional gaming experiences and the metaverse will blur, offering unprecedented opportunities for games to engage audiences via immersive, interactive worlds.
The boundaries between traditional gaming experiences and the metaverse will blur, offering unprecedented opportunities for games to engage audiencesMatt Zanazzo
One of Roblox’s strengths is its robust social features and community-driven nature. How can Fortnite enhance its social elements and create a vibrant community of players?
Fortnite recognises the importance of fostering a vibrant community – not many do it better – and the platform is actively enhancing its social elements. Our maps from Discovery now serve as new hangout spots, fostering interactions among players and content creators.
Fortnite shares a lot of similarities with Roblox’s community aspect, but there is opportunity for Fortnite to improve in-game chat features to further encourage social engagement. With this in mind, we always aim to build strong community-driven environments where players can connect, collaborate and share their creative endeavors.
Epic Games recently introduced a higher revenue split for Fortnite creators. Tell us how you think this will impact the UGC space?
Epic Games’ new Fortnite creator pay structure is just the beginning of the metaverse gaming revolution. I’m certain we will see it drive innovation and growth in the UGC space as both AAA studios and indie developers enter Fortnite to explore new concepts and release full-fledged games.
The increased revenue share sets a new standard, compelling competitor UGC platforms to raise their splits to stay relevant.
What monetisation opportunities do you foresee for Fortnite creators?
With the new creator pay structure, we see a solid pipeline of monetisation opportunities for Fortnite creators. As Fortnite continues to develop in-game purchases and virtual currencies, developers will be empowered to create unique, monetisable ecosystems within Fortnite’s metaverse.
Over the next few years, I’d imagine Fortnite will continue to ramp up opportunities for virtual merchandise and specialty items that creators can sell and profit from.
There are as many, if not more, content creation tools on Fortnite than RobloxMatt Zanazzo
Roblox provides a variety of tools that empower users to design and build their own games from scratch. How does Fortnite compare in terms of its content creation tools?
I have not developed on Roblox, but from my understanding, there are as many, if not more, content creation tools on Fortnite than Roblox. It’s clear that Fortnite’s creation tools are poised to unlock an era of unparalleled possibilities for developers like Gamefam. As we delve deeper into the potential of Unreal Editor, our vision extends well beyond traditional Battle Royale-style gameplay.
With the addition of the first custom Fortnite programming language called Verse, we see Fortnite transforming into a dynamic metaverse where educational content, simulations, strategy games and more can thrive alongside Battle Royale.
Tell us more about how Fortnite can expand its scope beyond the Battle Royale genre?
The metaverse is evolving, and Gamefam is leading the charge to propel Fortnite well beyond the Battle Royale genre. Our vision includes a vast array of genres—from heart-pounding horror to captivating role-playing adventures and intricate racing simulations to elaborate tycoons.
We envision a future where Fortnite’s metaverse transcends conventional gaming experiences, attracting creators and brands from diverse industries seeking to shape the future of immersive entertainment. We’re in regular conversation with Epic Games on this topic and they’ve been incredibly inclusive when it comes to listening to our developer perspective.
We envision a future where Fortnite’s metaverse transcends conventional gaming experiencesMatt Zanazzo
Let’s talk about Fortnite concerts and their recent decline. How do you think Epic Games can revive and sustain the space?
The decline in Fortnite concerts is just temporary. With Unreal Editor, we see the door has fully opened for our team to bring full-fledged concerts to Fortnite with elements that have never been seen before. With the latest tools and assets empowering creators, we see a renaissance of concerts that redefine immersive entertainment.
Creators now have advanced tools like motion capture and Unreal Engine 5’s visual effects, giving us the ability to craft our own concerts, immersing players in unprecedented experiences with concert sets and attendance figures not possible in real life along with up-close-and-personal viewpoints. Epic Games is clearly committed to pushing the boundaries for music in Fortnite.
How do you see the relationship between traditional gaming experiences and the metaverse developing? Will they coexist separately or converge in some way?
We foresee a future where traditional gaming and metaverse experiences harmoniously coexist, revolutionising the way developers, publishers and brands interact with players and fans across the virtual landscape. It’s already happening as we speak…
With an increasing interest in VR and AR, do you see Fortnite exploring these technologies in the future?
We’re committed to exploring the frontiers of virtual reality and augmented reality. Our visionary approach extends beyond technical limitations, envisioning a future where VR and AR technologies are seamlessly integrated into the fabric of Fortnite. We’ll just need to see some technological advances like faster internet globally and lower peripheral costs before we achieve mass adoption. In the end, it’ll only uplevel the player experience.
Contrary to popular belief, the metaverse is thriving…Matt Zanazzo
Recent reports have suggested that the metaverse is dead or experiencing a decline. Why does Gamefam continue to believe in the potential of the metaverse?
Contrary to popular belief, the metaverse is thriving – just look at the active user bases on Roblox and Fortnite. We believe in the metaverse’s potential to captivate and provide joy to Gen Z and Gen Alpha, and many generations to come. The metaverse’s true definition is yet to be fully realised, paving the way for future innovations. We’re confident that as technology advances and creativity flourishes, the metaverse’s future will unveil unparalleled interactive landscapes, solidifying its significance in the gaming industry.
What role do you see developers and platforms like Fortnite playing in shaping the future of the metaverse?
The future of UGC gaming in the metaverse is actively being shaped by game developers who hold the keys to unlocking limitless possibilities on Roblox, Fortnite and other platforms. The developers have the keys to redefining entertainment for the next generations.
What challenges do you see ahead?
As the metaverse continues to evolve rapidly, we need to embrace change, although it may be hard to predict. There are several opportunities on the table when it comes to Unreal Editor and the future of Fortnite. One of the biggest opportunities for Fortnite is re-engaging the mobile player audience.
In terms of Unreal Editor and developers specifically, there is a steep learning curve when it comes to learning how to program on Fortnite and once those games are created, understanding how to promote them can also be a barrier. With time, creators will find more and more solutions.