Today's video games always excel in bringing players together through the internet. Highly competitive experiences are nothing new to gamers, but lately the stakes have been raised to the limit with this new trend in online games. It's nearly impossible to browse Twitch or YouTube or any video sharing/streaming website and not stumble across footage of someone playing Epic Games' Fortnite, or PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. Chances are, you've even probably heard someone brag about winning a "Victory Royale" or even the notorious "Chicken Dinner." These are symptoms of the Battle Royale game type that is taking the whole gaming world by storm. What is it about this game type that has us all so captivated, and is it here to stay?
The name of the game is simple: Be the last man standing. This is far easier said than done. One game typically has 50 players for a single match on a widely expansive map, creating a formidable challenge that gamers today seem to crave. Typically a boundary around the map displaying a safe area of the world will decrease over time, making the playing field smaller as time goes on. This not only speeds up gameplay, but also causes a lot of tension—especially if there are only a few players left in the game. The heart-pounding, adrenaline-rush inducing gameplay truly is infectious. There is no question as to why the genre is so popular, but how do we know if it will stick around?
The two aforementioned titles are not the only games to feature this mode, but they are certainly the most popular. You may have even heard a very heated argument debating which of the two is superior. Regardless of these two superpowers, games like H1Z1 seemingly made their way onto the scene and have created quite an impact on many players. Previous casual gamers are getting a taste of massive multiplayer action for the first time. As it stands, these titles are potential console sellers (Looking at you, Nintendo...). Fortnite, as well as PuBG, as it is often affectionately referred to as, both have highly anticipated mobile ports which just displays the immense popularity of these games. With these titles making the jump to mobile and its wide appeal, one might compare the influx of popularity to the likes of Candy Crush or Angry Birds.
We've seen the likes of this before with the rise and fall of rhythm gaming. Plastic instruments now flood used game stores everywhere, nary a buyer in sight. Almost everyone bought a copy of a Guitar Hero or Rock Band game. If you didn't own it, chances are someone you knew did. The current state of rhythm gaming is practically a joke, especially compared to its peak in the mid-to-late 2000s. There, of course, are dedicated fans of the genre, but nothing like its height of popularity, in the United States especially. This could be similar to what we are seeing at the moment. With people spending real money on outfits for their characters, the streamers making thousands of dollars, it all seems like a gaming gold rush that could dry up at any moment. Now, this may not be the case for these types of games, but with the way things are headed at the moment, it all just feels so fragile. Almost like a bubble ready to pop.
Will this newfound genre stand the test of time? Or will it end up in the back of our minds, nearly forgotten like the hours of Guitar Hero 3 you spent? Let's wait and see.