The business world loves a good buzzword. Witness the number of big companies that have started talking about Bitcoin, ICOs, and all things crypto. But now there seems to be a term buzzing even louder than Bitcoin: Fortnite.
Corporate executives discussing their financial performance on their quarterly earnings calls used “Fortnite” a total of 54 times during the past earnings season, according to an analysis by business news site MarketWatch of transcripts collected by FactSet. That topped the 45 times executives mentioned “Bitcoin” or other cryptocurrencies in those calls.
Fortnite is a multiplayer action shooter game from Epic Games that has become wildly popular this year. The game has 14 million monthly active users around the world and, since launching on iOS in March, has often been the top-grossing game in Apple’s App Store.
Some sports teams have grown worried their star players are growing addicted to it. Many parents are feeling the same way. But the game is not only promising to bring new gamers into the market, it’s helping to mainstream streaming-video services like Amazon’s Twitch.
Some of the executive comments came from Epic Games’ rivals, who generally spun Fortnite’s success as an overall plus for the industry. “If you look back over the 20 or 30 years, the innovation that one game team has done has been going through the whole industry,” said Electronic Arts chief financial officer Blake Jorgenson. “It’s fantastic, and we welcome innovators like Fortnite.”
Others discussed the game’s impact on their families. “My son who is eight years-old loves playing that game. I played with him over the weekend,” said Snap chief strategy officer Imran Khan, assuring an analyst that Fortnite fans weren’t using Snap less. Owen Mahoney, CEO of game maker Nexof, made a similar admission: “I played Fortnite last weekend with my 14-year-old and 5 of his buddies from school.”
Companies in other industries are seeing a benefit from Fortnite’s popularity. Logitech said demand from new gamers is boosting demand for its gaming hardware. And chipmaker AMD said the trend is helping sales of its graphics processors, which are used to power many video games.
It’s rare to see a single video game have such a broad impact, but if Fortnite and other multiplayer action games continue to catch fire, the business world could be buzzing about them for some time.