Fortnite the star of expo

LOS ANGELES • Fortnite knocked out its video-game rivals to emerge as the star of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3).

The three-day event, which wrapped up in Los Angeles on Thursday, highlighted the surging interest in competitive e-sports.

Fortnite maker Epic Games has found a groove with its "battle royale" title, in which scores of players fight against one another to be the ultimate victor in a post-apocalyptic world.

During the annual E3 video-game extravaganza, Fortnite was the focus of a tournament for both professionals and amateurs which packed a Los Angeles stadium.

To make the game even more epic, Epic Games has put up US$100 million (S$134.6 million) in prize money for upcoming competitions.

It can afford to splurge, given that the game - which can be played for free on smartphones, personal computers and consoles - generated US$296 million in revenue from in-app purchases in April.

It is now the most popular game on Amazon-owned video streaming platform Twitch, with more than six billion minutes of play in April alone.

Hip-hop superstar Drake set a streaming record on Twitch in March, drawing 628,000 viewers for a live stream of him battling for survival in the shoot-'em-up adventure with players including Tyler "Ninja" Blevins, one of the emerging stars of the sector.

Chinese tech giant Tencent, which owns 40 per cent of Epic, has also rolled out the game in China.

The E3 event, once restricted to members of the multi-billion-dollar video-game industry, was open to gamers for the second year in a row, with 15,000 tickets sold.

Hoping to seize on another epic idea, French video-game giant Ubisoft announced at E3 that it is teaming up with a firm founded by actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt to crowd-source material for a forthcoming title.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 16, 2018, with the headline 'Fortnite the star of expo'. Print Edition | Subscribe