The past 48 hours have been a roller-coaster ride for Fortnite fanatics.
One of the world’s most popular videogames turned an upgrade as it transitioned from one chapter to the next into a two-day panic for many players as the game suddenly went dark.
The battle royale-style online multiplayer game made by Tencent Holdings Ltd. TCEHY, +1.42% and backed by Epic Games is the most financially successful free-to-play videogame of all time, raking in $2.5 billion last year. Within the game, players parachute into an island, where they must survive by finding weapons and battling other players — either alone, or by teaming up. In-app purchases included skins (aka costumes for their avatars), weapons and other useful items to give them an advantage.
But around 2 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, players were met with a black hole on a blank screen when they tried to launch Fortnite. Those who were already in the game witnessed the island getting sucked into a black hole.
Fortnite’s official Twitter TWTR, +0.89% account shared a cryptic tweet that read “This is The End.” Epic also deleted all tweets from Fortnite’s official account.
And suddenly, Fortnite’s almost 250 million registered players world-wide — not to mention the countless others who watch Fornite live streams on the Amazon-owned AMZN, +1.39% Twitch and Alphabet-owned GOOG, +1.91% YouTube — did not know what to do with themselves. (Roughly 100,000 people were watching a live stream of the black hole on Twitch, CNN reported.)
While many older players suspected the sudden blackout was publicity stunt, Fortnite is very popular among tweens and teens — and many of these younger players believed that the game was really gone for good.
Soon parents flooded social media with photos and videos of their kids having meltdowns over their favorite game disappearing.
But at 4 a.m. Eastern on Tuesday, the long nightmare was over: Fortnite returned, revealing a brand new island to explore for its new iteration, “Chapter 2,” along with new skins and new weapons.
And there was much rejoicing — with “Fortnite is back” trending for much of Tuesday morning.