The Margin: Fortnite is back after being sucked into a ‘black hole’ for two days

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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.

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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.

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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.

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