Since its inception, we’ve mostly viewed social media in terms of websites and apps, but could the future of social media exist in gaming? A recently published study from the National Research Group claims that Fortnite has surpassed Facebook, Instagram and more as a leading social platform for children aged ten to twelve.

With a base of over 250 million users worldwide, Fortnite has become the biggest product in gaming. The study states that Fortnite users aged 10-17 who play at least once a week spend 25% of their totally free time playing the game. This remarkable access to a young audience is reshaping the way brands, and in turn, artists interact with their fanbase. Both Drake and Travis Scott have been linked to the game by playing with its most famous streamer, Ninja. More interestingly, in February, EDM DJ Marshmello headlined an in-game concert that accumulated 10 million viewers.

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The NRG believes that Fortnite players use the game for far more than competing in Battle Royale. It references skins, dance emotes and more as a way to “socialize with others and to express their authentic selves.” The study also references earlier work done by the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication which “explored how massive multiplayer online games (MMOs) are ‘third places’—replacing pubs, coffee shops and other hangouts of old” to make new friends and build social bonds.” 

While in the future, we may all connect through our mutual love for video games, for now, Facebook and other streaming sites still reign supreme among older generations.