It’s been just over a few weeks since Fortnite came back online following a two-day, black hole-induced hiatus. But the event, which ushered in the game’s eleventh season and its all-new redesigned map, was one of the biggest singular online gaming events to date — with more than 7 million concurrent viewers across Twitch, Twitter, and YouTube. But with an event that size – what exactly happened?
Epic Games recently told The Verge that the black hole event, officially called “The End,” amassed record-breaking viewership on Twitter and Twitch. It also hit record numbers and clocked in as one of the most viewed YouTube gaming events ever, although far from the biggest live event on that platform. Basically, the entire game was unplayable, reduced to an almost entirely blank screen: but as millions logged in to watch the event live in-game, it wasn’t just Fortnite fans who found themselves unable to play.
The official Fortnite social media accounts offered little to no solace to the millions of users who wanted to know exactly what had happened right then and there. In the place of any helpful updates as to what to expect next, there was however a pinned tweet with a live feed of the black hole that had replaced the game. Spooky, huh? Interestingly enough, not even the Fortnite icon remained.
As players waited patiently for answers, Epic Games remained mired in a coy, deliberate pattern of silence – until a few days later, that is.
On Twitch, more than 1.7 million people were viewing either the official Fortnite stream or streams from popular creators. That’s “the platform’s peak concurrent record on a single game category,” Epic says.
On Twitter, the black hole event was the “most viewed gaming event on Twitter, with 50.7 million minutes watched and 42.8 million views.” Epic says it peaked at 1.4 million concurrent viewers. On YouTube, far and away the largest of the three platforms, Fortnite black hole viewership hit 4.3 million concurrent viewers across all channels. The company is not sharing how many players tuned in for the live event in-game, although that figure may be revealed at some point in the future.
We are aware that some folks are unable to login to the Epic Games launcher and are working on getting the service back to normal. As a work around, you can elect to skip login to access games that don’t require you to be online. pic.twitter.com/Ql1MgnWtmE
— Epic Games Store (@EpicGames) October 13, 2019
As viewership spiked, the Epic Games status page informed players that servers were experiencing a “minor service outage,” while the Epic Games Store was facing a “partial outage.” While many Epic users were using the launcher specifically to watch the Fortnite event, plenty more were trying to play entirely different games, but those outages meant that fans of games like Borderlands 3 and The Division 2 were unable to log in.
Epic tweeted saying that “we are aware that some folks are unable to login to the Epic Games launcher and are working on getting the service back to normal.” The tweet also points out that you can skip login to play offline games. While that’s a helpful workaround if you’re trying to play something like Control, it wasn’t much use to fans of looter-shooters.
Normal service was eventually resumed a little later, but it’s perfectly possible that these kind of issues will pop up again in the near future. The rumours suggested Fortnite was set to return later that week, which of course resulted in being an accurate assumption.