Fortnite (opens in new tab) hosted a wee music event last night, you might have noticed. Just an intimate show for Travis Scott's new tune, Astronomical, enjoyed by a few fans. 12.3 million of them.
That's the highest concurrent player count that the battle royale has seen, and around 2 million more than Marshmello's EDM performance (opens in new tab) got last year. At the time, it touted itself as a history-making performance, even though in-game concerts have been around for ages, but it was certainly the most popular. Until Scott's performance.
Over 12.3 million concurrent players participated live in Travis Scott's Astronomical, an all-time record! Catch an encore performance before the tour ends: https://t.co/D7cfd2VxccApril 24, 2020
My natural instinct is to be very cynical because I'm really tired of Fortnite and, until this week, I'd never heard of Travis Scott. It's a big advertisement for a musician's new song, basically, and after the weird decision to make a key Star Wars reveal exclusive to the battle royale, I've been very much put off these meta-events. But holy shit was it amazing. I'm a convert.
It was a big improvement over the Marshmello show because it wasn't trying to mimic a real concert. The EDM event had plenty of flair, sure, but ultimately it was a dude in a stupid mask standing on a stage doing what he does in a regular show, with occasional interjections where he demanded that players show him their favourite emote. Ugh.
Scott's performance, on the other hand, was like no concert I've ever seen. It was a massive cosmic spectacle, with Scott becoming a gargantuan shirtless, teleporting avatar transforming the map around him.
It leveraged Fortnite in a way Marshmello's show didn't. This is a game that's seen robots fighting monsters, rips in space time and plenty of other flashy events, so it really needed to go big. And it did. It offered something you could never see in a real live event, and as a result I'm genuinely excited to see what the next collaboration has in store for us.
If you missed it, there are still more shows to come (opens in new tab). Future shows could even see it break those concurrent numbers again, as they're taking place a bit earlier, when fewer people will be soundly asleep.