On 23 April 2020, in the midsts of COVID-19 and social distancing, 12.3 million people experienced rapper Travis Scott’s “Astronomical” event live as he launched his new debut album. This was no ordinary event and the concert took place within Fortnite. Created by Epic Games, it is one of the world’s most popular free-to-play online games that generates revenue by charging players for costumes known as skins and other accessories in a virtual in-game currency.
“During the show, a giant Scott stomped around the island performing while visuals changed along with the songs. There were roller coasters, spacemen, and a cyborg version of Travis Scott, and the crowd was submerged underwater at one point.” Starr Rhett Roque, Fast Company
And although Travis Scott’s concert is Fortnite’s largest in-game gathering, (a total of 27.7 million viewed the concert across the five events that ran until 27 April 2020) it is in fact, not the first. In February 2019, Marshmello, a music producer and DJ, performed Fortnite’s inaugral live in-game concert to an audience of 10 million.
So, what does the success of these experiences mean for the future of events?
Are virtual experiences here to stay? Absolutely! Online events and digital concerts have passed the proof of concept stage.
They allow millions to take part in an experience, no matter where in the world they are, meaning performers, speakers and brands can now reach new audiences at scale.
Are live experiences a thing of the past? Not necessarily, but they will never be the same as they were before. We are moving to a more phygital world, one that combines the physical and digital into a best of breed expereince.
“All of the world is now a stage and the increasingly blurred lines between the online and offline world present an opportunity to create powerful entertainment that could have only been imagined.” Sarah Salter, Head of innovation, Wavemaker
At CWDi, we still believe that what ultimately matters is creating an experience that allows people to connect. Just how you create that connection between virtual and real experiences depends on your creativity. CWDi has launched its Digital Wingman service to help our clients bridge the gap from live to virtual to phyigital experiences to ensure their customers feel valued, inspired and connected.
“Just because virtual is now our reality, doesn’t mean all clients and audiences are at ease with it. The key to success is to find ways to engage your audience and maintain the human touch.” Samantha Gabriel, Innovations Director, CWDi
To find out more about CWDi Digital Wingman services, contact Samantha@cwdi.co.za