Fortnite’s Ariana Grande concert offers a taste of music in the metaverse
Ariana Grande strutted and soared around a candy-colored series of Fortnite sets in Epic’s latest major in-game live music event. The multi-day “tour” offered gamers and Grande fans alike plenty to enjoy while showcasing Epic’s impressively smooth and visually inventive vision for live events that millions of people can enjoy simultaneously.
Fortnite players have known an Ariana Grande event was in the works for a while, and the concert followed previous in-game events featuring rapper Travis Scott and Marshmello. Scott’s in-game performance saw 12.3 million live viewers, a number that the Ariana Grande event is likely to top, given that it ran over multiple days.
Epic put up a video of the concert that’s well worth checking out, if only to marvel at the kind of stuff that’s possible in gaming worlds these days. Experiencing the event live in the game is obviously ideal, but the video captures the experience pretty well, minus the sense of presence from having an avatar zooming around the space with grande Grande.
This time around, the show featured a handful of mini-games that gave players more to do than just flying around while a gigantic virtual pop star does her thing. The sequence kicked off with players surfing a rainbow racetrack, hitting power ups in a cross between Mario Kart and Splatoon to “Come & Go” by Juice WRLD and Marshmello. The racetrack sequence was followed by bouncing players through a Dr. Seuss-style landscape with candy-pink trees and giant floating eyeballs before dropping them into a mini-game shooting down the game’s Storm King boss to Wolfmother’s “Victorious.”
Grande made her Fortnite debut a few songs in with the 2019 hit “7 Rings,” streaking across the sky and materializing on top of a planet suspended in a sea of stars. Later she soared through the clouds with angelic wings as players followed, suspended in rainbow bubbles. In the coolest portion, a skyscraper-high Grande ascended a series of Escher-esque staircases with a giant diamond mallet before slinging it to shatter the sky, shotput-style.
Fortnite’s latest event didn’t have any huge surprises, but that’s only because Epic sets the bar so high. Getting dressed up in your favorite skin to sail around a skyscraper-tall pop star along with millions of people around the world might not be everyone’s vision for the metaverse, but Fortnite’s wildly imaginative live events are a taste of the future that here’s right now.