Epic Creation

Former Terp's Fortnite Game Posts Big Numbers
by Chris Carroll | Photo by John T. Consoli / Testudo illustration by Ryumi Sung

What doesn’t cost a penny to buy, yet is one of the most profitable video games of all time?

The answer to that riddle is Fortnite, created by Epic Games. Former Terp Tim Sweeney founded the company in 1991 as Potomac Computer Systems out of his parents’ garage in Potomac, Md. Today, the onetime UMD mechanical engineering major serves as CEO of Epic, which has scored major hits over the years with franchises like Unreal and Gears of War—but they didn’t prepare the world for the juggernaut that Fortnite has become since its 2017 release.

Fortnite: Battle Royale, in which players (bloodlessly) slaughter each other across a colorful island game world while building forts and scavenging for guns, is now a bona fide cultural phenomenon. Its on-screen victory dances, or “emotes,” have made their way onto pro football fields—both the global and U.S. versions—via players who spend their off time locked in electronic combat. In-game purchases of those dances, along with other flair like fancy outfits, are a big part of how Fortnite racks up sales in the billions.


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