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Millions flock to record-breaking in-game Fortnite concert

EDM DJ Marshmello performed inside the virtual stadium, where players danced, clapped and went airborne

EDM DJ Marshmello performed inside the virtual stadium, where players danced, clapped and went airborne

Fortnite hosted the largest-ever video game concert, with some reports saying as many as 12 million players attended. (YouTube)

Millions of music fans flocked to a massive live concert on Sunday — but they didn't even have to get up off their couches.

In what is being called the largest-ever video game concert, the wildly popular game Fortnite hosted a live concert by EDM artist Marshmello — himself an avid Fortnite player — that drew legions of players from around the globe to watch simultaneously.

Epic Games, the company that developed Fortnite, has not released the official count of concertgoers, but some estimates are as high as 12 million. 

Fortnite is a third-person shooter game, where players are pitted against each other in a battle royale, but once the players stepped inside the virtual stadium within the game, they couldn't use their weapons. 

The set featured a Marshmello avatar at the turntables, and as he performed hits including Everyday and Happier, he encouraged concertgoers to clap, jump and perform dances — also known as "emotes" in the game — and at one point even sent them airborne by turning on a zero gravity function.

The 10-minute set has since been posted to YouTube and has been viewed more than 15 million times.

While it's been called the the first-ever live performance in a video game, that isn't the case. In fact, live concerts have been happening in games for over a decade. Minecraft held an in-game festival, aptly named Coalchella, in 2018; U2 gave a live performance in Second Life in 2008; and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic broadcast in Second Life in 2007.

Many fans called the Fortnite event the "coolest video concert ever," while others joked that it was far better than Maroon 5's Super Bowl halftime show.

The concert had been teased for days, and the stage could be seen in various phases of assembly, with large trucks bringing in lights, staging and more.

About the Author

Jennifer Van Evra is a Vancouver-based journalist and digital producer for q. She can be found on Twitter @jvanevra or email jennifer.vanevra@cbc.ca.

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