Clearly, Epic isn’t content with the money it gains from Fortnite Battle Passes and V-Bucks purchases. The company has announced Fortnite Crew, a monthly subscription that includes every seasonal Battle Pass, 1,000 V-Bucks to spend in the game’s Item Shop, and a special pack that contains Crew-exclusive outfits and accessories. The scheme launches on December 2nd — the same day that the fifth season of chapter two is expected to launch — and will set you back $11.99 (€11.99/£9.99) per month.
Is it worth the money? That depends on how badly you crave new cosmetics. If you play on PC, Mac or console, Epic will sell you 1,000 V-Bucks for $7.99. (The prices are higher on iOS and Android because, well, Epic isn’t best friends with Apple and Google at the moment.) A Battle Pass currently costs 950 V-Bucks, or a little less than $7.99. A Fortnite Crew subscription makes sense, therefore, on the months that a Battle Pass is released, because you’re also getting a bonus 1,000 V-Bucks to spend in the store (which are worth another $7.99), in addition to the exclusive Crew cosmetics. Battle Passes come out sporadically, though — three have been released so far this year, whereas six debuted in 2018 — which makes the math more complicated.
Clearly, Epic is banking on people’s appetite for exclusive cosmetics. The first Crew pack comes with the Galaxia Outfit and Style, as well as Cosmic Llamacorn Pickaxe and Fractured World Back Bling. Fortnite’s developer has stressed that Crew items will never be sold or given away to non-Crew members. You can cancel at any time and keep the Battle Passes V-Bucks and Crew items that you accrued while the subscription was active. If you skip a month, though, there’s no guarantee that the Crew items you missed will ever be available again. It’s that fear of missing out, combined with the hassle of constantly deactivating and activating a subscription, that Epic hopes will keep diehard Fortnite fans locked into the scheme.
Fortnite is still the king of battle royale games. The title’s popularity is waning, though, amongst streamers and professional players. Many have shifted to other competitive titles such as Call of Duty: Warzone, Valorant and Apex Legends. Fortnite Crew could stop a few bored or frustrated players from jumping to another game. It’s more likely, however, that the subscription will be adopted by Fortnite super-fans. The ones that pore over every leak and are excited to chat with friends over the newly-announced Houseparty integration. Monetizing these users will help Epic finance other endeavours, such as its ongoing court battles with Apple and Google, as well as the freebies that are offered every week on the Epic Games Store.