Manufactured Discontent and Fortnite

Video games rival motion pictures – not only for the attention of teenagers but also as a revenue generating industry. In addition, their visual aesthetics, their world and community building, and their specific modes of interactive storytelling have become staples of popular culture. So there are more than enough reasons for video games to be the subject of video essays, and this is a fine example.


Fortnite is a ubiquitous juggernaut: it combines violent gameplay with more peaceful online interaction and… music events. A short “live” DJ set that was performed within Fortnite’s online realm is the jumping off point for Folding Ideas‘ investigation of the game’s moneymaking schemes. For the uninitiated, it first gives a good feel of what Fortnite actually is. Then it delves into the corporate structure that underlies its programming, and details the many ways in which the game comes with built-in frustration. The ultimate goal of that “manufactured discontent” is to encourage players to convert their real dollars into virtual tokens that can buy virtual swag and access to more in-game options.


Folding Ideas cleverly (and funnily) uses gameplay footage to illustrate their reasoning, making this video essay an enjoyable piece to watch. But most importantly it is a thoroughly documented, clearly argued and well-paced piece of videographic criticism.