One of the hottest pop culture phenomenons right now is a game called "Fortnite," attracting rap stars, top Twitch streamers and gamers alike.
The game, made by Epic Games, is surging in popularity. Google search volume interest for "Fortnite" exceeded "Minecraft" and bitcoin in recent weeks.
Source: Google Trends
At one point last month, 3.4 million people were playing the game at same time, likely making it "the biggest PC/console game in the world," Epic Games said. The company revealed in January the game has been played by more than 45 million people worldwide.
"Fortnite" is also consistently on top of the "most-played" list for Microsoft's Xbox One console and the most popular game on Twitch.
Epic Games launched the free-to-play "Battle Royale" mode for "Fortnite" on PC, Playstation 4, Xbox One and Mac in September. Critics said the mode was a blatant knock-off of "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds" [PUBG], which was a big PC gaming success story last year.
"Battle Royale" type games have 100 online players violently battle to the death until only one player survives.
"Fortnite" has surpassed PUBG due to its free-to-play no upfront cost business model, lower hardware requirements, less cheating problems and a more casual cartoon look that appeals to younger gamers.
Top streamers such a Ninja, Shroud and Dr. DisRespect have flocked to playing the game.
Twitch is a live streaming video platform primarily used to stream video game play. It was acquired by Amazon for $970 million in 2014. Many streamers make a full-time living playing games from paid channel subscriptions and viewer donations.
Rapper Drake joined Ninja to play the game Wednesday night, breaking the Twitch record for most concurrent viewers in a non-tournament stream with 630,000 people watching at peak, according to The Verge.
The rising popularity of "Fortnite" is worrying financial analysts about the future prospects for large gaming companies.
"We believe the strong growth of Fortnite creates tactical risk to the video game publishers and could limit potential upside to consensus numbers," KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Evan Wingren wrote in a note to clients last week. "The game is gaining momentum in Western markets, which is likely to impact engagement for all AAA games to some degree. We believe Fortnite is growing the overall gaming TAM [total addressable market], but some cannibalization is likely."
The analyst predicted the monetization of multi-player games from other publishers will suffer by about 10 percent due to competition from "Fortnite."
And the game is about to get even bigger as it launches on smartphones.
Epic Games announced last week that "Fortnite" will be released on mobile devices. An initial invite-only version launched on Apple iOS devices on Monday and an Android version will come out in few months.