Much has been said about concerts in the digital age. The ethic of bringing Tupac back to life with holograms, the exploitation of artists portrayed in one of the worst-recorded Black Mirror episodes, or the virtues of ABBA performing their latest tour from a studio in CGI gear , were all discussed in detail. But a new platform has entered the arena and has something to say about the music industry – and that would be gaming.
Multiplayer games offer artists their respective game environments as their own virtual stage. It can be a great experience for anyone who loves music, and it’s usually free.
The transfer of traditional personal events into digital events has been going on for a long time. Usually the digital version is very successful. An extreme example is the world of digital travel, where tours to some of the world’s most sought-after locations, hotels – even museums – via fully digital media like VR have been successful. A better known example is the online casino, which over the past twenty (or so) years has grown into an entity as versatile and as popular as its real world counterpart.
Concerts are now subjected to this translation in a more concentrated manner. Let’s take a look back at the best concerts so far.
Travis Scott’s Fortnite concert
At the best-recorded concert to date, a CGI Travis Scott towered over an enthusiastic audience as he performed some of his greatest hits like Highest in the Room and Sicko Mode.
The event was free, open to many viewers who hadn’t seen the stage in months, and offered an absurdly surreal experience that simply cannot be reproduced in real life. The gig was more of an audiovisual journey with players being in the depths of the ocean or the abysses of space while Travis did his thing.
Lil Nas X concert by Roblox
Roblox is a silent predator in the gaming world. An urban myth. Some people say it doesn’t exist; others say it’s right behind you. Somehow it turned into one of the greatest console games without anyone noticing. The initial idea of creating your own virtual playground has developed into the largest possible playground where concerts can even take place.
The biggest event so far was the explosive gig with rapper and Twitter icon Lil Nas X. Virtual players entered a virtual environment with a virtual stage on which a virtual version of Lil Nas X played his music for all 33 million of them. For comparison: The largest live concert with a single artist was Indio Solari with 243,000 visitors in Buenos Aires. Canada has a population of 37 million.
On a breathtaking 10 minute show, Lil Nas X enters a humble Wild West town to the gentle tones of Billy Ray Cyrus, only to crumble and expand into a neon-filled set where he dances and sings, much to the delight of the many cute avatars jumping around him. I can’t tell you a tall guy got in your way.
Fortnite’s Marshmello concert
Fortnite very much welcomes the inclusion of music stars in their regular game content. The game has already worked with names like Ariana Grande and Travis Scott, but it all started with Marshmello.
While fans watched Maroon 5 spark controversy we can’t even remember at the 2019 Super Bowl halftime show, Marshmallow lit up a giant virtual stage with his tunes. He didn’t quite beat Lil Nas X with 10.7 million viewers, but it was her first jump.
Players who entered the game were told that they were instead directed to a stage where the mouse-masked DJ was playing a set, prompting the avatar audience to show off their Fortnite dance moves.
And it seems the idea stays here as more acts are slated to appear on the Fortnite stage in the future.