Why did Fortnite go down?

Fortnite experienced one of its longest downtimes this week, with Epic Games promising to make it up to players soon.

Gamers logging in to access the relatively new season of the battle royale title were met with the 'Connecting' screen, and nothing else – leaving millions unable to access the game itself. 

Usually, there's some downtime when a major update is being pushed through. Every new chapter, which usually brings new skins, new abilities, and an updated layout of the Fortnite map, needs to be offline while this happens.

However, this was unscheduled, and some of the TechRadar team were also caught up in the downtime as we travelled home for the new year.

What happened?

At around 4PM GMT / 11AM US time, players would try to log in to a match in Fortnite, but would be brought to a screen that would try to connect to the Epic Games' servers.

It wasn't until a visit to Downdetector or Twitter, though, that many users discovered they weren't alone in being unable to play, with Epic Games recognizing the issue soon after.

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With many users receiving gifts over the holidays, it wouldn't be a stretch to assume that the one game many tried out first was Fortnite.

Combining this with others having to self-isolate due to Covid-19, and it'd be a safe bet to say that the Fortnite servers suffered an unusual amount of overload, bringing the game to a halt for everyone.

However, after approximately six hours, the servers were back online, allowing gamers to dive back into the map with their squad. 

Epic Games is also gifting every player an additional present to make up for the downtime. If you've been playing the game in December, you can access a Lodge, which allows you to unwrap a present on certain days, gifting you costumes and skins.

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Analysis: Being caught in the downtime at Kings Cross

Having spent a few days in London, I had brought my Switch along to carry on my progress in Fortnite, as I've been wanting to acquire the Spider-Man skin that's in Chapter 3.

With our train being delayed, we sat at a table, and, having connected my Switch to my iPhone 13 Pro, I decided to earn some more XP.

Fortnite on Nintendo Switch

(Image credit: Future)

Not long after this picture was taken, I started to experience significant lag, which is definitely why I finished the match at number 51 out of 100 in battle royale mode.

While it was frustrating for me, it only shows the huge popularity that the game still maintains since it debuted in 2017.

With bizarre team-ups of Master Chief, Superman, Lara Croft, and Spider-Man, this is a big part of what appeals to many players, including me.

It's a game that rewards your efforts through random tasks, and that's why it's an ideal title to play when you have some extra time to spare. 

Except when there's some unexpected downtime, of course.

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