It’s a new era of video game collaborations, and big-name battle royales seem determined to court the K-Pop industry’s finest. Although two coincidences don’t necessarily make for a trend, it’s still remarkable that BTS chose to debut their new single’s choreography video in Fortnite’s Party Royale Mode, only for K-Pop girl group BlackPink to announce a collaboration with PUBG Mobile shortly after.
BTS is a Korean boy group that has gained massive international acclaim, to the point where you could call them this generation’s Beatles and not be exaggerating in the slightest. And while BlackPink don’t have that level of exposure, they are contemporary K-Pop’s most internationally renowned girl group, with household names like Selena Gomez, Cardi B, and Ariana Grande featuring in their newest album.
Needless to say, it’s no surprise that Fortnite and PUBG would want to cash in on these groups’ success. Big-name developers have scoured the fields for the hottest trends and set their eyes on K-Pop’s growing international appeal. Can’t afford BTS or BlackPink? That’s a you problem, and Epic Games and Tencent can’t relate.
But K-Pop now comfortably enjoying mainstream popularity isn't the only reason why the gaming industry should be paying attention to the K-Pop scene. K-Pop fan culture has led to a broad community where fans are generally compelled to collect a great deal of merch, spend large amounts of time boosting their faves on social media, and occasionally streaming new songs on repeat for days or even weeks. Compared to that, downloading a new video game because their idols appeared in it is almost nothing.
These collaborations are also great for BTS and BlackPink. Fortnite and PUBG Mobile are extremely popular games, with PUBG Mobile in particular having a very sizeable international player base. For the duration of the collaboration, PUBG Mobile players could listen to a track off BlackPink's newest record The Album, as well as enjoy a number of BlackPink cosmetic items. This is a great way for the group's music to reach an audience that might not normally pay attention to them.
Although BTS's collaboration with Fortnite wasn't quite as involved, the game has a history of setting new trends and enjoys incredible, massive popularity, especially in America. BTS debuting a colorful choreography video for an all-English song in Fortnite is a very smart business decision.
Although it's definitely a funny trick of fate that battle royale games of all things are snagging deals with some of K-Pop's most popular artists, considering the kind of money and influence Fortnite and PUBG Mobile have access to, these seemingly-wild collaborations might just be a case of big companies, deep pockets, and mutual benefit.
Now, if Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout happened to net an appearance from a K-Pop group, that might mean something different. Only time will tell whether this trend will continue!
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