‘Fortnite’ will launch on disk before entering its early-access period

fortnite physical release early access
Update: Added comment from Epic Games.

Earlier in June, Epic Games confirmed Fortnite was due to launch this summer, putting an end to speculation that the project had been quietly shelved. Now, retailer listings have offered some more information about the title’s retail release, which is being brought about in conjunction with Gearbox Software and Koch Media.

The retail version of Fortnite is due to release on July 21 in Europe, four days ahead of its digital debut, according to a report from Gamespot. A listing on the Gamestop online store suggests that the same scheduling will be in effect for its launch in North America.

This is quite unusual, as Fortnite is part of Epic Games’ ongoing free-to-play initiative. This means that if players are willing to wait a while, they would be able to try out the game without parting with their cash — although, of course, they would be subject to some of the standard limitations that are associated with this business model.

The retail version of Fortnite gives players access to the Founder’s Pack, which grants access to the game on July 21, as well as some other in-game bonuses. Digital copies of the game grant entry to what is being billed as a paid early-access period, which begins on July 25, but anyone who pre-orders digitally can also start playing on July 21. Epic Games previously confirmed that the game will go free-to-play sometime in 2018.

“We are offering our Deluxe Edition Founder’s Pack, which costs $60, at both digital and retail stores because we know some people like to purchase their games physically,” executive producer Zak Phelps told Digital Trends. “They both get the same benefits and exclusive items only available in Founder’s Packs. Aside from Early Access to Fortnite and special in-game events this year, we’ve jammed tons of items, Heroes and loot pinatas (our loot crates) into every Founder’s Pack.”

Early access can be a thorny issue among gaming circles and as a result, Fortnite looks set to cause some controversy. The base edition of the game is priced at $40, while the physical version costs $60, which is not exactly cheap for an unproven early-access title that will go free-to-play within the next 18 months.

Of course, it is likely that Epic Games will give early adopters some kind of reward once the game transitions to a free-to-play format. However, it is easy to look at this move as a cash-grab intended to fund the final stages of the long-gestating project’s development, given that it was first unveiled in 2011.

Fortnite could still turn out to be an engrossing multiplayer experience but there are some major questions lingering about its early-access release.

Gaming

‘Darksiders III’ gets its own Fury-led ASMR series, and it’s weird

Darksiders III is out in less than a week, and to celebrate the game's impending release, publisher THQ Nordic has released an ASMR video starring Fury. The video focuses on her fire abilities.
Gaming

‘Fortnite’ gifts perfect for the video game fan in your life

Chances are someone on your holiday shopping list is a fan of Fortnite. As the most popular game on the planet, there are plenty of Fortnite-themed gift options available for purchase in stores and online. Here are the best ones we found.
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Gaming

These are the best Xbox One games available right now

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From 'Cuphead' to 'Halo 5,' the best Xbox One games offer something for everyone.
Mobile

Check out 30 of the best iPhone games you need to be playing

The iPhone has some of our favorite games available for any mobile platform. Here are the best iPhone games for every big-name genre, whether you're into puzzles, strategy, or something else entirely.
Deals

Check out the best Xbox One deals and bundles for November 2018

Microsoft's consoles are just as capable of streaming movies as they are of playing the latest games. Check out our top Xbox One deals and bundles, which include new and upcoming triple-A games like Battlefield V and Fallout 76.
Gaming

Play cowboy in the new limited-time ‘Fortnite’ Wild West mode

Epic Games has added a new limited-time Wild West mode to Fortnite: Battle Royale. The mode limits players to weapons from the time period, including revolves, hunting rifles, and shotguns.
Gaming

A beginner's guide to gaining XP and catching them all in 'Pokémon: Let's Go'

Pokémon: Let's Go is a mashup of traditional Pokémon RPGs and Pokémon Go. Still, new mechanics will make it feel somewhat new for even seasoned trainers. To help you on your journey to Victory Road, check out these tips and tricks in our…
Deals

The best Target Black Friday deals for 2018

The mega-retailer opens its doors to the most competitive shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 22, and signs indicate that the retailer means business this year. We've sifted through all of the deals, from consumer electronics to small…
Deals

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Computing

The Best Black Friday Deals from Best Buy in 2018

We've been hard at work assembling all the best Black Friday deals Best Buy offers in 2018 and putting them in one place to save you time and money this holiday season. From laptops to TVs, game consoles to smart speakers and much more…
Deals

The best Walmart Black Friday deals in 2018

Walmart has historically been the undisputed king of Black Friday deals. The mega-store is known for offering deals on products in almost every category, from smart TVs to children’s toys. We're combing through every deal as it is…
Mobile

Google Play Store offers big movie and game discounts for Thanksgiving

With the holiday season upon us, Google has unleashed a torrent of tempting deals in the Play Store. You can snag top games for up to 80 percent off, rent any movie for just 99 cents, and get discounts on books and apps.
Deals

Black Friday 2018: The best deals so far

Black Friday 2018 is the biggest shopping holiday of the year, and some of the best deals have already arrived. We've scoured the web to find discounts from Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Target, and more. Don't miss out.