Today, popular gaming streamer and YouTuber Ali “SypherPK” Hassan has announced the opening of a dedicated Fortnite creative map creation division at Oni Studios, the content creation and consulting studio he founded in january. The new company aims to lower the barrier to entry for brands interested in the metaverse by bridging the production and distribution sides of this nascent marketing channel.
Oni Studios’ Fortnite map creation team is currently made up of three full-time employees, with plans to expand to 15 and recruit a wider network of contractors by the end of 2022. The new division has been in development for about a year. . Until now, the company has largely acted as an incubator and consultancy for emerging video creators and streamers, but brand deals have become an increasingly important element of the company’s business: Oni signs around 10 deals of brand each month, according to Oni. Studios CEO Daniela Ali and her services have accordingly expanded into brand consulting and the growing marketing space of the metaverse.
“Launching a dedicated mapping team is simply our response to a very real demand,” said Hassan. “I have worked on over half a dozen custom maps and while my contribution to the design and gameplay of each experience was significant, there is nothing like working with your own team and developing the perfect map.” Oni Studios has only employed full-time Fortnite map builders for two months, so has yet to develop an end-to-end brand experience, though Hassan has provided mechanical build expertise and helped promote activations like Honda’s. hondaverse in the past.
While these are still early days of metaverse marketing, Hassan’s studio is the latest in a string of dedicated Fortnite development firms that have formed to serve the needs of brands. Over the past year, prominent non-endemic gaming brands such as Gillette, Coca-Cola and GRAMrub hub have joined the feeding frenzy, releasing their own branded Fortnite worlds. “I don’t think it’s just a fad; I think the Fortnite metaverse, for lack of a better word, is definitely here to stay,” said Michael Herriger, CEO of independent Fortnite studio Atlas Creative. “We get brands coming to us all the time that are interested in creating spaces, and it’s becoming a trend of brands that not only want a unique game mode, but really want to have a place in the virtual Fortnite space. and having these extended-stay experiences.”
What sets Hassan’s studio apart from the competition is its ability to seamlessly spread the worlds it builds. When it comes to virtual brand activations within platforms like Fortnite and Roblox, the rules are a bit different than traditional media. A brand can’t just launch content on a platform and watch the views increase; genuine engagement and participation in three-dimensional brand worlds is necessary for them to be a worthwhile expense. Hassan’s position as a well-known Fortnite creator allows him to share his company activations on his Twitch stream and social media, a strategy he used to promote the recent Hondaverse activation.
“That’s the draw for the Oni Studios mapping team: the fact that we have both the influencer and the suite of services to develop those creative experiences,” said Ali, who is married to Hassan and is a prominent influencer for own right. “We think it’s really valuable when the brands, the influencer and the service providers are all aligned with their vision and goals, and that’s what this whole model facilitates.”
The presence of a prominent Fortnite influencer is also a potential draw for the skilled cartographers Oni Studios has hired and hopes to hire for its new division. The creative landscape of Fortnite is filled with independent creators, who have more freedom in choosing their projects, and the potential for higher pay, than creators under the Oni Studios banner. But working with Oni Studios gives creators the opportunity to share their work with Hassan’s millions of fans, along with the benefits and more consistent pay. “When I was introduced to Oni Studios and the amazing people who work there, the opportunities and goals they had set out perfectly aligned with mine,” said Jordan “eatyouhay” Frenkel, one of Oni’s full-time Fortnite developers.
Although Hassan contributed mechanical building tips for the Hondaverse activation, most of the actual development for that experience was handled by independent Fortnite studio BeyondCreative. Still, Honda’s use of Hassan’s large following to promote activation, the distribution end of metaverse marketing, demonstrated the strength of Oni Studios’ combined model. “SypherPK has a huge fan base within Fortnite,” said American Honda head of media Phil Hruska, “so it was a perfect fit for building the Hondaverse within Fortnite’s creative map mode while utilizing images of high quality and the ability to build a detailed replica. of the new Honda HR-V.
The company’s Fortnite division is not exclusively dedicated to this type of experience. It will also be spent on creating exclusive experiences for the Hassan community, as well as training creators in the Oni Studios incubator class. But with the volume of brands eager to reclaim the metaverse continuing to rise, partnerships remain Oni Studios’ top priority.
“It’s no surprise that I’m so passionate about Fortnite and a strong believer in the capabilities of the Unreal Engine,” said Hassan. “It elevates its creative mode light years from other platforms and allows us to design much more mature, immersive and engaging experiences.”