How The Company Behind The Billion-Dollar ‘Fortnite’ Game Was Started By A College Kid In His Parents’ House
Fortnite is the most popular video game on the entire planet right now. Halfway through 2018, the battle royale survival game has absolutely exploded, going from 40 million players in January to a whopping 125 million gamers only six months later. The free-for-all game is so gigantic that they have pro-am matches that feature celebrities such as Drake, DJ Marshmello, Paul George, Desiigner, Joe Jonas, Joel McHale, Demetrious Johnson, and Pete Wentz. The biggest game in the world has some humble beginnings since Fortnite‘s developer, Epic Games, was created by a college student in his parents’ house.
In April alone, Fortnite reportedly generated nearly $300 million worth of in-game sales. But nearly three decades before Fortnite was the juggernaut game, the Potomac Computer Systems company was founded by Tim Sweeney. In 1991, Sweeney was a 21-year-old studying mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland.
While living in his parents’ house in Potomac, Maryland, Sweeney was able to create his first game titled ZZT in 1991. Potomac Computer Systems’ first video game took Sweeney more than a thousand hours over a span of nine months to create ZZT as he programmed the game between classes and his lawnmowing job. Sweeney’s other business venture arose when he borrowed a tractor from his dad and started his own landscaping company where he made about $25 an hour. To purchase the action-adventure puzzle game customers had to mail a check to Sweeney’s parents’ house and they would receive a computer disk.
Sweeney, who has been programming computer games as a hobby since he was 11-years-old, added Mark Rein to be the company’s vice president in 1992. Rein, who is from Toronto, Canada, was brought on to do sales, marketing, and deal-making. Nowadays, Rein is still in that position and he is the owner of NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes.