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Ariana Grande to headline Fortnite’s Rift Tour

Ariana Grande will be the next artist to perform an in-game concert for the hugely popular multiplayer video game, Fortnite.

The Grammy award-winning artist is set to headline the forthcoming Rift Tour, a virtual ‘musical experience’ that will take place within the online game.

The Rift Tour comprises five shows in early August: Friday 6 August at 18:00 ET, Saturday 7 August at 14:00 ET and Sunday 6 August at 00:00 ET, 10:00 ET and 18:00 ET.

“Working with Epic and the Fortnite team to bring my music to life inside the game has been so fun and such an honour,” says Grande. “I can’t wait to join my fans and see all of your reactions to such an unforgettable, magical journey to new realities.”

“Fortnite is a place for the imagination and the impossible”

Fortnite is a place for the imagination and the impossible. With the Rift Tour, we’re bringing a musical journey to life that players can experience, feel, and join alongside their friends,” says Phil Rampulla, head of brand for Fortnite developer Epic Games.

“We’re so grateful to have an iconic superstar like Ariana Grande and her team join us for a musical experience at metaverse scale, and for players and fans alike to experience the Rift Tour!”

Republic Records-signed Ariana Grande is the latest artist to perform within Fortnite, after the likes of Marshmello, Travis Scott, Steve Aoki, Deadmau5, Easy Life and J. Balvin.

The singer’s performance follows a virtual show at the in-game O2 in June, which was performed by the UK act Easy Life.

The iconic London venue became the first real-world arena to get its own venue in Fortnite. 

Watch a teaser for Ariana Grande’s appearance on the Rift Tour below.


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Bebe Rexha to headline Sims 4 music festival

The Sims developer Maxis has announced Sims Sessions, an in-game music festival taking place in The Sims 4 from 29 June to 7 July.

Sims Sessions features two-time Grammy-nominated pop star Bebe Rexha, who will perform in Simlish, the gibberish language of Sims games, Simlish, as well as Glass Animals’ Dave Bayley and singer-songwriter Joy Oladokun.

The event is free to access for existing The Sims 4 owners, while new players who want to experience Sims Sessions can purchase the game at a discounted rate from 24 to 29 June.

In addition to pre-recorded sets by the three artists, who will appear as in-game avatars, players can buy artist-themed merchandise, man their own concession stands and camp out in virtual tents.

“Sims Sessions is the next evolution of music in The Sims”

Elsewhere, a TikTok challenge, #SimlishSessions, tasks players with joining Rexha and “some of TikTok’s most talented musical personalities” on stage for a karaoke session.

“Sims Sessions is the next evolution of music in The Sims,” said Steve Schnur, worldwide executive and president of music for Maxis parent Electronic Arts (EA). “Nowhere else can players hear and experience these exclusive performances by Bebe, Dave and Joy. With the self-expression destination that is Sims Sessions, EA will once again re-set the bar for gaming, music and global culture.”

The Sims 4 is the latest popular online game to host an online festival or concert, joining the likes of MinecraftFortnite and Roblox. IQ analysis shows that artists can reach an audience of least 750 million gamers across the top 20 online multiplayer games/platforms alone.

 


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Royal Blood to premiere new single in Roblox

British rock duo Royal Blood will deliver the first live performance of their new single in Roblox, a family-friendly social videogaming platform with more than 150 million monthly users worldwide.

The pair will perform ‘Limbo’ as part of a three-song virtual concert for Roblox’s award show for creators and players, The Bloxy Awards 2021, slated for 27 March at 12 pm PDT on the platform.

“It is fitting that Royal Blood play inside Roblox this year and introduce a whole new audience to their incredible sound”

Royal Blood’s Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher will appear as avatars for the exclusive virtual performance in Roblox’s space-themed virtual concert venue.

“The creativity of the Roblox community powers the experiences on our platform, and the social connections players make while sharing these experiences are deeply enriched by music,” said Jon Vlassopulos, VP and global head of music for Roblox.

“We’re thrilled to host Royal Blood as we celebrate the talent of our creators with the greater Roblox community in this immersive, out-of-this-world Metaverse experience.”

“Royal Blood have always been a forward-thinking band and so it is fitting that they play inside Roblox this year and introduce a whole new audience to their incredible sound,” said Phil Christie, president, Warner Records UK, which is facilitating the partnership.

Royal Blood follow in the footsteps of ‘Old Town Road’ rapper Lil Nas X, who garnered over 35 million visits for his in-game performance in Roblox in 2020, rivalling Fortnite’s record-breaking Travis Scott event held earlier in the year.

Vlassopulos previously told IQ that he plans to grow Roblox’s music offering significantly “so music becomes an organic part of the users’ daily experience”. Read the full interview here.

 


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Grand Theft Auto Online to open virtual nightclub

Renowned open-world crime game Grand Theft Auto (GTA) Online is opening a virtual nightclub that will host residencies from ‘a new wave of world-class DJs’.

The game’s developer Rockstar Games is following in the footsteps of online gaming platforms Roblox and Fornite, which have already developed virtual entertainment spaces and produced hugely successful in-game concerts.

GTA’s virtual entertainment space, dubbed The Music Locker, is being designed to look like a real music venue, located beneath The Diamond in-game casino and resort, while the acts will appear as their own custom avatars.

The Music Locker has already announced Detroit-based producer Moodymann, Berlin collective Keinemusik and UK underground star Palms Trax for residencies.

“The Music Locker’s impeccable sound system will be ready to deliver basslines directly to your midsection”

“If you’re ready to grab some drinks, find a partner and dance the night away, The Music Locker is the place to go, with stunning visuals and an impeccable sound system ready to deliver basslines directly to your midsection,” says Rockstar Games.

Though The Music Locker is GTA’s first foray into in-game concerts, the franchise has always secured high-profile artists for its in-game radio stations. Producer Flying Lotus was even given his own radio station (FlyLo FM) for 2013’s GTA V.

GTA Online is the online component of GTA V, released in 2013, which is reportedly the best-selling game ever to be released on Sony’s PlayStation 4, selling 130 million copies as of March 2020.

GTA’s reach could make The Music Locker a real contender in the world of in-game concerts, which has seen notable shows from Lil Nas X in Roblox; Travis Scott, Marshmello and J Balvin in Fortnite; Gorillaz and Beck in Animal Crossing and several festivals in Minecraft, as well as Korn in AdventureQuest and the Offspring in World of Tanks during 2019.

 


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Roblox files for $1bn stock market launch

The company behind tween-friendly social gaming platform, Roblox, is filing for a $1 billion initial public offering (IPO) after its popularity soared during the pandemic.

According to the company’s prospectus, the platform now has 31.1 million daily users who have spent an average of 2.6 hours per day in the game this year.

The platform, which launched in 2004, hosts a collection of more than 50 million user-created video games (sometimes compared to YouTube, but for games rather than videos).

The company makes money when these games offer in-app purchases, and it gets a cut of sales of the in-app currency Robux.

The platform stepped up its interest in music in August 2019 with the appointment of a global head of music, Jon Vlassopulos, a former director of business development at BMG and founder of Tinder-style swiping music discovery app Fab.fm.

Earlier this year, Roblox created a virtual concert venue, hosting an in-game live stream of the Lady Gaga-curated benefit concert One World: Together at Home.

The platform now has 31.1 million daily users who have spent an average of 2.6 hours per day in the game this year

Roblox has also joined social virtual-reality platform Sansar and video game developer Psyonix in partnering with Canadian indie label Monstercat, which also has its own licensing subscription service to allow game streamers to use its music on YouTube and Twitch.

The partnership gives Roblox developers access to a new library of music content to use when making games for the platform, which is comprised of millions of games built by professional developers and the Roblox user community.

Roblox’s involvement in music hit its peak this month, however, when the platform delivered its first in-game concert with Lil Nas X.

The double Grammy award-winning rapper behind worldwide smash ‘Old Town Road’ delivered a free-to-access concert experience which garnered 35 million visits, rivalling Travis Scott’s record-breaking Fortnite concert.

The show, which took place in partnership with Nas’s label, Columbia Records, featured a set of stages inspired by Lil Nas X’s songs and videos and aired three times across 14 and 15 November.

Roblox also recently hosted an album release party for singer Ava Max which was attended by 1.2m players.

 


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Lil Nas X delivers one of the most viewed in-game concerts

Lil Nas X has garnered over 35 million visits for his in-game performance in Roblox, marking a hugely successful debut concert for the online gaming platform.

The double Grammy award-winning rapper behind worldwide smash ‘Old Town Road’ delivered a free-to-access concert experience which was aired three times across the weekend (14 and 15 November).

The in-game performance featured a set of stages inspired by Lil Nas X’s songs and videos – created using the latest shadowing, lighting and physically based rendering (PBR) facial recognition technologies available on the Roblox platform – and was preceded by a Q&A with fans.

The show, which took place in partnership with Nas’s label, Columbia Records, rivalled Travis Scott’s record-breaking in-game concert in Fortnite in April.

The in-game performance featured a set of stages inspired by Lil Nas X’s songs and videos and was preceded by a Q&A

According to developer Epic Games, the premiere of Astronomical drew more than 12 million players and across five shows and two encores – four more showings than Nas’s Roblox concert – is believed to have attracted around 45.8 million viewers.

Scott’s record-breaking feat trumped Marshmello’s 2019 Fortnite concert which saw 10 million players tune in to watch the electronic music star’s in-game performance. Both Fortnite concerts were free to access.

Other notable videogame shows this year include J Balvin in Fortnite, Gorillaz and Beck in Animal Crossing and several festivals in Minecraft, while 2019 saw Korn play AdventureQuest and the Offspring World of Tanks, among others.

While Nas’s concert was Roblox’s first, the platform’s existing moves in the music space include a partnership with dance music label Monstercat and a recent album release party for singer Ava Max which was attended by 1.2m players.

Roblox is a collection of more than 50 million user-created video games (sometimes compared to YouTube, but for games rather than videos). The platform’s popularity has exploded this year, particularly among children, and now boasts more than 150m monthly users.

 


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J Balvin to headline Fortnite’s in-game Halloween event

Reggaeton superstar J Balvin is set to deliver a special performance as part of Fortnite’s Halloween-themed event, Fortnitemares 2020: Midas’ Revenge.

The online video game, developed by Epic Games, hosts Fortnitemares every spooky season in the free-to-play Battle Royale mode in which weapons are disabled.

Each year, players have the chance to complete Fortnitemares challenges which provide players with season XP and different cosmetics including sprays and loading screens.

This year’s Fortnitemares will take place between 21 October and 3 November and will feature a performance from J Balvin on Battle Royale’s main stage on Halloween.

The Afterlife Party will take place on 31 October at 9 pm ET, with rebroadcasts available to watch the next day on main stage or with friends on Houseparty, the group video app.

Since launching last year, Fortnite Battle Royale has become the most successful free-to-play video game of all time

Users who attend any of the Afterlife Party showings in a Party Trooper outfit, available to buy in the item shop, will unlock an exclusive J Balvin style.

Fans can also drop into Fornite Creative from 25 October to 31 October to visit La Familia, an island made by community members Iscariote and Davidpkami where you can play minigames based on songs from J Balvin’s latest album.

Fortnite hosted its first-ever in-game concert with RCA-signed DJ Marshmello in February – a ten-minute show which reportedly became the most-attended ‘concert’ in history to date, with more than ten million people tuning in.

Since launching last year, Fortnite Battle Royale has become the most successful free-to-play video game of all time, pushing developer Epic Games’ valuation to nearly US$15bn as the number of Fortnite players – most of whom pay real money (or ask their parents) to buy in-game skins and other cosmetic items – soars over 200 million.

In May 2020, Epic announced that Fortnite had 350 million registered accounts with players spending 3.3 billion hours in-game during the month of April 2020.

 


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