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The Fortnite Discover Section: Your Questions Answered

The Fortnite Team

If you’re a Fortnite creator, you’ll be familiar with Fortnite’s Discover section. It’s the window millions of Fortnite players browse when they’re exploring Epic and creator-built content.

During the “Future of Discover and Open Q&A” roundtable session at Unreal Fest 2023, we provided answers to many of the burning questions creators have about Discover.

The answers shine a light on everything from how islands are selected and why some islands get more exposure than others, to the metrics you should focus on for a better chance of being featured.


Q&A

Q: What is Discover trying to achieve?

We have three main goals for Discover.

First, to give all pieces of content a chance to be found by players.

We’ve seen more than a 7x increase in the number of new games receiving 10,000 impressions within their first week in the last six months—from 25 a day to over 185 a day.

Second, we want all islands to rank in Discover according to how well they perform against defined metrics. These include considerations such as total active players and average daily play time. We’re continuing to investigate more metrics of success—most recently, we launched the Community Momentum row, which looks for games that are driving new and returning users into Fortnite.

We’ve also recently launched our first ever content recommender, which looks at players’ recently played games and offers recommended islands.

With these changes, we’re starting to see more and more games climb to the top of Discover within 18 hours of their launch.

Finally, we’re striving to offer a fresh and compelling experience to Fortnite players. We’re constantly impressed by the new genres and content you create, and we want Discover to be responsive to those trends by amplifying the most exciting experiences in Fortnite.


Q: How are islands selected for Epic’s Picks?

Epic’s Picks is an editorial row that showcases fun, innovative experiences. We select unique islands that experiment with new gameplay or unique environments, or that put a fresh twist on existing genres. We provide an open application process and apply the same standards across all genre types.

As we update Discover, Epic's Picks will also go through improvements over the coming months.


Q: My island falls out of Discover when I update it—have you looked into this?

We’ve investigated many instances of updated islands dropping out of Discover. In the vast majority of cases, updates did not interrupt the trends influencing the island’s placement.

We’re going to continue investigating examples sent to us via our community channels to ensure the system is working as intended.

That being said, there are things you might do during an update that could affect the rows you’re eligible for—such as changing your tags or altering your gameplay. This could potentially shift the eligibility and genre identification of your game and impact your game’s Discover placement as a result.

We also know that updating your game creates a “fork” in your playerbase, where new players will join or backfill into the updated version of the game, while those playing your island at the time of the update will be on the old version until they leave and rejoin. To help avoid impact from this, we recommend updating during times of day that your island experiences a low player count.


Q: Why do rows change so frequently?

We’re constantly looking to find the best way to surface content for players, and as a result, we’re focused on trying new things.

We also know that trends come and go, and we want to be responsive to new types of gameplay that creators have made, like the Tycoon genre that’s become popular in the last few months.


Q: What are the biggest areas you want to improve next year?

We know we have a long way to go towards improving Discover, along with the services that enable you to make good decisions (like Creator Analytics in Creator Portal). We want to significantly improve Creator Analytics in the coming year to enable you to better understand the drivers behind the success of your islands as well as areas that need improvement.

We also want you to have much more agency to attract an audience from off-platform sources and connect with your existing audience. The plan is to improve both the ability to link to social media from your islands, and the ability for players to follow you on Fortnite.

Finally, we’re continuing to improve core functionality—things like content recommendations and text and tag search—as well as making it easier for players to find and navigate your content.


Q: Am I penalized for my success as a creator for having many successful maps? Do you favor new creators?

We don’t favor new creators over existing ones—that’s not a metric we consider in Discover. We do have checks in place to detect creators who are spamming the system, but this is an extreme edge case that rarely occurs. Generally, fewer than ten creators are impacted by these filters each week.
 
For some rows, we look at spacing out content by the same creator, but this does not change the content of the row, just the row order. Again, this is only implemented in rare circumstances. 

*Please note that as of February 12, 2024 creator spacing is no longer used in Discover rows.

Q: Why are certain islands significantly featured in Discover?

Many top islands have exceptional metrics and dedicated fan bases that enable them to retain their spots in Discover for an extended period of time.

These include metrics like minutes per user, player retention, and player attraction (how many players that see the game click into it).

We don’t place any extra weight or preference towards any particular island or creator—every row besides Epic’s Picks and By Epic operates as a blind algorithmic row, considering all published content that hits certain criteria.


Q: It seems like the same genres get repeated all the time. How does Epic encourage creators to make innovative experiences?

We want to show content that players enjoy playing while also making Discover an environment that rewards innovation. 

It’s a balance we are constantly working on—between serving the needs of players while also ensuring we can test awesome boundary-pushing content.

We’re constantly monitoring and assessing the rise of new genres and working to ensure there are rows in Discover that are built to capture those moments.


Q: As a creator, it’s difficult to engage with my audience and build a brand in Discover. Is Epic working on building tools focused around creators?

Yes, we are. We have many things in flight aimed at solving this, including (but not limited to):
  • Text-based search 
  • A device that enables you to link out to your social handles
  • A follow feature that enables players to follow you

Want a peek at the features coming down the pipe? Check out the public roadmap.


Q: There are so many rows in Discover. What are their different purposes?

We’ve worked to build a content showcase that enables games to be seen at various stages of their lifecycle, from its initial publication to subsequent long term updates. The big buckets and their respective objectives are:
  • “New” rows: ensuring as many islands get a chance at meaningful impressions as possible.
  • “Updated” rows: giving impressions to islands that have been updated. This provides an opportunity for islands to be re-ranked in Discover based on improvements made.
  • “Community momentum” rows: rewarding content that’s driving new and returning users to Fortnite. 
  • “Trending” rows (Up & Coming, Gaining Traction, Trending): capturing experiences with swift growth, many of which have gone through the initial New and Updated rows.
  • “Popular” rows: showcasing the most played content in the ecosystem.
  • Genre-based rows: highlighting outstanding performers in each genre.
  • Browse tab: showcasing a wider range of content and enabling players to find particular experiences.


Q: As I think about what experiences to start building, what metric should I focus on to give myself a better chance of being featured in Discover?

There is no catch-all metric that we look at when building our algorithms for Discover, but there are a few qualities we believe bring immense value to the ecosystem. We ask whether games are:
  • Unique
  • Engaging
  • Retentive

Unique: Epic’s Picks looks specifically for unique content. Across the ecosystem, we look to feature games and genres that are pushing the limits of UEFN and Creative tools.

Engaging: Experiences that are unique are also often highly engaging. Games with high minutes per user and CCUs are likely to be featured. For newer games, given the limited data available, we look at the conversion of impressions to players and engagement as a signal.

Retentive: Not all games are designed to be hour-long experiences, and that’s okay. We also consider your retention day over day. The common theme, above all, is a fun experience people want to keep playing.

 

We hope these answers have provided some insight into Discover and given you a few ideas on areas to focus on for your own islands. Stay tuned for more updates that will make finding games and experiences inside Fortnite even easier.