Fortnite's collaboration with Ralph Lauren is the new microtransactions norm

Man holding weapon wearing polo kit
(Image credit: Epic Games)

The latest Fortnite collab was announced, and instead of a free concert, you’ll get to wear your favorite high fashion brand into battle. 

The Fortnite x Polo collaboration will be the next big event coming to Fortnite. From November 5, 2022, Fortnite players will be able to drop into the battle royal kitted out in the latest fashion. 

The skins and accessories are inspired by Ralph Lauren’s 1992 Stadium Collection, known as the iconic streetwear fashion that combined the kits of auto-racing and aviation. The skins look really cool, but is it worth the price tag? 

If you want to get these items, the skin bundle will cost you 1,500 V Bucks, or $11.99 / £9.74 / AUD$18.56, not to mention all the other accessories. 

Trendy collabs  

V bucks are Epic Games' most lucrative asset when it comes to Fortnite. This currency is the gateway to all the new sought-after skins, items, and dances. If you want to purchase these at a discounted price, then getting the Battle Pass is the way to go, but this will still cost you $7.99 / £6.49 / AUD$12.38 separately. 

No matter where you look, monetization is unavoidable in Fortnite. This is true for any free-to-play game; Epic Games needs to make money somehow. However, Fornite also has a noticeably younger audience, who can be impressionable when it comes to the latest trends. 

It’s easy to associate Fortnite with its skins and accessories, as the cosmetics are front and center in every new seasonal update. In the blog post announcing the collaboration, Epic describes the partnership with Polo as combining “courage, perseverance, and style”, which seems a bit much for a couple of virtual skins.  

Ethical shopping 

The widespread acceptance of Epic Games’ approach to monetization in Fortnite will have a wider impact on live service games as a whole. Many games have shifted to free-to-play models to create a cash cow that’ll drip them profits through Battle Passes and in-game purchases. 

Two female characters wearing polo kit

(Image credit: Epic Games)

Overwatch 2 is a great example of this transition. While I love the new abilities, heroes, and map designs in Blizzard’s hero shooter, the Achilles Heel in Overwatch 2 is the in-game purchases. The cost of items is ridiculous, and if you don’t pony up, it will literally take you more than 300 years to unlock everything in the game

If this is the impact of Blizzard focusing on a ‘Fortnite generation’, a group of players grown used to seasonal cosmetic microtransactions, even expectant of them, then it will likely become the norm for smaller developers to follow suit.

It’s easy to be wary of spending money in a new way – just look at the initially slow start of contactless payments – but when big players get on board, the new systems become familiar. Fortnite may be most famous for popularizing the battle royale genre, but you shouldn’t overlook its impact on microtransactions.

Elie Gould
Features Writer

Elie is a Features Writer for TechRadar Gaming, here to write about anything new or slightly weird. Before writing for TRG, Elie studied for a Masters at Cardiff University JOMEC in International Journalism and Documentaries – spending their free time filming short docs or editing the gaming section for their student publications. 

Elie’s first step into gaming was through Pokémon but they've taken the natural next step in the horror genre. Any and every game that would keep you up at night is on their list to play - despite the fact that one of Elie’s biggest fears is being chased.