Gamers logging in to access the relatively new season of the battle royale title were met with the 'Connecting' screen, and nothing else – leaving millions unable to access the game itself.
Usually, there's some downtime when a major update is being pushed through. Every new chapter, which usually brings new skins, new abilities, and an updated layout of the Fortnite map, needs to be offline while this happens.
However, this was unscheduled, and some of the TechRadar team were also caught up in the downtime as we travelled home for the new year.
At around 4PM GMT / 11AM US time, players would try to log in to a match in Fortnite, but would be brought to a screen that would try to connect to the Epic Games' servers.
It wasn't until a visit to Downdetector or Twitter, though, that many users discovered they weren't alone in being unable to play, with Epic Games recognizing the issue soon after.
Fortnite is currently unavailable and players are unable to log-in while we investigate an issue.We'll provide more info when we have a solution to bring services back online. pic.twitter.com/B3wXvu5SL6December 29, 2021
With many users receiving gifts over the holidays, it wouldn't be a stretch to assume that the one game many tried out first was Fortnite.
Combining this with others having to self-isolate due to Covid-19, and it'd be a safe bet to say that the Fortnite servers suffered an unusual amount of overload, bringing the game to a halt for everyone.
However, after approximately six hours, the servers were back online, allowing gamers to dive back into the map with their squad.
Epic Games is also gifting every player an additional present to make up for the downtime. If you've been playing the game in December, you can access a Lodge, which allows you to unwrap a present on certain days, gifting you costumes and skins.
Already opened all your presents but still see one extra present left to open? Sit tight, we're working on that. 🎁December 29, 2021
Analysis: Being caught in the downtime at Kings Cross
Having spent a few days in London, I had brought my Switch along to carry on my progress in Fortnite, as I've been wanting to acquire the Spider-Man skin that's in Chapter 3.
With our train being delayed, we sat at a table, and, having connected my Switch to my iPhone 13 Pro, I decided to earn some more XP.
Not long after this picture was taken, I started to experience significant lag, which is definitely why I finished the match at number 51 out of 100 in battle royale mode.
While it was frustrating for me, it only shows the huge popularity that the game still maintains since it debuted in 2017.
With bizarre team-ups of Master Chief, Superman, Lara Croft, and Spider-Man, this is a big part of what appeals to many players, including me.
It's a game that rewards your efforts through random tasks, and that's why it's an ideal title to play when you have some extra time to spare.
Except when there's some unexpected downtime, of course.
- Here's all the skins you can currently buy in Fortnite
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Daryl had been freelancing for 3 years before joining TechRadar, now reporting on everything software-related. In his spare time he's written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider', alongside podcasting and usually found playing games old and new on his PC and MacBook Pro. If you have a story about an updated app, one that's about to launch, or just anything Software-related, drop him a line.