Fortnite: 'Millions attend' virtual Marshmello concert

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A virtual stage with lights, pyrotechnics, and holograms. Marshmello - a DJ with a large marshmello on his head - is playing the stage.Image source, Marshmello/Fortnite
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Marshmello held the first ever Fortnite concert live from the game's Pleasant Park area

Move over Adam Levine.

While the Maroon 5 singer was courting controversy for his Super Bowl half-time show on Sunday, video game fans were revelling in the afterglow of a different live performance.

"Millions attended" a concert on Saturday starring masked DJ Marshmello, who played a set including 2018 hits Everyday and Happier.

The twist? The concert was entirely virtual, briefly turning Fortnite from third-person shooter into music venue.

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When players logged in to Fortnite - which has over 125 million players, according to developers Epic - players were met with only one competitive game mode available to them.

By joining the Showtime mode at 19:00 GMT, players would see a large concert stage featuring a Marshmello avatar and trademark turntables.

As the music played, Marshmello himself was being broadcast to players, urging them to make their avatars dance along to the music.

The show itself was around 10 minutes in duration and filled with interactive moments, with players being launched into the air during Fly and bouncing beach balls during Happier.

The set, which has been viewed over 11 million times, can be seen on Marshmello's YouTube channel.

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'First-ever live performance'

Plenty applauded what they called the "first-ever live performance in a video game", but this claim has since been disproved on social media.

Minecraft hosted Coalchella festival in 2018 - a pun on real-life festival Coachella - though this came five years after EDM label Monstercat hosted a live charity festival in the block-building game.

Meanwhile, virtual gigs became almost synonymous with simulation game Second Life in the 00s.

U2 gave a live performance in 2008, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra was broadcast live in 2007, and BBC Radio 1 simulcast its One Big Weekend event on a virtual stage in 2006.

And that's not even mentioning the mash-up with Duran Duran, which saw the new wave act perform live gigs in the in-game Duran Duran Universe.

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Gaming musicians

There has always been a type of symbiotic relationship between music artists and video games.

A whole genre of games starred virtual avatars of bands like Green Day and The Beatles, and a pre-recorded virtual concert could be found in 2003's Tony Hawk's Underground.

The history of gaming is littered with examples of musicians showing up in games, with David Bowie appearing in 1999's The Nomad Soul, and Michael Jackson starring in his own game in 1993's eponymous Moonwalker.

Whether Marshmello's appearance in Fortnite will kick off a new craze of live concerts in video games is yet to be seen.