Ariana Grande to perform at ‘Fortnite’ concert

The 28-year-old singer’s avatar is a human-fantasy creature hybrid dressed in either a silver skirt and top or a short outfit made of blue scales.

In this file photo taken on May 20, 2018 recording artist Ariana Grande performs onstage during the 2018 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. (AFP)

An avatar of Ariana Grande will appear in the popular video game Fortnite and perform some of the pop superstar’s greatest hits over the weekend, in an event highlighted by game maker Epic Games to showcase their new strategy.

In five different rounds, to target all time zones, players can choose an option that will let them go on an adventure with Grande.

The 28-year-old singer’s avatar is a human-fantasy creature hybrid dressed in either a silver skirt and top or a short outfit made of blue scales.

During the rounds, which last about half an hour, several of the Grammy winner’s songs will play, including “Be Alright” and “Positions.”

‘Partnership with real world activities’

Grande-themed merchandise will also be available in the game’s store.

The special appearance is part of a shift for Fortnite from a survival game to a general entertainment platform.

“That’s a big area where we want to innovate because Fortnite should always really exist in partnership with real world activities,” Phil Rampulla, head of brand at Epic Games, told AFP.

“We are not replacing concerts, we are not replacing movies, we are existing in harmony with those things and extending and enhancing those things.”

A juggernaut of the video game industry, Fortnite boasts about 350 million gamers throughout the world.

“South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have signed a massive deal to make 14 movies of their enduring satirical cartoon for streaming service Paramount+, as Hollywood’s frenzied scramble for online content accelerates.

While MTV Entertainment Studios – which like Paramount+ is owned by parent corporation ViacomCBS – did not release any financial figures, Bloomberg News put the deal at $900 million, which would make it one of the largest in television history.

The Paramount+ streaming platform launched in March in a bid to compete in a crowded and content-hungry marketplace led by the likes of Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime.

In a statement, MTV Entertainment’s Chris McCarthy said developing new content with “tremendous talent like Matt and Trey, is at the heart of our strategy to continue growing Paramount+.”

The deal also includes multiple new series of “South Park” for television network Comedy Central, which will see the long-running satire reach its 30th year by 2027.

“Streaming wars”

“South Park,” set in small-town America and known for crude language and lampooning hot-button social issues since 1997, has already spawned one film, multiple video games and other merchandise.

“Comedy Central has been our home for 25 years and we’re really happy that they’ve made a commitment to us for the next 75 years,” said Parker and Stone in the joint statement.

“We can’t wait to get back to doing traditional South Park episodes but now we can also try out new formats,” they added.

While ViacomCBS did not immediately comment on the $900 million figure, it would put the deal on a par with Reese Witherspoon’s sale of her Hello Sunshine company to a new private equity-backed media venture this week.

It also comes after Amazon in May agreed to buy MGM studios for $8.45 billion.

Other streaming platforms recently launched by major media and tech companies to join the so-called “streaming wars” include HBO Max, Peacock and Apple TV+, each seeking vast content libraries to attract and retain subscribers.

ViacomCBS said Wednesday that it had reached 42 million streaming subscribers. Current market leader Netflix has more than 200 million.

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