Epic has started a new form of collaboration with creators and influencers in its “Icon” series. They dabbled in that previously with Marshmello and Major Lazer skins, but now they’re going to their own players and content creators. The first big skin debut was Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, who came with multiple styles, an emote and a mining tool.
Later, leaks started to emerge about two emotes, one that was very clearly for streamer Pokimane, with another being either for Jordan Fisher or BenjyFishy (it was Jordan). But those appeared to be only about an fan-submitted emote contest Epic was running, and we did not see any Pokimane or Jordan Fisher skins as a follow up.
This week, I already wrote one article about how fans were taking to design programs to make their own “Icon” skins for creators from Valkyrae to Nick Mercs to Dr.Lupo. One creator I featured was @D3NNI_yt, who has done Tfue and Arianna Grande skins (a *lot* of Arianna Grande skins) in traditional “Fortnite” style, among others.
His latest work you can see above. That would be a full on Pokimane skin with two different styles and emote back bling. He released it a few days after my article because he wanted to gauge Poki’s reaction live when she was streaming. Well, here’s her reaction, and she seems to love it:
Pokimane is a massive presence in the online creator scene, with 1.6 million/4.47 million/4.5 million followers on Twitter, YouTube and Instagram respectively, and 92 million lifetime Twitch views. When I heard that Epic had chosen her as a new Icon feature, I was not surprised, but I was a little surprised when her emote was not follow up by a skin.
It stands to reason that Epic will pick a female content creator to follow up the Ninja skin, not just for the sake of parity, but also because well, female skins sell extremely well in Fortnite, as they always win fan votes and are generally some of the most popular skins in the game’s history. The mind boggles as to how much a Pokimane skin would sell, but I would not be surprised to see one out-do even Ninja’s.
The introduction of Icon skins raises some interesting questions about licensing and likeness. It’s not clear how much Epic is paying Icons for their skins, and whether that’s a revenue split for sales, or a one-time fee, or both (I would guess both). I asked Ninja’s manager and wife Jess Blevins about the specifics, but she said they were under NDA, which is obviously not surprising.
The only announced collaborations for the Icon series Epic has talked about has been with Loserfruit and TheGrefg, which could be skins, or could be something else like more emotes. Skins are obviously a big investment, but it’s hard not to look at one like Pokiman’s here and think that it should make its way to the game in some capacity. We’ll have to see if that’s in the cards as this project continues.