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Volume 26 No. 25
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NFL's Fortnite Deal Still On Despite Skins Pulled From In-Game Store

Some Fortnite users created a Michael Vick-like character with a dog
Photo: FORTNITE

The NFL is not done with Fortnite just yet. Less than two weeks after having NFL uniforms go on digital sale within the popular video game, the league appeared to reverse course. Speculation swirled that the league had cut ties after gamers posed characters in uniforms with guns, kneeling and other acts that have drawn controversial headlines for the league in recent years. One showed a character in a Michael Vick's Falcons uniform with a dog on his back, while another showed late Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez with a gun. However, a source close to the NFL said the cessation of the digital uniform sale -- called skins in the game's lingo -- was always planned. “The execution here around the outfits being in the store for a limited time was all completely planned,” the source said. “If you know ‘Fortnite,’ you know this is normal course of business for special skins that go in and out of their store. I can say the jerseys will definitely be back this season.” Jon Moses, an esports investor and Take Two Interactive board member, said the NFL and other leagues will have to get over gamers using the skins in ways perhaps the leagues would not want them to. “I remember going back to the early Internet 1.0 in the 1990s, I started my business in 1998, we had advertisers and people showing up with a screen shot of their ads on unsavory pages,” he recalled. “You know people got over it.” Moses said it was his understanding that the source close to the NFL is correct and that “Fortnite” always planned the uniform skins as a test. Moses said his son bought a Steelers jersey skin and expects to use it in “Fortnite” for a long time. “It was a brilliant marketing move,” he said. “By both.”