Fortnite: Battle Royale most's popular streamer broke Twitch records last week when he teamed up with Drake, and the game's audience continues to grow now that a mobile version is in beta. And thanks to the game's Twitch Prime loot, there's now a small black market for Fortnite skins on Ebay as well.
In February, Fornite surpassed PUBG as the most popular game on Twitch with over 3.4 million concurrent players.
More recently, the hype around it has drawn in internet celebrities like the Paul brothers looking for their next gimmick. That seedier side of the game's community has also attracted other schemes, including people compromising other players' accounts and making fraudulent charges with them.
People flipping Fortnite skins for a few quick bucks on Ebay, spotted earlier this month on Reddit, now appears to be another. A few big sellers and several more copycats have been charging people anywhere between $US4 ($5) and $US10 ($13) for the game's current Twitch Prime loot pack, which includes legendary skins for players' characters in the game.
Almost all of the listings make sure to note that you aren't buying the items themselves, just access to a Twitch Prime account they can be redeemed on.
The sellers claim that upon payment they will provide access to the accounts so buyers can redeem the loot, connect it to their Fortnite accounts, and then collect it in the game. A few of the product pages even have reviews from verified purchasers. "It was quick, easy and great it was worth my money," wrote one person.
Where all of these Twitch Prime accounts are coming from is unclear. It could just be that people who already have Amazon Prime and don't give a damn about Fortnite are trying to cash in on the rewards that platform gives them over month. There could also be hacking or bots involved. Just as likely though, some people are simply making duplicate Twitch Prime accounts to make a quick few bucks on Ebay.
You see, it's actually not hard to do, at least from my limited experience.
Earlier today I wanted to see if there were any obstacles to making a new Twitch Prime account. First I made a new Twitch account using the fake account name "fakeaccount42069blazeit" (believe it or not fakeaccount42069 was already taken). I made up a fake gmail address using the same name and was in.
Then I tried to link an Amazon Prime account. To do this I made up new Amazon Prime account using the same fake account name and email address. While I needed to enter a real credit card to secure the free month trial, it didn't matter that it was one already linked to my actual Amazon Prime account.
The two accounts linked, my Fortnite skins were redeemable, and I was able to cancel the membership immediately so I wouldn't get charged. I have no idea whether some people are doing this to Fortnite cosmetics on Ebay, but it does show just how potentially open to abuse and exploitation the platform could be.
Twitch's community guidelines strictly forbid doing stuff like sharing or selling accounts, services, or features, but that hasn't yet put a dampener on the Ebay black market for Twitch Prime Fortnite loot.
"We've seen large numbers of players trying Twitch Prime for the first time, getting free loot, and using their first monthly free channel subscription," a Twitch spokesperson told Kotaku. They didn't comment specifically on the matter of reselling skins, but added that the platform hasn't currently seen anything that would indicate bots were behind it.