Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar added to Fortnite as unlockable 'player skin'
Neymar's recruitment is part of a strategy by Epic Games to expand the universe of Fortnite beyond its kill-or-be-killed 'Battle Royale' by wheeling in the sports, music and film worlds.
Paris: Gamers are used to taking control of Neymar in virtual football pitches, but the Brazilian star has found a new field to run wild on: the shoot'em up mega-hit Fortnite.
Neymar's recruitment is part of a strategy by Epic Games to expand the universe of Fortnite beyond its kill-or-be-killed "Battle Royale" by wheeling in the sports, music and film worlds.
The footballer follows in the footsteps of US rapper Travis Scott, whose avatar performed five virtual concerts on Fortnite last year seen by 12 million players.
The game, which has 350 million users (more than the US population), has also hosted a "Short Nite" film festival and a "Party Royale" — a virtual party with famous DJs.
"In a time like now, where getting together in person is more challenging, we think it's incredibly important to have these social connected experiences virtually," Nate Nanzer, head of global partnerships at Epic Games, told AFP.
"We definitely think of Fortnite as a platform for social connected experiences and not just the game."
Users have been able to put the kits of football teams such as Manchester City and Juventus on their avatars since the start of the year, but Neymar is the first athlete with an unlockable "player skin".
Nanzer said Neymar's selection made sense because the footballer is a fan of the game — he streams himself playing Fortnite live on Twitch — and has nearly 150 million Instagram followers.
After a stoppage of around 45 minutes at the Benito Villamarin, the Spanish federation (RFEF) confirmed the last-16 game had been abandoned, with the score at 1-1.
The Egyptian will be missing for the rest of the month as he leads his country at the Africa Cup of Nations.
The Egypt international has fewer than 18 months remaining on his current deal and has reiterated whether he stays or goes remains in the hands of Liverpool.