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Fortnite’s new ‘superstar’ virtual music tour kicks off next week

Epic Games is teasing the biggest in-game event since Travis Scott psychedelically stomped through Fortnite’s virtual meadows.

The mysterious new event, which Fortnite-maker Epic is calling the “Rift Tour,” will kick off on Friday, August 6 and run through Sunday, August 8. In the teaser announcement, Epic invites players to “take a musical journey into magical new realities where Fortnite and a record-breaking superstar collide.”

In-game events building up to the mystery show series will run from July 29 through August 8, so players can hop into Fortnite to check out new Rift Tour-themed quests and rewards now. The cotton candy-colored event will offer a custom loading screen and a fluffy cloud kitty emoticon, among other digital prizes.

The Rift Tour isn’t a one-and-done event. Like the Travis Scott event, Fortnite will host five different show times across three days to make it easier for players to catch. Epic says they’ll have more details to share on Monday, August 2, so Fortnite players will have to wait for more hints or an official announcement about who’s performing.

So… who’s performing? So far, all signs point to Ariana Grande. Leakers have been saying as much for more than a week, and the documents revealed through Epic’s court battle with Apple also detailed plans for in-game events with both Grande and Lady Gaga.

Fortnite Rift Tour

At Forbes, Paul Tassi also connected the dots on how recent leaks point to Grande, including some visual themes from her music videos and a reference to her pet pig, Piggy Smalls.

Since Epic is calling its latest virtual event a tour, that suggests Grande won’t be alone, if she is indeed the mystery superstar. A Lady Gaga appearance could also be in the cards, since Epic apparently had plans for Gaga to appear in a December 2020 concert that never materialized. Kanye West is also releasing his newest album on August 6, but it seems less likely that Epic would be willing to partner with West given his myriad recent controversies. And “Donda,” West’s latest album, was originally scheduled for a different date before being delayed.

Whoever it winds up being, we’ll likely know more on Monday. Even if you’re not a Grande fan or a regular gamer, Fortnite’s in-game concerts are some of the most creative and visually exciting virtual events to date.

Everyone should fall through the metaverse with their friends while a skyscraper-sized virtual rapper shoots neon lightning bolts at least once.

Creator tools startup Spore raises $1M to build closer bonds between influencers and their fans

Few spaces have grown hotter in the past year than the creator economy has, but for all of the new tools available to those starting a podcast, newsletter or storefront, most players have been more focused on building out their own platform opportunity rather than selling full independence to creators.

Spore wants to transform the creator web experience into a Shopify-like basket of tools that users tap into to connect with their audience across a variety of mediums. Spore CEO Austin Hallock is looking to compete with other creator giants for the “link in bio” real estate on social media sites with a white-label option that uses a creator’s own URL, selling an easy-to-build hub focused solely on connecting personalities with their fans.

With Spore, users can manage their audience, communicate with them and analyze what is and isn’t working.

The platform allows for blasting out newsletter updates, podcasts or texts while embedding functionality like storefronts or Discord-like chat feeds into their sites to keep the interactions going 24/7. Creators can also use the tool to convert free subscribers to paying ones, managing the payments flow while also building flows to allow creators to send certain content to their paying fans.

The small startup has raised a $1 million pre-seed round led by SignalFire with additional participation from Justin Kan & Robin Chan’s GOAT, Canaan, Lenny Rachitsky, Nathan Baschez, Justin Waldron and Dave Nemetz, among others.

Spore’s creator platform backend

It’s the first lead investment for former TechCrunch editor Josh Constine in his role at SignalFire (full disclosure: I used to work closely with Josh). Constine started using Spore to build out a site for his regular show on Clubhouse, fellow investor Justin Kan also grew familiar with the team by building out a website for his podcast and YouTube channel.

“I chose Spore as my first lead investment as a VC because it solves creators’ biggest problems by giving them their own white-labeled website they control, and combining all the best content, communication, analytics, and payment tools so creators can spend their time making art instead of being web developers,” Constine tells TechCrunch.

Spore is certainly a small-scale operation at the moment with 4 full-time employees, though they’re hoping to grow their team with this raise. All of these features are in their early MVP stages, but Hallock wants his company to continue building out its utility to creators so that they can build a direct connection with their fans, one that isn’t obfuscated by algorithms..

“We definitely want to give creators ownership,” Hallock tells TechCrunch. “Today, you’re promoting your Linktree page or Patreon rather than just promoting your own brand… We don’t want it to be about Spore.”

This training bundle will teach you how to code your own games

This training bundle will teach you how to code your own games

TL;DR: The Learn Unity Game Development Bundle is on sale for £5.72 as of June 20, saving you 91% on list price.

In many cases, the best way to learn something new is by actually doing it. And these game development courses are super hands-on. 

With this 10-course game development bundle, you’ll start by working with Godot, Unity, and Unreal engines, and as you master those, you’ll begin adding on Python and JavaScript skills as well. Not only will you boost your overall game development skills, but you’ll also learn how to think about games from the inside out, just like the pros do.

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