Whether someone’s a gamer or not, it seems everyone has heard about Fortnite. Making headlines throughout the year for its publisher, Epic Games, Fortnite has continued to shatter sales, play, and demographic records.
Originally launched in 2017, Epic Games offered two versions of Fortnite over a myriad of devices. The shooter game Fortnite: Save the World was available for Windows, Mac, Playstation 4, and Xbox One, with Fortnite: Battle Royale released on the same PC and console platforms, as well as Nintendo Switch and Apple iOS.
While Fortnite games share the same game engine, the free-to-play (F2P) mobile version has been creating most of the buzz around the franchise. Much of this is due to additional momentum created by the booming mobile gaming industry, which is estimated to reach $150 billion by the end of 2018.
While Epic Games hasn’t released official revenue numbers, a report by analytics firm SuperData Research indicates that Fortnite has generated more than $1.2 billion for the company through in-app purchases — which includes a premium subscription service. This is big money for a “free” game. Perhaps more impressively, however, this has all been accomplished without an Android version of Fortnite being available.
With top gamers streaming their gameplays and celebrities like comedian Joel McHale and NBA Player Paul George getting in on the action, over 125 million people are said to be playing Fortnite across all of its platforms. According to SuperData Research, this has translated to monthly revenue of $300 million for Fortnite’s publisher. As Fortnite fever spreads and the Android version of the game premieres, Epic Games could see even bigger increases in both plays and revenue moving forward.
Fortnite’s extreme popularity can be attributed to the social nature of multiplayer gameplay and ability to play on multiple platforms including mobile devices, which helped the game blow up seemingly overnight. The ever-changing nature of the game itself helps to foster its addictiveness; while video games were historically released in new volumes and expansion packs with months-long gaps between updates, Fortnite exists in a “persistent online world that’s always under construction.” This helps to keep gameplay novel so players don’t get bored and move on to the next hot game; in contrast, players keep playing and getting their friends to sign up, too.
In its first three weeks on the App Store, Fortnite’s iOS version made $15 million. After 90 days, that number had grown to $100 million. Fortnite’s free model offers in-app purchases, which is where the bulk of its revenue comes from. However, unlike other popular battle royale games, Fortnite doesn’t focus on selling bigger virtual guns or more impressive ammunition. Instead, the add-ons are largely superficial, with costumes and dances among popular options. By choosing to only offer purchases for cosmetic items, Fortnite keeps gameplay competitive, balanced, and fair for all players, which keeps fans invested in the game.
A survey by LendEDU found that 68.8% of Fortnite players have made in-game purchases, with the average amount among these players being $84.67. Another impressive figure from the firm claimed that 36.7% of these players had never purchased items within a game before. These Fortnite statistics indicate that the free-to-play app isn’t just paying off for Epic Games, it’s pushing the business model further for the entire mobile gaming industry.
Compared with spending averages for other mobile games, Fortnite has become the app to beat. As of April 2018, Fortnite for iOS had reached $1,921.807 in revenue per day, while Candy Crush Saga was in second with $1,297,975, Pokémon GO in third with $995,417, Candy Crush Soda Saga placed fourth with $660,381, and Slottomania: Vegas Slots Casino took fifth with $584,012. During the same period, all other iPhone gaming apps were below the half-million mark.
“Let’s Play” videos are big on streaming websites like YouTube and Twitch, and Fortnite’s popularity is breaking records with both gaming influencers and their fans. In January, Fortnite videos were uploaded more than any other video game, while it set a record in February for most global gaming uploads in a single month. This has translated to a dramatic increase in subscribers and followers for many of the internet’s top gaming influencers, with Ali-A claiming that Fortnite helped him to attract 1 million more subscribers in January 2018. Fortnite star Ninja also saw big increases during the year and now boasts a YouTube channel with over 15.6 million subscribers and a Twitch channel of more than 9.7 followers.
Let’s Play Index’s weekly tally currently shows Fortnite clocking more than 187 million views from the 5,134 Fortnite videos uploaded in just the past week. While these numbers fluctuate, Fortnite is currently in third place among weekly view averages behind powerhouses Minecraft and Grand Theft Auto V.
Fortnite’s biggest competition in the battle royale space is the hugely popular PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) game, which launched before Fortnite. With 40% of gamers playing both titles, the two gaming industry competitors overlap considerably among consumers. However, for gamers that play only one of the two games, those aged 10 to 30 years-old prefer Fortnite by 8% over PUBG. Students also tend toward Fortnite, racking up 7% more players in the demographic than its competitor.
Fortnite: Battle Royale has managed to overtake PUBG in popularity in a relatively short amount of time. PUBG’s creator, Bluehole, has sued Fortnite’s creator, Epic Games, for copyright infringement. The lawsuit asserts that Epic Games copied some of PUBG’s core elements including user interface and in-game items. Bluehole initiated a lawsuit because PUBG is built on the gaming engine known as the Unreal Engine, a product developed by Epic Games. Bluehole pays substantial royalties to Epic Games for its use of the Unreal Engine, thus they expect business support from Epic Games. To date, Epic Games has drawn millions of gamers from PUGB into the world of Fortnite: Battle Royale.
Related Post: Fortnite—The Ultimate Marketer’s Guide
With 400 million total players and 87 million playing daily, PUBG is a monster in the arena of gaming. While free-to-play on iOS and Android, PUBG’s PC and console versions need to be purchased. Ranking just fifth behind esteemed bestsellers such as Tetris, Minecraft, Grand Theft Auto V, and Wii Sports, PUBG has done a remarkable job straddling both pay and free-to-play versions of its game. Interestingly, demographics may factor in here, with a larger percentage of PUBG players identifying as “core gamers,” and 15% more of them employed full-time over Fortnite players. These Fortnite statistics supports the trend of younger and casual gamers being drawn to the game.
Tyler “Ninja” Blevins is one of the most notable professional gamers today. He revealed earlier in the 2018 that he earned $500,000 per month playing Fortnite. Using the gaming livestream network Twitch.tv, where Ninja is the #1 most followed streamer, he brings in money mostly from user donation and monthly subscription fees. Ninja also brings in Fortnite revenue from his YouTube channel, where he has more than 5 million subscribers.
Most kills across all platforms for fortnite? UHM LETS GO pic.twitter.com/3wREORhMJ5
— Ninja (@Ninja) January 28, 2018
Ninja has broken many records, including most kills across all platforms for Fortnite and most concurrent Twitch viewers, which topped out at 667,000 viewers in April 2018.
According to a statement by Epic Games, $100 million will be issued toward Fortnite competitions between 2018 and 2019 — the most ever offered by a gamemaker for competitive play. The publisher’s strategy isn’t just to encourage more people to play the game, but to entice more viewers as well.
Competitions had been generating solid numbers for Fortnite even before the announcement. Earlier this year, 100 creators (the maximum amount of players allowed in a single battle) streamed their gameplay, garnering an impressive 42 million viewers. The competition also delivered a new record outside of an official eSports event when gamer ElrubiusOMG logged 1.1 million concurrent streams during the competition.
Fortnite was mentioned in more than 2,500 articles around E3, making it the media’s most referenced game at the event. Additionally, Fortnite saw huge amounts of social media love online during the Celebrity Pro-Am Tournament, amassing 250,000 tweets throughout the competition. Fortnite statistics like these truly illustrate the social media virality that the game embodies.
With Epic Games throwing $100 million at competitions, record-shattering numbers from “Let’s Play” videos, and the forthcoming release of the Fortnite’s Android app, the monumental title is likely to capture even more headlines throughout the year.