The success of Fortnite is big enough to share
Fortnite can seemingly do no wrong. With the game’s goofy graphics, gratifying action, effective monetization, and frequent updates, Epic Games has created a phenomenon. It’s been nine months since its release and the game is still growing in viewers, players, and revenue.
But when one game is achieving this level of success everyone else stands to lose as well, right?
Fortnite has grown without disrupting the bottom line or player base of a surprising number of free-to-play games. For example, the title has increased its console revenue in May at a rate of 12% month-over-month, while other free-to-play console games stayed more or less consistent.
It’s not just revenue, either. In terms of players, Fortnite continues to rise alongside other free-to-play console titles. Fortnite increased its monthly console users by just over 4% month-over-month in May, while games like SMITE and Brawlhalla grew by 8% and 9%, respectively. It’s clear that Fortnite Battle Royale does not mean the end for other free-to-play console games but quite the opposite. Epic Games is bringing more attention to console gaming with their cross-platform play and there have been few downsides for other titles.
However, the same cannot be said for free-to-play PC games. The player base of League of Legends is taking a big hit. The game has been bleeding users since November of last year, just two months after Fortnite was released. Other top free-to-play PC games are subject to cycles of users that Fortnite has not interrupted. For example, Dota 2 increasing its monthly active players in March for the first time in four months with the release of Dota Plus.
Then there is PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), the game that started the battle royale craze and is most similar to Fortnite. Since February, the title lost 5M monthly active players on PC and made only $33M in revenue in May, down from $91M in February. The game suffers from several problems, from cheaters and hackers to poor optimization, and Fortnite will continue to grow as PUBG fails to deliver.
Even more noticeable than its impact on playing habits is how Fortnite Battle Royale is redefining gaming video content (GVC). In the month of May people tuned in to watch over 574M hours of Fortnite Battle Royale content, a growth of nearly 14% from the previous month. The next closest game was League of Legends with 156M hours of content viewed, which was an increase of 8% month-over-month for the title. Fortnite Battle Royale isn’t primarily pulling viewers away from other games but is either sharing viewers or bringing in completely new ones.
Fortnite Battle Royale isn’t sucking all the air out of the free-to-play games market but is actually bringing attention to many previously overlooked areas, such as free-to-play console games. Fortnite Battle Royale is not a threat to all publishers, but an opportunity, as long as they’re positioned to act on it.