The numbers coming from SuperData, the research division of Nielsen dedicated to video games, underline how the popularity of Fortnite has now stabilized. So no longer just a phenomenon, the title of almost 300 million players worldwide is now a certainty, definitely in terms of costume, partnerships, expansion of popularity in areas and audiences before fasting the Epic Games game, but also and above all in terms of money. The game, in its various monetization components, grossed something like $ 1.8 billion. Sure, a little less than the previous year, when it reached 2.4 billion, but still $ 200 million above its fiercest competitor, Nexon’s Dungeon Fighter Online, first released in 2005 and one of the titles most successful in history, with revenues that touched a total amount of 12 billion dollars last year.
Released in 2017, the video game features three distinct modes that share the same graphics engine: Save the World, Battle Royale and Creative Mode.
Fortnite: Save the World
The save the world mode is set in a post-apocalyptic land, where the sudden appearance of a global storm has made 98% of the population disappear, partially replaced by dangerous zombie-like creatures. Fortnite offers cooperation modes for up to four players to accomplish various missions to collect resources, build fortifications around targets that are intended to help fight the storm and protect survivors, and build weapons and traps to deal with the waves of these creatures. Players get rewards through these missions to improve their skills. The game also features microtransactions to purchase game currency (V-bucks), which can be used to obtain updates. This mode was released on Microsoft Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Fortnite Battle Royale
Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode is set on an island where 100 players fight for survival. The mode was officially launched by Epic Games on September 26, 2017, while the trailer was released on Youtube on September 20. The game has different modes: single, in pairs or in teams of three or four players, while there are also limited time modes (LTM). Some of these modes can also become permanent, such as: Team Rumble and Battle Lab.
On 3 July 2018, a mode was launched that is called the Playground, where one or more players, up to a maximum of 16, have the entire map available, and the possibility of using codes to access maps of the Creative mode for about 4h where they can test their skills and test their imagination through massive constructions and fights, the Playground mode was later incorporated into the Creative mode.
The game starts in a small square, where players can choose to go to Battle Royale island or a featured creative island. The game ends when only one player is left or when the end-of-game storm kills you.
It is a free mode like Fortnite Battle Royale, where you can create maps and games with the rules you want. Published in December 2018, it has been very successful and it is often updated with new content. The constructions are similar to Battle Royale, in fact every microtransaction performed in one of the two modes will be automatically transferred to the other mode. It is available on every platform together with Fortnite Battle Royale.
After the mysterious “black hole” of October the game reached the second chapter.
During the months Fortnite left the limited world of its fans and landed everywhere. Who can’t remember the many crossovers. The Marshmello concert from 10 million spectators like the Avengers, the series of objects including lightsabers coming from Star Wars world and the trailer of the last movie of the saga, the event dedicated to the Netflix series Stranger Things, and John Wick, the killer brought to the screen six years ago by Keanu Reeves – with skins, costumes, sold for 1500 and 2000 V-Bucks, and just to have an idea V-Bucks are not free. You can have 1,000 V-Bucks for $9.99, 2,500 (+300 Bonus) V-Bucks for $24.99, 6,000 (+1,500 Bonus) V-Bucks for $59.99.
But the game, as much as it grinds record revenue with the purchase of accessories, weapons, skins and emotes (the ballets for victory), is free. The point is that largely those accessories change nothing in terms of the character’s ability, so they are not really necessary to play and win.
Nevertheless SuperData notes that Fortnite in spite of having fewer players than other titles like League of Legends, it is much more capable to push them to purchase “in-game”, a passage that many other free to play games fail to accomplish. This happens for various reasons, but mainly because the game is able to create an online space familiar to hundreds of millions of people, almost beyond what happens on it.
In fact Fortnite is not only an undoubted economic triumph, it is a social success too, with over 30 million views on social networks, that is certainly a sign that many people simply enjoy watching these games as an entertainment content, rather than playing them. This simple fact projects Fortnite towards far more articulated perspectives than what they might look like now. Tim Sweeney, CEO and founder of Epic Games, would seem to have rather ambitious plans in store. A few days ago, on Twitter, he replied promisingly to a user who asked him if he saw Fortnite as a simple game or something more: “Fortnite is a game. But please ask that question again in 12 months.”
There are no precise indications on what will happen at the moment, but it is almost a certainty that the brand will end up expanding again. Therefore, after toys, merchandising of various kind and action figures, the partnerships already seen, Fortnite could take any possible way – maybe a comic book, an animated series, a film…
A Video Game Industry Overview
According to SuperData, the video game industry – considered as a whole of the mobile, PC, console, also including augmented and virtual reality segments as well as eSports – grew by 4% last year, moving a turnover of over 120 billion dollars. And it should continue on this path also in 2020.
A further analysis shows that of that amount a big slice of 64.4 billions is related to games for smartphones, 29.6 to those for PC and only 15.4 to those for consoles. Smartphones are therefore the ones that produce the heaviest income, and basically the videogame industry itself, with the multi-platform streaming in the style of PlayStation Now or Stadia, is going in this direction. Much less, 6.5 billions, ends up in gaming video content (GVC) with Amazon’s Twitch, Microsoft’s Mixer, Youtube and Facebook, while 6.3 are related to games based on virtual, augmented and mixed reality (XR). SuperData also points out that 74% of this huge pot comes from the free-to-play kind of games, that is almost 4 out of every 5 dollars spent on digital games in 2019, a trend that is expected to persist in 2020.