Update, March 27: A new report details just how popular the battle royale genre is these days.
While the battle royale landgrab may be something of a running joke, there’s a reason why it’s happening. The success of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds wasn’t a fluke if the similarly meteoric rise of Fortnite is any indication, and according to a new report nearly a third of PC gamers are playing some kind of battle royale.
Get a fabled victory royale with our Fortnite Battle Royale guide.
That report comes from analysts Newzoo, whose data is drawn from PC gamers using Overwolf, a software platform enabling devs to create extensions for videogames. As such, Newzoo say their data reflect the PC hardcore.
Those data indicate that 30.1% of PC players spent time in February enjoying the genre. Fortnite has a 16.3% share of all PC players according to the data, while PUBG has 14.6%. Other games including DayZ, H1Z1, and Ark: Survival of the Fittest are all much lower on the list, with far less than 5% each. Though it seems a chunk of players are enjoying multiple battle royales, since those numbers add up to more than the 30.1% total.
Most of PUBG’s success remains centered in Asia, with 52% of players in China playing the game in February versus Fortnite’s 1% share of the market in the same period. PUBG’s apparently even outdoing League of Legends in China, with Riot’s MOBA holding “only” a 23.3% player share.
Fortnite’s pulling ahead worldwide, however, and that’s reflected in part on video services like Twitch and YouTube. Fortnite holds 17.9% of daily viewership hours while PUBG has 11.8%. Fortnite’s set multiple new streaming records, breaking Twitch’s individual streamer record and stretching for new concurrent viewer records on YouTube’s gaming side.
Update, March 19: Fortnite Mobile has topped iOS charts in 13 countries.
Fortnite Mobile is the top-selling iPhone app in 13 countries, including the USA and the UK, offering a healthy boosts to the game's overall player numbers.
The app became the best-selling app in 13 countries less than 12 hours after its release, coming in the top five in a further 12. It's worth noting that that's not for the games chart - Fortnite Mobile is the best-selling app in the world, currently beating out YouTube for the top spot.
To make that progress even more impressive, it's currently not possible to simply buy the game - you have to have an invite from Epic before you can download it. There is mobile/PC cross-play available, but only for mobile players that opt-in to playing with PC players. You can find out more about how Fortnite Mobile works here.
Apple don't release sales stats, so we don't know exactly how many copies Fortnite Mobile has shifted so far. What we do know is that there are more than 50,000 ratings on the store, but that's a drop in the ocean when compared to the millions of people playing the PC version at last count. We've reached out to Epic for a better idea of the numbers, and we'll update this article with any new information.
Update, February 8: Fortnite is still hitting new records, but servers are struggling to keep up.
Fortnite reached record highs over the weekend, but it wasn’t all good news for Epic’s latest shooter. The game reached a new peak of 3.4 million concurrent players on Sunday, but the massive load led to a number of outages, and Epic have provided a detailed explanation of what went wrong.
You can see the full technical details in the postmortem, but essentially Fortnite is gaining popularity at a rate far beyond Epic’s expectations. They’re working now to identify the specific bottlenecks in their server structure, expand their capacity, and bring more engineers on board in order to make sure they can handle the load.
The good part of the news is that 3.4 million concurrent users is a massively impressive new record, especially since it tops PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ high of 3.2 million. Epic reported a peak of 2 million just a few weeks ago, so there’s been some very rapid growth for the game. These numbers are spread across what are essentially two separate games including a free Battle Royale mode, and they include PC and two home consoles. PUBG is paid across the board, and is only available on PC and Xbox One - and the concurrent user numbers we can see only include the Steam version.
But Fortnite is also not yet officially available in China, and that country has proven to be the biggest contributor to PUBG’s success. Outside the genre, Riot have reported a 7.5 million concurrent user record for League of Legends, and that number’s from well over a year ago. There’s still plenty of room for battle royale games to grow.
Update, January 19: Fortnite has picked up another five million players to bring its total player count to 45 million.
It’s been one heck of a week for Epic Games. It’s only been four days since we learnt Fortnite had reached 40 million players and, in that time, another five million have jumped on the Battle Bus. That brings the total number of players to 45 million and the concurrent user count to over two million this past weekend.
It’s likely this surge of players is due to Fortnite Battle Royale’s new updated map, which was remodelled on January 18.
The update has added new points of interest to the map including a motel, new city, underground mine, and a variety of other new locations on the island’s western side. The new patch also included biomes to give each area its own unique environment.
Update, January 15: In just over a month, Fortnite has picked up another 10 million players.
Another month, another 10 million. Fortnite's growth has been incredible since launching its free-to-play battle royale mode.
"We're just absolutely floored," Fortnite's lead systems designer, Eric Williamson, says.
Epic also told us that Fortnite's peak concurrents also hit a new high of 2 million.
"We're really thrilled by the excitement for Battle Royale," Williamson told us over Skype. "At the same time we see it as a challenge to continue iterating and improving our game. We've been releasing a lot of updates, almost every week really, to improve the core game and add new gameplay affecting stuff. We don't really have any intention of slowing down there."
Update, December 8: Fortnite has achieved another major player milestone, with 30 million players in total and a concurrent user count over 1.3 million this past weekend.
Fortnite’s success has continued to grow, and at The Game Awards Epic announced another major set of milestones. The game has seen 30 million players total, and over the past weekend managed to reach 1.3 million concurrent users.
Eric Williamson, senior systems designer at Epic, tells us they’re not at liberty to disclose the specific split between Battle Royale and standard fortnite, but he can say “Battle Royale is free, so naturally more people will be inclined to play Battle Royale.” PR manager Nick Chester adds that Epic are pleased with the growth of both sides of the game.
The addition of a free Battle Royale mode has led to frequent comparisons against PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, which is quickly approaching a peak player count of over 3 million. That’s despite both being a premium-priced game and only being available on PC, neither of which are disadvantages for Fortnite’s take on the genre.
Still, even with a major component of the game being free-to-play, Fortnite’s numbers have continued to impress.
Update, November 6: Fortnite now has 20 million players, and PUBG will hit that same number very soon.
The battle royale for battle royale games is on, and the top two standing right have both seen quite a bit of success. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is the most impossibly popular game in recent memory, but Fortnite has hit one significant milestone ahead of it with 20 million unique players.
We just passed 20 million players across all of Fortnite since launch! Thanks from the bottom of our pic.twitter.com/LuVV5vb7wj— Fortnite (@FortniteGame) November 6, 2017
That’s a bit ahead of PUBG, which according to SteamSpy looks poised to hit 20 million mark by the end of the week.
It’s not quite a one to one comparison, since Fortnite is available across three different platforms and its battle royale mode - the whole reason this comparison keeps happening - is free. Meanwhile, PUBG’s number is currently all on PC, and most of those players have paid the full purchase price.
Update, October 31: Server issues over the weekend didn't stop Fortnite Battle Royale from increasing reaching a concurrent player count of more than 800,000.
Fortnite Battle Royale is closing back in on a major milestone. Yesterday, Epic Games tweeted to say that the game mode saw a peak player count that suggests the game is fast returning to one million concurrent players.
The tweet, which was posted yesterday evening, was in response to a swathe of server troubles experienced over the weekend. Login issues started on Friday night, and as issues developed over time, servers eventually had to be taken down for maintenance, disabling Squads - groups of three or four - from queuing up for games.
Fortnite apologised for the issues players had faced over the weekend , before saying “the battle bus had 811K concurrent players on Sunday. We’re working hard to keep it in the air.” The game's launch weekend did see Fortnite Battle Royale reach one million players, but it's good to see it maintain its community.
We’re sorry for the trouble this weekend. The Battle Bus had 811K concurrent players on Sunday. We're working hard to keep it in the air.— Fortnite (@FortniteGame) October 30, 2017
While that figure pales in comparison to the kind of player numbers that PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is experiencing, it’s still pretty impressive. According to SteamSpy, Dota 2 registered a peak concurrent player count of a little under 740,000 on Sunday. When PUBG was hovering around that figure a few weeks ago, few imagined it would continue to grow so fast, so there could be big things still to come for Fortnite.
Update, October 11: Watch out, PUBG, because Fortnite Battle Royale has hit over 10,000,000 unique players.
Battle royale games. You may have heard of them. They’re getting quite popular, what with the inconceivable success of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Yet the genre current runner-up is no slouch, either, as Fortnite’s take on the genre has been posting some impressive numbers of its own.
Last weekend we heard that the game had hit over 500k concurrent users and 3.7 million daily active users, and today Epic have announced that the mode has now had a total of 10,000,000 players.
Epic have also provided some other stats, like 44,494,571 hours played, 292,715,319 jumps from the battle bus, and 58,925,337, along with appropriately memetic comparisons, including a very timely reference to traps in Return of the Jedi. But I do have a point of contention, Epic - there was in fact one trap. That’s why Ackbar says “it’s a trap.” (In fairness, it wasn’t the spiky floor variety.)
Fortnite was a success even before the release of Battle Royale, but there’s no doubt its ability to competently ride the coattails of PUBG has meant a rocketing success for the game. Though even then, it makes Battlegrounds’ success even more astounding. Fortnite Battle Royale is free and has had 10,000,000 players. PUBG is paid and has already topped 15,000,000 sold. Whichever way you slice it, it looks like the genre is here to stay.
Original Story, October 10: I think there might be something to this Battle Royale game mode, you know. While Battlegrounds smashes all records for Steam games, its free to play counterpart built on top of Epic’s Fortnite is doing similarly well. Creeping up on public numbers for the likes of Dota 2 and CS:GO, Fortnite Battle Royale hit over 500k concurrent players and 3.7 million daily active users - strong stats for a game that looked ready to disappear into nothingness.
The news came via a tweet over the weekend:
Fortnite BR Sunday Update: 525K PCU and 3.7M DAU (NA, EU, OCE)! Thanks everyone!
— Fortnite (@FortniteGame) October 9, 2017
You can use SteamCharts to get some comparison for where that puts it in the grand scheme of things. Co-Founder at Epic Mark Rein recently tweeted about how Steam isn’t the whole picture, but it’s the best one we have, and his game would be doing pretty well on there too. Of course, you’d then be pulling in console numbers, games like Overwatch and GTA 5, and it all gets a bit messy.
Anyway, they're doing well. We like it too, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing PUBG down at all. How much room is there for the Battle Royale genre to continue? We’ve got a free option and a paid option now, and both will be on consoles before long. While it has the potential to become the new MOBA (which was the new MMO) and be in everything, whether it will necessitate whole new games or just modes for existing ones remains to be seen.