Until now, I felt that it was pretty safe to say that Fortnite had won the title of battle royale, and that nothing would ever catch up to it. Its concurrent user count dwarfs the entirety of Steam, and the total Fortnite player count is bigger than all but the world’s largest countries. PUBG might have helped kickstart the battle royale craze, but Fortnite has left it in the dust, right?
Wrong. Fortnite might be dominant in Western markets, and is particularly popular on console, but PUBG has a huge following elsewhere. In countries like India and China, a bunch of factors are driving the popularity of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.
Those markets have helped level the playing field somewhat. According to The Verge, PUBG Mobile currently boasts 200 million users – the same number that Fortnite has across all of its myriad platforms. If you factor in PUBG’s player count across both PC and console, it’s actually possible that Bluehole’s outing may be ‘out-selling’ Epic’s battle royale. Note, though, that game downloads and registered accounts do not equal active users – The Verge reckons both games have roughly 30 million daily actives.
In a Reddit thread about the figures, an Indian player offered some context around the game’s popularity. While Fortnite requires high-end Apple or Android phones to run, PUBG Mobile will run on cheaper handsets, and is also free-to-play. Those factors, combined with a huge smartphone-owning population and increased internet penetration over the past few years, helped boost the title’s popularity in India.
Read more: Snow could be coming to Fortnite’s entire map.
In China, consoles were banned entirely until 2015, which has helped make mobile gaming particularly popular in the country. PUBG Mobile arrived before Fortnite, which may have contributed to its popularity there.