Within the battle royale genre and at top of the industry, Epic Games' Fortnite and PUBG Corporation's PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds have been clashing for the past few months. And increasingly Fortnite looks like its going to come out on top.
In the month of February, Fortnite made a colossal pile of cash on in-app purchases, racking in a total of $126 million, surpassing the monthly revenue of its top competitor, the aforementioned PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds -- which generated $103 million -- for the first time ever.
The news comes via game analytics firm Superdata, and should come as no surprise to anyone who has been watching Fortnite's meteoric rise to the top in a manner that has never been done before by any game in the industry.
To be clear, the base game of Fortnite – which costs money – isn't what has taken off, it is the game's free-to-play battle royale mode that replicates the battle royale mode of PUBG. In it, 100 players are dropped out of the sky onto a desert island in a last-man (or team) standing competition.
What's most interesting in this clash is the diversity of approach both developers took with their product. Fortnite makes almost all of its money on in-app purchases made in it its free-to-play battle royale mode. Meanwhile, PUBG has a $30 barrier to entry, which is where it generates most of its sales, not via in-app purchases. Both are not new business approaches, but it appears the former is currently winning the day.
"Fornite's advantages boil down to accessibility, " says Superdata. "The game is free-to-play (while PUBG costs $30) and it arrived on consoles in September 2017, several months before PUBG. Fortnite also has an easier learning curve and is more kid friendly thanks to its cartoonish looks. These factors have combined to make Fortnite a bona fide social phenomenon, inspiring high school exams and finding its way into sports celebrations. The title's recent mobile launch also appeals to young players without access to game-ready PCs or consoles."
The research firm further points out that while Epic Games has been able to focus on new content, PUBG Corporation has had to focus on cracking down on its game's cheating problems, which in turn takes away from valuable development time to further support the game and make new content.
Lastly, the firm reports that while Fortnite's sales continue to rise, PUBG's have already began to fall, peaking back in December.