Launched in July 2017, Fortnite is an umbrella term covering three different game modes using Epic’s Unreal Engine and the same gameplay: Save The World, Creative Mode, and Battle Royale. The modes are all different in how they use the Fortnite universe and what it has to offer.
Save The World is the first mode to have been introduced to players. It is a mix between tower defense, survival, and shooter. Players, also called Founders, must survive in a world overrun by zombies. They have to protect their base, save survivors, collect resources and push back the storm or gather data on it. Battle Royale is everything its name suggests: a PVP allowing up to 100 players where only one person will be the last one standing. This mode is so popular that most of the time when people talk about Fortnite, they are actually referring to Battle Royale. Its popularity made it so that Epic even ported it on mobile devices. Finally, the Creative is something akin to Minecraft. Players can create their own maps. They can turn those in whatever they want, from arenas to parkour maps.
Fortnite was not even supposed to be developed: it all started with a game jam where the concept of merging the construction genre and the shooter genre sparked the idea that was going to turn into Fortnite as we know it. Epic Games made Battle Royale and Creative free-to-play but decided to Save The World as a pay-to-play ($39.99) to “keep the experience premium,” as they say. With its cartoonish graphics and colorful universe, Fortnite has been a raging success from the beginning. The game is often compared to PUBG (with reason), but it still created its own identity in the battle royale genre.
There is no denying the title’s success across the globe, so let’s take a closer look at just how high it has managed to rise with these Fortnite statistics and facts. If learning new mind-blowing stats and figures is your jam, we have some great information over at our video games industry statistics piece.
No mercy for the enemy! That could be the motto of many players seeing how competitive and ruthless they can be. But they can also play as a team in Save The World for the sake of their mission. Fortnite players are everywhere and have created an enormous community that does not always have the best reputation. But first, a question on everyone’s lips: are Fortnite’s players just kids as per the game’s reputation?
Male players are 72% of the player base.
(Source: Business of Apps)
- The most dominant age group is 18-24 with 62.7%. The 25-34 is second with 22.5% and the last big group is 35-44 with 12.7%.
- The age group 44-55+ represents only 2.1% of the player base.
- 53% of players reported that they were between 10-25.
We often hear that Fortnite is full of kids, and they are the ones messing a lot of things up. Unfortunately, most polls focused on the game do not include kids under 18 (for legal reasons or to make it look like Fortnite is actually full of mature people, who knows). You also only need to look at some of the professional players playing in the circuit to understand that, indeed, Fortnite is full of kids, tweens, and teens is not an urban legend. Now, Epic has never been clear about whether or not they had that age group in mind when developing the game, but it’s a big chunk of their player base.
Fortnite has a total of 350 million registered users.
- The game had amassed 125 million registered players by 2018. Then, it literally doubled that number in 2019 with 250 million registered users.
- In 2020, 50 million more players decided to join the Fortnite family, bringing the grand total to 300 million.
The game continuously attracts new players with consistency. In a matter of two years, 100 million players were added. Sure, one of those years was 2020, the year when everyone was at home, looking for entertainment. But it is telling that so many people decided to choose Fortnite. Plus, considering the average number of daily to monthly players, we can safely assume that Fortnite managed to snatch itself some loyal new players after the lockdowns.
Fortnite has over 80 million monthly active users.
- Back in 2018, Epic shared that the game had 78.3 million monthly active players. Surprisingly, the game saw a decrease in 2019 when it recorded 75.5 million monthly active players.
- After the game was released in South Korea in 2018, the number of concurrent players reached 8.3 million.
- 36% of players spend 0-5 hours playing the game weekly, and 34% play 6-10 hours.
- A bit more extreme, 17% of players play 11-15 hours weekly, while 8% play at least 16-20 hours. The end of the spectrum, 21h+, is home to 5% of the player base.
The question is: if 2020 did not happen the way we know it happened, would Fortnite still be observing lower numbers of monthly players? The drop in 2019 was not huge, but it still exists. The pandemic gave it a boost. Numbers for 2021 were not shared with the public yet, but it would satiate my curiosity as to whether or not this number went up or down. 17% is quite a number for more than 10 hours spent playing, but not surprising when you consider that professionals spend six hours minimum playing daily. 0-5 hours is more for the casual gamer, whereas 6-10 hours start to show a stronger engagement. The rest will stay “no comment.”
Fortnite key stats
With such success, everyone is curious about topics focused on revenues, profits, the number of downloads, and more information about the game itself.
Fortnite earned $5.1 billion of revenue in 2020.
(Source: Business of Apps)
- The game has made $9.1 billion throughout 2018 and 2019 combined ($5.4 billion in 2018 and $3.7 billion in 2019 to be precise).
- 46.8% of the game’s revenue came from the player base on PS4 from March 2018 to July 2020, followed by Xbox at 27.5%.
- Epic Games almost doubled in value from $18 billion in 2018 to almost $30 billion in 2021.
From the start, the game was heavily played, and it was pay-to-play. Then, Battle Royale followed quickly (the same year, in fact), and this one was free-to-play. However, it is the mode making the most money. Why? Because everyone loves a good battle royale. Plus, Epic adopted the business model that is all the rage lately with such games: if your game is free, find how to sell a way to customize characters and weapons and add a battle pass in the package for each season. Skins and exotic weapons are all the rage. There’s something with gamers and playing dress-up with our characters and equipment… They might study it one day.
Fortnite usage stats
Time to take a closer look at how the community consumes the game. With its active player base and astronomical revenues, the game keeps constant traffic. Fortnite has so much content that it is easy to understand why players keep coming back. Between their countless collaborations, an extensive collection of skins and weapons, and the seasons frequently changing the mechanics and the challenges, you will be kept busy.
The US player base is the biggest chunk of the community with 27.5%.
(Source: Player Counter)
- Brazil accounts for 8.08% and takes the second spot.
- Russia, Germany, and the UK share the bottom with around 5% each.
Fortnite is right in Germany’s alley. The players there seem to really appreciate multiplayer shooters. Brazil is also an active country when it comes to MMO. A shame the eSports scene is not that developed over there, otherwise, I am sure that we would see many new talents emerging.
The Fortnite Galactus Event had 15.3 million concurrent players against Galactus with over 3.4 million viewers.
(Source: VG Chartz)
- In April 2020, Travis Scott’s concert in-game drew in 12.3 million concurrent players, setting a new record for events in Fortnite
- The “The Device” event in June 2020 attracted 12 million players, 8.4 million were watching it on Twitch and YouTube. On Twitch alone, 2.3 million concurrent players were recorded.
- In February 2019, Marshmallo’s concert brought 10.7 million concurrent players, but the year before Doomsday did better with 11.8 million viewers.
- The event “The End” in October 2019 attracted over 6 million concurrent viewers on Youtube and Twitch, making Twitch crash in the midst of it.
One thing you have to give to the Fortnite devs is that they know how to get the crowd excited and engaged. Their events (following each season and chapter) are always highly entertaining. The story is pretty loose, but clearly, no one is here for some Hitchcock level of storytelling. The ultimate event of a season is always a big thing, and a vast mass of people always wait in bated breath to see what is coming, viewers and players. Fortnite is also known for its huge concerts with real famous artists. The game even has a particular area for that: Party Royale, where violence is prohibited, and players can just mess around.
Fortnite is ranked #6 on Twitch.
- Over 7 days: the average number of viewers is 75,014, the average number of channels streaming the game is 6,434, the average number of viewers/channel is 11.7 and the number of hours watched is 12,639,884.
- The highest number of concurrent viewers was 2,277,171 in June 2020 and the highest number of channels streaming at the same time was 132,973 in December 2020.
- In general, the average number of viewers is around 118,000 and the average for channels is 7,835.
- The game is streamed by 16% more channels during the weekend, and there are 24% more viewers.
Streaming is also working well for the franchise. Notice how the number of viewers tends to increase during the weekend: it might be because, during the week, a lot of the players are at work.
77% of Fortnite players have made an in-game purchase.
(Source: Finances Online)
- For 34% of them, Fortnite was the first game they felt like spending money on.
- 33% did not know that cosmetics would not give them any advantages over other players.
- The amount of money users would spend on the game increased by 21% between 2018 and 2020.
Blitz is the lesser version with fewer people in the platoons and lesser graphics, explaining the lack of streaming. However, we also saw that most people on Steam went for this version of the game (since it took ages to release the better one), so what gives?
The Google/Apple drama
Using the big momentum and popularity of the Battle Royale mode, Epic decided to port it as a standalone on mobile devices via iOS and Google Play. It was going very well for everyone since all parties were making money until Epic took a decision that destroyed its relationship with the two companies. Take a look at how well the game was doing.
In 2020, Fortnite on mobile had surpassed $1 billion in lifetime player spending over 2 years.
(Source: Pocket Gamer)
- The lifetime revenue was $100 million in 2018 and increased to $450 million in 2019.
- It earned a tidy sum of $44.3 million in April 2020 alone. The second biggest month for the franchise was May 2019 when $44.1 million were generated. The third biggest month was August 2019 and its $35.9 million.
- Players in the United Stated were the biggest spenders with $632.2 million spent (63%), followed by Great Britain with $38.2 million (3.8%) and Switzerland with $36.3 million (3.6%).
- Three days after its release on iOS, it had already made $1.5 million. By the end of 2018, it had grossed over $455 million.
- The game was generating $2.75 million per day on iOS. Overall, iOS represented 7% of Fortnite’s total revenue.
- The Google Store had only generated $937 million, but the game joined the store 18 months after its release.
- Before the legal dispute with Apple, the game had earned 26% of its total revenue from battle passes, 67% from the item shop, and 7% from bundle sales.
Long story short, Epis Games did not like that Apple was keeping 30% of all in-game purchases and that Google had protocols interfering with their own. The company decided to allow the players to pay directly from their website, breaking their contract with Apple. The latter then completely banned Epic and all their games, and Google banned Fortnite because they found that it was the right moment to show Epic’s past statement was not very nice. Until today, Apple and Epic are still fighting legally, with the latter trying to appeal in as many countries as possible. Looking at those numbers, you can only see how much potential was wasted.
Before getting banned, Fortnite: Battle Royale had accumulated 128 million installs across both platforms.
(Source: Pocket Gamer)
- The App Store accounted for at least 125 million downloads. Upon release on iOS, it also topped the chart in 13 countries.
- Here again, the United States represented a big chunk of those downloads with 51 million installs (39.6%), then again followed by Great Britain with 8 million installs (6.3%). However, the third place is France with 5.7 million installs (4.4%).
- 116 million users were playing on iOS before the ban, with 73 million of them playing only on their mobile devices.
Thanks to its ongoing legal battle against Apple, Epic Games has lost 10% of its player base. And that hurts less when you think about the new players they could have attracted if all that never happened. The game started so strongly, but everything went down the drain because of greediness on both parts. After Epic’s statement about Google, it was a matter of time before the situation was turned on its head.
A shooter that can also allow players to PVP with no remorse in a chaotic Battle Royale? Isn’t that the perfect recipe for some really epic eSports events? You bet it is, and Epic did not miss that beat. Nowadays, the eSports Fortnite scene is not the biggest one, but it has achieved quite the status in the industry. The game posed itself as PUBG’s direct rival.
The biggest prize pool in a tournament reached a total of $15.2 million.
(Source: eSports Earnings)
- It was the cumulative prize money for the Fortnite World Cup Finals 2019 – Solo.
- Prize money in the Fortnite circuit finally reached $1 million after the finals during TwitchCon 2019.
Even if the money was shared between many people, that is still a considerable amount. Case in point: the winner that year pocketed $3,000,000! And he was only 16 years old. To get there, players had to complain after several smaller tournaments where the prize money would not increase. Afterward, Epic decided to inject more funds to quell their anger. The game is not doing that bad though, all the opposite: except for DotA 2 and CS: GO, it is the third eSports with the biggest total of prize money awarded.
The Top 5 of the highest-earning players are dominated by the United States with 3 American players present.
(Source: eSports Earnings)
- Bugha is #1 with a total of $3.1 million (US). He is followed by Aqua with $1.9 million (Austria).
- psalm is #3 with $1.8 million (US), while Nyhrox and its $1.5 million are #4.
- Finally, EpikWhale closes that top 5 with $1.3 million.
At this point, it would be challenging to rob Bugha of his spot as #1. His prize money in 2019 gave him a nice boost right from the start. American players are pretty dominant throughout the whole list. FaZe Clan is, after all, an American team that has shown their skills in Fortnite on several occasions already.
The United States is dominating the chart as the country with the highest earnings with $35.8 million won in total.
(Source: eSports Earnings)
- France is second with $5.9 million and Great Britain is third with $5.2 million.
- Canada ($4 million) and Denmark ($3.1 million) round off that Top 5.
France is not often seen in the top three in a lot of eSports, so it is a surprising sight. The North American scene is active in the circuit, with the US giving it its all and leaving its rivals in the dust. Look at that gap between the first two spots. However, we also have to consider the number of smaller tournaments organized in each country, and that depends mostly on how seriously eSports are considered over there. Of note is that the country with the lowest earnings still managed to snatch $50,000 with just one player! A feat!
To sum up
Fortnite still has a lot of good years to spend with its community. The game is complete. The mechanics might be a tad confusing initially, but that’s only when you start. The loot system is pretty balanced, and the events keep everyone entertained. Plus, they are out there. The way each season ends is not something you see with other games. The devs at Epic know what they are doing and where they are going.
The game keeps its catalog alive by maintaining the collaborations coming. And they had them with everyone and anyone under the stone: DC, Marvel, prominent artists, DC, Star Wars, etc. However, it is a point that divides the community: some dislike the abundance of collabs that have nothing to do with video games (“skins are cool, but I don’t want a skin from a guy from Marvel), while the other side likes the diversity. In addition, it also shows the impact Fortnite has on such big brands to partner up with them.
Aside from that, the community is -unfortunately- well known for its toxicity. From stream snipers who make it their mission to kill their favorite streamer when they are streaming to racism expressed with emotes, the behavior of certain players just sucked the good fun away. And those are not even rare. However, Fortnite is going nowhere. Even if they are at war with Apple, they do not neglect their community, and the game continues to provide a lot of entertainment (and clout for some) while bringing some nice and comfy sums of money to Epic.
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