Those who at least try to keep on top of the gaming scene would know that there is one hot new genre for network-based multiplayer gaming: Battle Royale. It started in December 2017 with “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds”, a firefight extravaganza involving players divided into teams, deployed on a battlefield with only their avatar’s clothes on their backs, arming and equipping themselves with discarded weapons and gear, and hunting each other until one team is wiped out. PUBG’s success was followed by imitators like Epic’s MMORPG “Fortnite”, which introduced its own BR mode. Despite copying PUBG, Fortnite’s out-earning it in monthly revenues.
According to The Verge, “Fortnite” has surpassed “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” in February 2018’s monthly earning for the first time since both games debuted. Superdata Research, a gaming analytics outfit, has determined that “Fortnite” accrued about $126 million in revenue, mostly from in-game purchases by players with real currency. This dramatic rise in earnings came from upgrades to the Korean game, originally a traditional MMORPG where players are survivors exploring a world crawling with zombie-like enemies. The addition of a “Battle Royale” mode in the vein of “PUBG” changed its gamer demographics.
On the surface, the two PC games now have similar premises and mechanics: players parachute down onto an island battlefield with abandoned towns and facilities, picking up items to then use in battle against one another, or as “team vs. team”. The differences however are in the business models. “PUBG” is a “sold” software requiring players to pay its license on services like Steam. Through this is generated the game’s monthly revenue, totaling $103 million. “Fortnite” however is free-to-play, meaning more players have access to it. In addition, the Epic title has a greater variety of paid in-game content that the players can then purchase, each to their own needs.
“Battlegrounds” developer PUBG Corp. has tried to copy a page from “Fortnite” in adding more in-game purchase options like cosmetic alterations to character avatars, but it will be an uphill battle to catch up back with “Fortnite”. That is because the latter has another advantage over the former in that it is multiplatform in nature. Aside from the PC, this game is available on PS4 and Xbox One, and is testing the waters on an iOS mobile version. Furthermore, the greater player numbers of “Fortnite” lies in the fact that graphically it is more kid-friendly, unlike the grittiness of “PUBG”.
Superdata also notes that one internal factor that has slowed introduction of new content by “PUBG” was the fact that its developers have been too busy cracking down on cheat players exploiting the game, which then takes away time to polish the “Battlegrounds” gaming experience.
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