As 2018 comes to an end, it’s clear to say that the gaming industry has seen a change.
Top games like Dota 2 and League of Legends (LoL) have been recording lower and lower numbers, as battle royale genre games such as Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) have been recording exponential growth in their player base.
In 2016 LoL recorded 100 million monthly active users but that number has dropped in 2017 to 81 million. Riot has yet to release numbers for 2018 but it’s said that the numbers have dropped further.
As For Dota 2, the game has seen a steady decline in their number of peak concurrent players. As of October 2018 it was recorded at 739,000 players which is a far cry from years ago where they consistently had over a million peak concurrent players.
As for those who are still confused as to what battle royale games are, it’s basically a game where up to one hundred players land onto an island and have to scavenge for weapons and equipment to kill others while avoiding getting killed themselves, with the last man (or team) standing, winning.
This new game mode presented new types of gameplay that could be easily approached by players of any skill level and is highly replayable, which was the main draw of battle royale games.
However, with the two giant battle royale games going head to head in the gaming industry, will there be a clear winner?
Fortnite—The Most Addictive Game?
First released in 2017 by Epic Games, the Fortnite franchise has opened up new doors to gamers as it not only involves the battle royale mode but plenty of others too.
The game modes include Fortnite: Save the World, a cooperative shooter-survival game for up to four players to fight off zombie-like creatures and defend objects with fortifications they can build, Fortnite Battle Royale, a free-to-play battle royale game where up to 100 players fight to be the last person standing, and Fortnite: Creative, where players are given complete freedom to create worlds and battle arenas.
Of course, Fortnite Battle Royale has been a huge success and it has become such a cultural phenomenon that it has become one of the most controversial games in a long time—not for its content, but for its addictive qualities. According to certain health experts, they have even claimed that players could be addicted to Fortnite as badly as heroin.
Fortnite Battle Royale has been on the news for all the wrong reasons: parents complaining about their kids being hooked on Fortnite, kids having to go to rehab for Fortnite and it has even been the reason for at least 200 divorces in the United Kingdom alone.
It has seen such a boom that it has consistently become the top viewed game on the live streaming video platform Twitch, with over 35.7 million users following the game on the platform. Thanks to that, it has also given birth to new talent in the likes of streamers such as Ninja.
Ninja or his real name, Tyler Blevins may have started out his career as an esports professional with games like PUBG, Halo and League of Legends but nowadays he’s best known as the most followed Fortnite and Twitch streamer. Ninja has said that he earns more than US$500,000 per month just by playing and streaming Fortnite.
The fact that Fortnite is free-to-play is already an advantage, and it’s already available across all the major platforms.
Furthermore, apart from being free, Fortnite’s popularity is maintained thanks to its hardworking development team who push out something new almost every week.
Whether it’s a new area added to the map, seasonal events, new weapons, new dance moves and sometimes even new ways of transportation, all these updates keep players engaged with the game as the experience never goes stale.
And the stats don’t lie as Fortnite has recorded US$1.2 billion revenue from in-game purchases between September 2017 and June 2018 and have been rumoured to end the 2018 year with US$3 billion in profits.
Although they have recorded such high numbers, they are set to break more records with the official launch of the Android version.
PUBG—The Game Back From The Dead?
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds or also known as PUBG is an online multiplayer battle royale game developed and published by PUBG Corporation, a subsidiary of South Korean video game company Bluehole. It was inspired by the film Battle Royale, where students were sent to and island to fight until the last person standing survives.
In the game, up to one hundred players parachute onto an island and look for weapons to kill others while avoiding getting killed themselves.
The game’s map area will decrease over time and those not in the safe area will be damaged thus forcing those surviving into a smaller area to encourage fighting with the last player or team standing winning the round.
However, PUBG has not been able to constantly increase their player base as PUBG has steadily lost players on Steam since its high in January 2018 where it recorded 3.2 million concurrent players.
The main reason why PUBG has lost out on that is because of the lack of updates compared to Fortnite, where updates literally drop from the sky.
As of November 2018, PUBG saw a low of 895,650 peak concurrent players, however this month has seen a significant increase, with 1.1 million concurrent players thanks to its new map addition—Vikendi.
While an update to the game (especially a new map) is always sure to draw players back to the game, there are also new game mechanics and features that came with the release of Vikendi.
Players can now see footsteps left in the snow and there’s also a new parachute system. Let’s just hope that they constantly have updates to make the game interesting to make players constantly come back.
It’s important to note that all these numbers stated above only include the PC version and not other platforms as the mobile version of PUBG has actually recorded just as many players as Fortnite at over 200 million users. As of now, both games are pretty much equal if you consider every platform as they both have 30 million daily active users.
Who Wins 2018?
Although Fortnite has been consistently increasing their player base, it looks like PUBG is still in the game and looking to make a comeback across the new year.
It still is an open battle though as Fortnite has not released their mobile version of the game on Android devices yet, so do expect to see an increase in numbers once it’s out.
2019 will be an interesting year to see who comes out on top but with Fortnite pushing out updates constantly, they look to have the upper hand as players will stay engaged with the game.
Furthermore Fortnite is more geared towards the younger generation as the graphics are more vibrant and the game includes plenty of pop culture references.
Whereas for PUBG, it’s a more serious take on the battle royale genre as it doesn’t let you build fortifications and dance in the middle of battle.
In conclusion, the competition is not only good for the games and community, but for the entirety of the battle royale genre. All this only makes the battle royale between the battle royales that much more interesting.
As for me, while I wait for Fortnite to be compatible on my Android device, I’ll stick to PUBG mobile as that’s the best game to play with my buddies at the mamak.
Feature Image Credit: PUBG/ Fortnite