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The free-to-play first person shooter, published by Epic games, became an overnight success story when it launched in September 2017. By March 2019 Fortnite had been played by over 250 million fans and made Epic Games a cool $2 billlion. Though Fortnite has a paid “Save the World” cooperative survival game it’s Fortnite Battle Royale that’s made Fortnite a household name and in some ways, put esports even more firmly on the map.
Similar to other battle royale genre games, Fortnite players can play Solo, pair up for Duos, or team up for Squads, with either their friends or random players to make up team numbers.
100 players are picked up by the Battle Bus and then skydive onto the Fortnite island. Dropping wherever they choose, players must quickly scavenge weapons and supplies before encountering other players and beginning the fight. It’s a simple survive and eliminate game format with a “storm” that tightens the play circle until the last few players get ever closer and the last person, or team, standing takes the Victory Royale. Players can also “build” basic structures after collecting resources like wood and metal. These can consist of four fence-like walls and a roof, or a series of ramps in order to access high points, the tops of buildings, or to get a better shot at other players.
Much of Epic Games’ Fortnite revenue comes from the popularity of its “skins,” character and outfit getups available to buy for Fortnite V-Bucks and which take literally thousands of formats with most of them available for only a limited time.One of the first professional Fortnite events was the Pro-Am event of June 2018. In May 2018, Epic Games announced it would set a massive $100 million to fund tournaments and propel Fortnite Battle Royale into esports success.
The first Fortnite World Cup took place in the summer of 2019 and had a total prize pool of $30 million with the Fortnite World Cup Solo Champion, 16-year-old Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf, winning $3 million.
As well as record players numbers, Fortnite has also seen massive streaming success and is incredibly popular on YouTube and Twitch. The 2019 Fortnite World Cup had 1.5 million viewers and a season close event for Season X in October 2019 reached an audience of 1.6 million.
Within two weeks of the release of Fortnite Battle Royale the new title had seen over 10 million players.
By June 2018, just after being released on Nintendo Switch, Fortnite had achieved 125 million players. By this point it was estimated that Epic games was pulling in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue from Fortnite per month.
In the month of August 2018, a record 78 million played Fortnite.
The most players online in Fortnite at the same time was 8.3 million in October 2018.
It’s likely that Epic Games made nearly $3 million from Fortnite in 2018.
As per Esports Earnings, by prize money won, Fortnite is third in the esports game rankings. Over $85 million in prize money has been won by 3283 professional Fortnite players across 537 tournaments.
As per Twitch Metrics, during the month prior to April 14, 2020, Fortnite was the 2nd most streamed game with an average of 533 live channels, 316,000 peak viewers, and 96,000 average viewers.