The Weekly Raid: Are Battle Royale Games A Fad?
The Battle Royale genre turned from a niche game mod to industry leader in just one year. Playerunknown's Battlegrounds, developed by Bluehole, blazed that trail and hit a peak of 3.2 million concurrent players earlier this year. But what turned Battle Royale into a genre rather than a single hit was how quickly Epic Games was able to spin out their own version: Fortnite Battle Royale.
Despite being second out the gate, Fortnite has managed to surpass PUBG by hitting 3.4 million concurrent users earlier this month. Despite being free to play, Fortnite has rakes in over $80 million USD per month according to Superdata Research. That places both PUBG and Fortnite on the list of top 10 highest grossing PC games. The only genre that has more entries in the top 10 is the MMORPG itself.
Other studios were quick to realize to potential in this new genre. Games like Paladins and Warframe quickly announced their own Battle Royale modes. These and other Battle Royale games like Darwin Project that are currently under development will make or break the genre in 2018. Will Battle Royale earn its place as a video game genre, or will its success be limited to one or two defining games. MOBAs went through a similar test half a decade ago. Almost every major studio spun out a MOBA with the hopes of emulating the success of Dota and League of Legends. With a few exemptions (Smite) most of those dreams turned into heavy losses and those games quickly shut down.
Even PUBG it self is facing several issues this year. Despite the addition of a new map and continued updates, the game's population has been in decline of late. This is mainly due to Bluehole clamping down on cheaters, an issue that is ongoing despite over 1.5 million banned accounts, cheating remains the number one issue with the game.
Even more startling is the declines seen by H1Z1, a Battle Royale game that pre-dates even PUBG. That game has lost 91% of its playerbase since July of last year. Its clear there's no room for both H1Z1 and PUBG, but the real question is if there's room in the genre for anyone but PUBG/Fortnite.