Fortnite is one of the most successful gaming releases of all time and it has already raked in billions of dollars for its developer. It shot to prominence by offering a free-to-play battle royale format that captured public imagination around the world and turned it into a cultural phenomenon. The player count remains astonishingly high, despite competition coming from a slew of new rivals, and it does not look in danger of losing its crown any time soon. Here are the key figures behind the record-breaking success that Fortnite has enjoyed:
250 million – the number of players that Fortnite has accumulated in less than two years since it launched. It drew in 125 million players in its first year and that tally has since been doubled due to its spiralling popularity. The fact that it is free to play and available on almost any device with an internet connection helps, but it is the addictive gameplay that has drawn such huge numbers in. Its battle royale game is colourful, brash and exciting, and it is easy to get into. Yet there is also depth and sophistication to the game, which is simple to understand but painstaking to master. It blends frenetic action with complex tactical battles and creativity, and it becomes a real joy to play with friends, with some dubbing it social glue.
10.8 million – the record number of concurrent players that Fortnite has enjoyed. That means almost 11 million people were playing it at the exact same time, highlighting just what a phenomenon it is. As a benchmark, that number is greater than the population of Portugal or Sweden. The developers have ambitious plans for future growth and it is easy to imagine it growing even more popular in the months ahead.
$15 billion – the value of Fortnite developer Epic Games. The studio also develops the Unreal Engine, which powers some of the world’s biggest games, but Fortnite is a huge part of that high valuation. Founder Tim Sweeney has amassed a $7.2 billion fortune as a result of Fortnite and that leaves him ahead of billionaires such as George Lucas and George Soros in Bloomberg’s annual list of the world’s 500 richest people. Players have already spent billions on in-game purchases, making Fortnite a commercial juggernaut. Epic Games was valued at just $660 million when it sold a 48% stake to Tencent in 2012, and its valuation has since soared thanks to Fortnite’s outrageous popularity.
53% – more than half of Fortnite players are aged 10-25, and that points to a healthy long-term future for the game if it can keep their interest piqued. Sixty-three percent of adult iOS Fortnite players are aged 18-24, and 23% are aged 25-34. When it comes to desktop players, 46% are aged 18-24 and 30$ are aged 25-34, discounting under-18s. In total, 53% of all players are 25 and under. It also has a higher than average proportion of female players, as women account for 28% of iOS downloads and 16% when it comes to desktops.
6% – the proportion of players in employment that say they have skipped work to play Fortnite. Fifteen percent of Fornite players of a school age say they have regularly skipped class to play the game. It has also been cited in divorce proceedings due to its addictive nature. The average playing time is 6-10 hours per week, but some are clearly exceeding that and spouses have had enough.
50% – half of all Nintendo Switch owners have downloaded Fortnite. There are 22 million of them and they are clearly more dedicated and engaged gamers than iOS users, because they have invested hundreds of dollars in a dedicated gaming device. This shows that it is not merely appealing to casual fans, but that it has made significant inroads among keen computer game aficionados too.
$500,000 – the monthly earnings of celebrity Fortnite star Ninja as a result of his streaming activities. The professional streamer has almost 22 million YouTube followers and his clips typically receive north of a million views. When he played with musician Drake, it received 635,000 concurrent views on Twitch, breaking all records on the popular platform. He has been able to monetize his popularity through sponsorship deals and he is now a multimillionaire thanks to Fortnite.
$100 million – the amount of prize money that developer Epic Games has stumped up in a bid to turn Fortnite into a leading esport. Right now the scene is dominated by Dota 2, League of Legends and CS:GO, and Epic Games is desperate to join that elite group in order to prolong Fortnite’s longevity. Esports is a huge sensation as can be seen here, and the popularity of competitive gaming is certain to spiral in the years ahead. It has a huge infrastructure; traditional sports teams have invested in it and blue chip companies are sponsoring it. Breaking into esports is the best way for Epic to keep Fortnite relevant and popular, and the amount of money it is throwing at the project shows just how serious it is.
$4 million – the prize money for the Fortnite Fall Skirmish Series. That makes it ninth richest esports tournament of all time. The top eight richest tournaments are all Dota 2 and LoL contests, but Fortnite has already eclipsed anything ever organised for CS:GO, Call of Duty, Overwatch, Hearthstone and all the other popular esports out there. Soon it is likely to overtake Dota 2 as the most lucrative esport, and that will inspire many pros to compete, all adding to the hype around the game.
50 million – the number of Apex Legends players that have downloaded it since it was launched earlier this year. The game has piggybacked on Fortnite’s success and it has emerged as a credible challenger. Yet Fortnite still boasts five times as many players and it is in no danger of losing its crown any time soon. The advent of games like Apex Legends, PUBG, Call of Duty Black Ops 4 and H1Z1 all simply adds to the popularity of the battle royale genre, and this could be good for Fortnite’s longevity.