A number of game developers have been failing to meet their revenue targets, and the finger of blame is being pointed firmly toward free-to-play rivals.
The way in which the video game industry works is forever changing. In all of entertainment, gaming is probably what has changed the most over the past two or three decades. How we used to game during the 90s feels almost archaic to what is popular now. Seeing the graphics we thought were cutting edge at the time nowadays almost causes us physical pain.
The latest shift we have seen over the past couple of years is the one to free-to-play games. The best example of that by far is Fortnite. Fortnite's developers Epic reportedly raked in $3 billion of profit in 2018 alone. That's down to its 200 million worldwide players making in-game purchases. Spending money on items that won't improve their ability in-game, but simply on things that will aesthetically set them apart.
Amid reports of Nintendo Switch and its games breaking all kinds of records, and all of us playing Marvel's Spider-Man and Red Dead Redemption 2, a recent report via the New York Post suggests the developers of these titles have taken a hit. A hit that is being blamed on Fortnite and other free-to-play games. When there are so many free options out there, some gamers are clearly opting to swerve titles they have to pay for altogether.
EA's original revenue projections for the year were originally set at $5.2 billion. The developers have now knocked a full half a billion dollars off of that total. That can partly be blamed on the lack of success enjoyed by EA's Battlefield V. The shooter missed its own projected target by a million units. Fortnite probably had a role to play in that failure.
The more surprising drop off was Take Two's, the developers of RDR2. Despite selling 23 million copies of the game since release, making it the best-selling game of 2018, Take-Two's forecasts also dropped this past Wednesday, by 13%. As more and more developers lean towards making money from in-game purchases rather than the title itself, perhaps we will see even more of a swing towards free-to-play games in the future.