A recent report from SuperData, part of the Neilsen group, shows that while Fortnite remains highly profitable, its earnings in relation to other games and its own past performance are down somewhat. In May, Fortnite earned over $203 million, placing it only fifth behind other PC games, though it remains in the top spot for consoles.
Across the board, the data shows that total spending on video gaming on console, PC, and mobile platforms is down 4% from the same month last year. Superdata goes on to say that “Fortnite gets a boost from Season 9 but is still far off from its peak. Fortnite made $203 million across console, PC and mobile, up significantly from April but down 38% from May 2018. Console continues to contribute the largest share of players and revenue.”
So, what does this all mean? Well, there are a number of factors to consider that may attribute in part to the drop in revenue intake for Fortnite. As discussed in detail in our “Can The Battle Royale Genre Be Saved?” piece, an issue facing Fortnite is that since its release in 2017 the market has become drastically oversaturated by every other developer who see the financial success of Epic Games and jump headfirst onto the bandwagon, as seen below.
A secondary effect of these new entrants into the Battle Royale genre is that they bleed players away who then choose to spend their limited consumer dollars in places other than Fortnite, and they may not return to the game, so the potential for future revenue is then lost.
There is also something to be said for innovation and what a company offers its consumer. Although Fortnite is the largest of the Battle Royale genre, it has not exactly changed the way it takes in revenue over the past two years. In 2017 players could support the game by either buying the season pass, or any number of cosmetic items, and that remains the same today.
By not offering anything new to the formula, consumers may now see less value in spending money inside of Fortnite. With premium skins still costing about $20, one has to imagine that if a player looks at their collection and all the premium skins that they no longer enjoy using, they may reconsider future purchases, knowing that those previous ones now sit unused.
The most likely scenario is simply that the explosive growth in the Battle Royale genre peaked at some point over the last year, and now we are seeing it settle downwards in player number towards what will become its more permanent player base. This is not a bad thing for Fortnite, for so long as Epic Games continues to offer constant updates and new seasonal content, they are likely to keep Fortnite as the top Battle Royale game. It simply means that now that top has shrunk a little for everyone, and there is nothing that can be done about that.