I think I see why Bluehole was so blue in the face about Epic lodging a Battle Royle mode into their game Fortnite. Epic Games announced that they’ve managed to attract 10 million players to the free mode over the course of just two weeks, which is the amount of players that Bluehole’s PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds racked up over the course of several months.
Surely Bluehole is feeling the pinch of competition from Epic’s quickly put together survival mode for up to 100 players. Additionally, the company was worried that Epic would use Bluehole’s tech that was designed to handle 100 players in a single shard, which was optimized for the Unreal Engine 4, and apply it to their own game. Well, it kind of seems like that’s exactly what Epic did.
The company sent out a press notice stating that they’ve surpassed 10 million players in two weeks for Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode.
Now there are a few caveats here that should be explained in order to put that figure into perspective. First of all, and most importantly, Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode is free. It’s a free download and all you have to do is grab the client and hop in. So while it’s an impressive feat, it’s essentially one of the most popular modes in gaming right now made free. And likely anyone who played PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was going to check it out – especially since that game amassed more than 10 million actual paying customers.
Another thing to keep in mind is that they only have 44,494,571 hours logged in total playtime for all 10 million players. This breaks down to only 4.4 hours per player. That’s not very impressive at all. That means millions of people downloaded the mode, checked it out and then buggered off to play or do something else.
I think Epic’s jerry-rigged mode was a test to see if there was a demographic there to monetized. From the outside looking in, I can definitely say that the numbers don’t lie and there’s certainly an audience there for Fortnite’s mode. The thing is, playtime is low for the mode, and whether or not people will stick around is another matter. I imagine Bluehole was afraid of news like this because Epic’s Fortnite could start eating into PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds playerbase, much in the same way that The WarZ upended hype for Dean “Rocket” Hall’s DayZ.
You can give the free mode in Fortnite a whirl right now by downloading the client from the official website and play-testing it for yourself. Fortnite‘s main survival mode is currently in paid early access, and will be released in full as a free-to-play title next year.