Battle Royale: Popularity Fading or Just Getting Started?

battle royale

Stuck on an island, forced to fight till the last survivor, using nothing but what’s found around the environment to eliminate any threat that presents itself. This is the premise of the massively popular Battle Royale game mode. Battle Royale has found incredible success on both PC, console and even mobile, and with gamers of all ages. From Fortnite breaking records to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds breaking ground, it’s still not clear if the game mode is just a fad or here to stay.

The Early Days of Battle Royale

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was an overnight sensation. Streamers of all kinds were drawn to its chaotic nature. 100 people dropping on an island has a tendency to make for some interesting gameplay footage. Not only is the game addicting, but it also makes for great entertainment. With the streamers getting their hold on PUBG and the community following suit, the world was quickly consumed with all things PUBG. The success of the game mode didn’t stop there. (3)

Fortnite came in quickly after PUBG, capitalizing on the hype. However, this version of the Battle Royale mode differed in a big way. The original game is actually a zombie survival game where players collect materials to build bases (forts) to survive the night. In the free multiplayer mode, 100 gamers battle it out but with the fundamental base building mechanic found in the single-player mode. Gamers can collect materials and build bases to completely change the tide of battle. Still, the basic idea of Battle Royale remains the same.

Fast Forward Two Years

Now, two years after the release of PUBG and the quick escalation of the Fortnite fame, the Battle Royale trend is still here. AAA games like Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and Battlefield V saw Battle Royale as a way to spice up their long-running series. With all the attention Battle Royale received over a short amount of time started a fire throughout the gaming community. AAA developers, indie game developers, and fans all couldn’t get enough. But when excitement builds quickly, it has a tendency to fade just as fast.

In January of 2018 PUBG’s concurrent players on STEAM began to drop. These numbers continued to drop until November of 2018. Since December, average gamers playing at any given time began to increase, and over the last 30 days, more players continued to pick up PUBG once again. (4)

Chart provided by

Fortnite broke PUBG the massive concurrent player record in February, reaching 3.4 million players. This whimsical Battle Royale experience is now the game mode leader. It’s almost impossible to find someone of any age that hasn’t heard of Fortnite. Epic Games, the developer behind Fortnite doesn’t make it easy to find the exact, up-to-date concurrent player numbers. However, the $3 million Epic Games banked in 2018 thanks to the revenue Fortnite brought in was widely publicized. This revenue Epic accumulated is all that’s truly needed to gauge the success and popularity of Fortnite.

The thought of Battle Royale might make some gamers eyes roll but it is still an absolute money maker. Concurrent players of PUBG and Fortnite, two of the most notable Battle Royale games to date are still incredibly high. This trend isn’t ready to give up yet. It’s been a couple years since the mass market sunk their teeth into this unique multiplayer experience, it may be another few before the trend fades entirely, if at all.

Guest post by Mack from!