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Fortnite Dominating PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds in the Battle Royale Genre

This is not investment advice. The author has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. WCCF TECH INC has a disclosure and ethics policy.

The fight for the top spot in the Battle Royale genre has intensified over the previous months. Lawsuits have been raised and then subsequently dropped. Both Fortnite and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) are immensely popular games, that much is undeniable. They are both among the most played core video games in the world today and are incredibly lucrative for Epic Games and Bluehole Studio respectively.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, as the forerunner of the games that popularised the genre, certainly had an advantage over Fortnite. This is particularly true in the mobile sector, where PUBG is released on both Android and iOS, giving the title a much larger userbase. Fortnite is absent from the Android market. Despite this obvious advantage, Fortnite is the clear superior in how much the players actually spend.

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Cold Hard Figures

According to figures revealed to Bloomberg by the intelligence firm Sensor Tower, players of Fortnite actually spend over five times more than those of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds in the mobile market. To be exact, in eleven weeks ending with the week of June 18th to 24th, Fortnite's mobile version brought in close to $92 million. This is over five times the $16.35 PUBG gained in the same period. It must be noted that these figures don't include the closed Chinese market.

Both titles are actually backed, one to a larger level than the other, by Tencent (HKG:0700). Tencent holds a 40% ownership in Epic Games, developer and publisher of Fortnite. In addition to this, it holds a 1.5% stake of Bluehole Studios, developers of PUBG. Tencent also acts as the publisher of the mobile version of PUBG.

It can be noted from the graph above that PUBG has gained some ground on its rival as time has progressed. Or, in particular, the last week where data was collected. Revenue increased dramatically when the Royale Pass was announced and made available to purchase within the game. This pass, which copies the mechanics of Fortnite's Battle Pass, allows people to earn cosmetic items through levelling up in game. Sensor Tower revealed that, following the release of the Royale Pass, PUBG now earns more than $700,000 per day.

This is little consolation when you realise that the eventual launch of Fortnite will likely also see it surpass PUBG in download figures.  These, in turn, will also likely increase revenue to an even larger degree. Simply put, the eventual Android release is almost guaranteed to propel Fortnite far beyond PUBG in every metric in the mobile market. This will prove lucrative for both Epic Games and Tencent.

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Fortnite vs PUBG: Why the Disparity?

Despite the fact that the games are similar and the clear winners in the Battle Royale genre, there is a clear difference between the two. I should actually say there are a number of clear differences, but they all can be rounded into one umbrella: Fortnite is original.

This isn't to say that PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds isn't original in one way or another. However, the game wasn't the first Battle Royale game. It uses stock assets bought from stores, rather than it's own unique artwork and resources. The world itself is drab and, again, a collection of unoriginal buildings, landmarks and more that leave little to inspire the players.

Fortnite, on the other hand, is colourful and everything is unique to the title. The buildings are their own, despite a number of them being just houses, much like those in other titles. The building mechanic which lets you build your own structures as well as destroy segments of other buildings offers a way to expand on the gameplay in the Battle Royale genre. In addition, the game has a constant stream of updates that add to the game.

Furthermore, where both games share similar modes in solo, duo or group play, Fortnite also features unique events and game modes that rotate in and out over time. All of this keeps the game feeling more interesting and more involving to players. It places Fortnite at the top of what is currently the industries most popular trend. While Bluehole may now want to be second, it's a position they may have to settle for.