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‘Fortnite’ sales increase over two years after release: Is free gaming the way forward?
Fortnite: Battle Royale was a sensation through the summer of 2018, even reaching mainstream news headlines despite being initially released in 2017. Seen as one of the founding fathers of this wave of battle royale games and game modes that have swept the industry, Fortnite’s greatest achievement is making billions of dollars despite being a free-to-play title. The all-platform title’s gameplay features can be enjoyed as soon as a player opens the game, with its revenue being generated by microtransactions within the game.
The Epic Games release has been going from strength-to-strength, setting the gold standard for live service games. Now, as it embarks on its Chapter 2 stage following many seasons within the game, Fortnite has seen yet another uptick in sales. GameDaily reports that the ever-popular game saw sales increase via its mobile version, specifically through the App Store, with sales shooting up 141 percent to $1.8 million upon the launch of its Chapter 2 event.
Given the showcased sustainability and incredible revenue stream that Fortnite has created for Epic Games, is free gaming now the way forward for developers and publishers?
Mobile influence changing the way we game
The accessibility and massive built-in audience of the mobile gaming market have made the sector an industry leader in a very short space of time. Now, GameIndustry relays that mobile gaming revenues are the largest portion of the global games market, set to make up 45 percent of the $152.1 billion gaming market. The mobile gaming sector is built on the freemium model, in which games are free to download and free to play, but offer microtransactions within, often to speed up progression.
Of course, mobile games don’t require the same level of time to develop a fully-fledged console or computer games, and yet mobile is now the biggest sector. The sheer popularity of the practice has normalised it for many gamers, particularly newcomers or the more casual players. It’s a risky strategy for developers to use, the freemium model, as if the game’s aesthetics and gameplay loops aren’t appealing enough, the app won’t get downloaded and won’t earn any money. But the free-to-play method is sound if the promotion is done well.
You only have to look as far as the market of iGaming, in which online platforms battle tooth-and-nail to appeal to new customers over their rivals. This competition led to these sites offering bigger free play offers. As BonusFinder is the go to site for casino bonuses, its big list is the best place to see that casino brands have adopted the free-play strategy, even offering no-deposit free spins in some cases. With mobile and online platforms embracing this method of giving gameplay for free, is there space for traditional, full-price gaming?
Pay upfront games are still the most lauded titles
While publishers like Electronic Arts, Bethesda, and Ubisoft grind away trying to replicate the Fortnite formula but with an upfront price tag on their live service game, developers of more traditional triple-A games continue to boast the bragging rights in the industry. Although very popular, mobile games and most free-to-play games simply don’t get the same level of coverage and acclaim as full-priced console titles, with lists such as that of the Stuff most anticipated games of the year focussing more on the likes of Death Stranding, Pokémon Sword and Shield, The Outer Worlds, and Ring Fit Adventure.
Gamers, in general, still appreciate the experiences created in top-class full-priced games, with many deciding their purchases based on the prevalence of microtransactions, regardless of the game’s price tag. The view is still that if you want quality gaming with depth, you have to pay upfront. For example, there’s a slew of zoo-builder freemium mobile games, but for a fully-fledged experience, the best place to go is Steam for a title like Planet Zoo.
The free-to-play models are gaining traction and are making the industry more accessible to those who perhaps wouldn’t have wanted to invest money upfront in games – instead likely paying much more within the 'free' game in microtransactions. However, the gaming community undoubtedly still values the experience that comes with well-made triple-A titles.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.