Fortnite's PUBG-style Battle Royale mode helps push it past seven million players

Epic Games said on Twitter today that more than seven million people have taken a shot at its base-building FPS Fortnite. It's not clear exactly how that number breaks down—as we noted last week after it claimed one million players in one day for its Battle Royale mode, we don't know if it means concurrent players or total players or something else entirely—but it does seem like a pretty clear indicator of success, and it makes PUBG's aggrieved reaction to the mode a little bit easier to understand. 

Playerunknown's Battlegrounds is, for now, only available on the PC, although PUBG Corp is working on bringing it to consoles. But Epic beat it to that lucrative punch with the release of Xbox One and PS4 versions of Fortnite, and Fortnite Battle Royale, in September. 1.6 million concurrent players on Steam is undeniably a huge success, but the console audience could be much larger, and much more lucrative to whoever can claim it. 

Epic appears to be pushing hard to build up as much of a lead on those platforms (and to muscle in on the PC space) as quickly and as visibly as it can. A new update that activates support for the two-player "Duos" team-ups in most regions is now live, (they remain unavailable in Oceania because of the limited player population) and supply drops have been reactivated as well. Epic also shared some thoughts on the development of the game's weapons and combat so far, and ran down some of its plans for the future. 

  • Some weapons don’t quite live up to their expectations. The biggest culprits are the Assault Rifles and the SMGs which were recently adjusted. We’ll continue to evaluate and there may be more incremental improvements, not a radical adjustments.
  • It can be unclear what improves accuracy. Standing still, crouching, and aiming (instead of hip-firing) all have some form of impact on accuracy. We’ll look into ways to improve usability on the reticle, including improved readability of your accuracy cone.
  • We’ll be running prototypes using more recoil and reducing accuracy penalties. The idea behind this is that the first shot will have higher accuracy (but again, not perfect) and then subsequent shots will require slightly more skill. These will be incremental adjustments until we find the sweet spot.
  • Lastly, enabling projectiles for all weapons (not just the Sniper Rifle) is something we’d like to explore. Doing this would allow for tighter accuracy overall. We’ve run prototypes internally and it shows promise, but there are challenges preventing us from turning it on. Once those are sorted out, we’ll consider running a broader test.        

"Our goal is to provide a competitive experience without losing our unique playstyle and crazy over-the-top moments that Fortnite Battle Royale brings to the table," the studio wrote. "We look forward to your help as we continue  to hone the experience."