The iOS version of Fortnite turned out to be a lot better than we expected, even before it was released to the public at large. It is also, according to analysis firm Sensor Tower, a massive financial success for Epic. The site said that the game needed just 90 days to pull in $100 million in revenues, making it one of the most successful mobile games to come along in years—and putting it far ahead of PUBG.
Fortnite lagged behind Clash Royale, which earned $1.2 billion in 2017, in the time it took to hit the $100 million mark, but achieved it much more quickly than other top-selling games. (Both figures exclude revenues from China.) A direct comparison to PUBG isn't available because it had only been monetizing for 60 days at the time of the report, but Sensor Tower estimated that it rang up a relatively paltry $5.2 million in revenues over that period. It also pointed out that for the first two weeks of that 90-day stretch, Fortnite was only available via invitation—basically, it was a closed beta, so incoming revenues would have been much lower than normal.
Epic's success in monetizing Fortnite across all platforms is attributed to a "winning revenue formula ... [of] selling limited-time (but non-random) cosmetic items in-game," plus seasonal Battle Pass sales: The site said Fortnite's revenues quadrupled when the fourth season started in May. And it shows no sign of slowing: "Even apart from Battle Pass sales, we see Fortnite growing its momentum on mobile, and there are no indications of it slowing there—or anywhere else—as it continues its reign as the world’s most popular game," Sensor Tower said.
What mostly makes this story relevant to us is how Epic's incredible success seems to have helped popularize the 'pass' concept: Rocket League is getting them, and so is PUBG. It is possible that after the great loot box backlash of 2016, limited-time cosmetics and seasonal passes will be the new big trend in monetization.
And despite its major mobile success, there's still plenty of room for Fortnite to grow. Sensor Tower reported earlier this month that it was only number five on the top-ten App Store revenue list for May (the first mobile game not developed in Asia to make the top five since May 2017), behind Honor of Kings, Westward Journey, Monster Strike, and Fate/Grand Order. It will no doubt make up some of that ground when Tencent brings it to China, but as we noted in this April report, there's no guarantee it will achieve a similar degree of success in that market.
With such massive successes on mobile platforms, don't expect the trend of popular PC games going mobile to slow down.