Fortnite passes Minecraft to become the biggest game on YouTube

We all know that Fortnite is big: The biggest game in the world by some measures. Ninja's recent Fortnite livestream with Drake crushed Twitch's concurrent viewer record with more than 630,000 people watching simultaneously at one point, a mark that was beaten just this week by a Spanish-language stream on YouTube that pulled in nearly 1.1 million concurrents.   

Those are impressive moments by any measure, but according to "influencer marketing platform" Matchmade, Fortnite has now surpassed an even bigger milestone—Minecraft—to become the most-viewed game on YouTube. Minecraft has long dominated YouTube's videogame scene, accumulating billions of views per month. It's been in a slow decline since last summer, however, and while Fortnite has yet to hit Minecraft's lofty peak heights, it has now pulled ahead of it, breaking 2.4 billion views in February and climbing even higher this month. 

Fortnite is also leaving leaving its more direct competitors in the dust. Clash Royale, the biggest mobile game on YouTube since March 2016 (minus a brief Pokemon Go interlude) has entered an accelerating decline since Fortnite showed up, and PUBG viewership has leveled off as well.   

"The pace of Fortnite’s growth is astonishing. Between January and February, Fortnite’s viewership grew a whopping 151 percent," Matchmade wrote. "During the past 6 months, The average month-to-month growth rate of Fortnite viewership on YouTube is +97 percent. Content creators are on board, and we’ve seen the number of Fortnite videos jump from 9945 (Feb 1st) to 12762 (Mar 1st) in just one month—an increase of 28 percent." 

Matchmaker cited a few possible factors behind Fortnite's spectacular YouTube growth. Some are obvious: Fortnite is free and available on just about every relevant platform while PUBG is restricted to PC and Xbox One and will set you back $30, and Fortnite is shiny and new, something Minecraft definitely is not. But YouTube also made changes to its algorithms in August 2017, "which changed how content is discovered" and also coincides with the beginning of Minecraft's and Clash Royale's decline.   

YouTube's lead of gaming content Ryan Wyatt chimes in. 

There's also the obvious explanation: You can ride your own rocket like it's a TNT-packed Fortnite hoverboard—or as Matchmade put it more prosaically, "Perhaps most importantly, the game is fun to play." 

For a closer look at how it all came to be, don't miss our step-by-step history of "How Fortnite became the biggest game in the world." 

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.