Welcome to year 1, AF (anno Fortnite). Epic’s battle royale is the gaming world’s newest pacesetter, and it's getting bigger every week. But just how many people are playing Fortnite, across PC, consoles, and mobile?
Putting a number to the madness is tough. Epic alone is privy to the census of its kingdom, and what it deigns to share isn’t broken down by console or mode (power salute, Save the World). Fortnite’s PC version is only on Epic’s dedicated launcher, which doesn't give us the player data we'd find on Steam. Still, the best guesstimates are backed by some truly astounding stats that hint at Fortnite’s gargantuan reach.
For one, it’s a bank-buster. Fortnite took in a hefty $126 million in February alone, another one-up over PUBG’s $103 million according to a report from analytics firm SuperData Research. In March, another SuperData note increased that purse to a staggering $223 million. That financial force is largely thanks to both an affordable entry price of absolutely nothing versus PUBG’s $30/£22 and its masterful grasp of microtransactional materialism. So Fortnite's fortunes are growing, which means its player count likely is, too.
How many people play Fortnite?
That same pattern of "everything PUBG can do, Fortnite does better" rings true for player concurrency. Fortnite hosted over 2 million concurrent players in January, eventually ballooning to an impressive 3.4 million the following month. As of this writing, those are the most recent numbers Epic's given out.
Across PC and consoles, then, Fortnite’s already surpassed PUBG's PC peak of 3.2 million concurrent players. But narrowing Fortnite's population to the PC suggests a more intriguing margin.
In March, data from analyst group Newzoo charted 30.1 percent of "core PC gamers" playing some sort of battle royale game in February alone. Fortnite took a 16.3 percent chunk of that figure while PUBG amassed 14.6 percent. Newzoo sourced its numbers through tracking users of the Overwolf extension software which Newzoo claims an install base of "12 million PC gaming enthusiasts."
Fortnite keeps its crown, then, but it’s important to note Newzoo’s findings, like everyone else throwing darts into the darkness, doesn’t account for non-Overwolf users, and so won't be perfectly representative of all of PC gaming. Newzoo also didn't put hard numbers to those percentages, so it's tricky to extrapolate how many millions of players are actually playing each game concurrently, or across a given month.
According to Steamcharts, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds had an average of 1.1 million concurrent players in April 2018, and a peak playercount of nearly 2.5 million. If Newzoo's percentage estimates are accurate, that would put Fortnite's numbers a bit higher, by a few tens of thousands of players. But it also has the momentum to keep growing.
It makes sense Fortnite’s in front. With more eyeballs glued to livestreaming than ever before, Fortnite’s reign as Twitch’s most watched game has undoubtedly contributed to its meteoric ascension. And hey, it's free.
Where does Fortnite go from here?
Only up. Fortnite’s full faceoff against PUBG is set to coincide with its impending release in China, and it could very well complete its global domination by unseating PUBG’s established grip in the East, but it won’t be easy. For now, Fortnite’s forecast points to a swelling downpour of parachuting, pickaxe-packing players.