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Fortnite’s Money-Making Business Model Suffers as Sales Plunge 52%

Last Updated September 28, 2020 7:35 PM
Thomas Bardwell
Last Updated September 28, 2020 7:35 PM

According to a new report published  by Edison Trends, Epic Games’ Fortnite is no longer the cash cow it once was.

Epic Games’ Flagship Title Endures 52% Drop in Player Spending

The report states that Fortnite’s in-game sales have witnessed a year-on-year drop of 52% in Q2 2019 compared to Q2 2018.

The data is based on 375,00 transactions recorded across all major battle royale titles, including Fortnite, Apex Legends, PUBG, and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, for the period running from Aug. 2017 to June 2019.

Fortnite Free-To-Play Model Suffers With Sales Down 52% Year on Year
Fortnite sales are moving in the wrong direction.| Source: Edison Trends

Focusing on Fortnite, in-game spending rose by a staggering 110% per month from Nov. 2017 to May 2018 before peaking last December but has declined steadily since, culminating in a 52% year-over-year drop.

Despite the decline, Fortnite remains at the top of the pack in terms of player spending.

Edison estimates that 83% of spending goes towards in-game currency V-Bucks, 13% to packs, 3% on bundles, and less than 1% on other purchases.

These Signs Suggest Fortnite Has Peaked

The Fortnite cultural phenomenon was always bound to have a sell-by date. How long Epic Games could maintain its relevance and translate that into revenue was a constant topic of discussion, but an over 50% decline is a vertiginous drop by anyone’s standard.

Alongside that, perceptions of what is still the most popular battle royale title with over 250 million players  are changing. A succession of perceived issues with the game ranging from the much-maligned BRUTE mechanic to the sense that Epic Games is shaping the game to be more forgiving to newcomers rather than fostering a highly competitive core of players have taken the wind out Fortnite’s sails in recent months.

Fortnite may have already peaked, but that doesn’t mean its money-making days are over. | Source: Ina Lihach/Shutterstock.com

A lawsuit aimed at Fortnite’s addictive qualities hasn’t helped the game’s public image either.

It would be premature to say that the Fortnite is dying, but these are all early signs that Epic Games’ flagship title may have well and truly peaked. Epic’s case may also highlight the inherent limitations of the free-to-play model – when voluntary in-game spending flounders, profitability plummets drastically.

The likelihood is that sales will reach a plateau as sustained growth of the player base transitions to a reduced, but loyal core, much in the same way PUBG maintains fairly steady numbers despite not benefiting from Fortnite’s stratospheric rise.