On Sunday, February 4th, Epic Games’ Fortnite hit a peak of 3.4 million concurrent players, surpassing PUBG's 3.2 million Steam record. This impressive milestone adds evidence to what many people have suspected for quite some time, but lacked the numbers to prove: Fortnite has more people playing than PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.
If it wasn’t for the server outages Fortnite faced over the weekend, the peak concurrent player count could have been even higher. Epic Games has released an extensive postmortem that gives a long, technical explanation of what caused the server problems over the weekend, which you can read on the Epic Games blog.
“It’s been an amazing and exhilarating experience to grow Fortnite from our previous peak of 60K concurrent players to 3.4M in just a few months, making it perhaps the biggest PC/console game in the world!” Epic wrote. “All of this has been accomplished in just a few months by a small team of veteran online developers -- and we’d love to welcome a few more folks like yourself to join Epic Games on this journey!”
The Battle Royale craze seems to just be starting. Both PUBG and Fortnite fall under the Battle Royale genre, where players fight to become the sole survivor on a shrinking island map. People are craving unique experiences that extend the formula popularized by PUBG, and Fortnite Battle Royale is fulfilling players' needs accordingly. This success may also be a sign that gamers are looking for something new, and may be an opportunity for other games to come into Battle Royale fans’ purview if they offer something different and unique.
With a slew of extant games planning on adding a Battle Royale mode in the future, Fortnite has set a benchmark for what a game needs to achieve if it is to be competitive. Especially if future iterations are to emerge, the need to distinguish themselves from PUBG is essential. Though PUBG developer Bluehole Studio threatened Epic Games with a lawsuit, there’s enough unique mechanics, aesthetics, and flavor packed into Fortnite to distinguish it from PUBG. Developers who wish to capitalize on the Battle Royale hype need to do the same, especially in light of Fornite’s success.
Fortnite may see another surge of players soon, thanks to the new Cupid-inspired Crossbow and Valentine's Day skins releasing next week. Get ready for the Valentine's Day festivities in Fortnite by reading up on how much damage the Crossbow does in Fortnite, and checking out some intense battles over on Mixer's new HypeZone Fortnite channel.