Epic’s controversial foray into the battle royale genre has got off to a very strong start.
Fortnite Battle Royale enjoyed a possibly unexpected marketing boost when it became the subject of some debate following criticism from PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds developer Bluehole earlier this week. The result? 1m players tried the game in its first 24 hours.
This is still some way short of the numbers recently commanded by PUBG, although in reality that isn’t the most important comparison. PUBG costs £26.99 on Steam whereas Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode is free-to-play. Epic’s game is also available on consoles.
That, coupled with the media exposure, almost guaranteed a strong day one. The real trick will be convincing those players to hang around. Certainly it looks like PUBG’s numbers have been down a little in recent days, however, but unless that becomes a trend it’s nothing but a drop in the ocean.
Last week Bluehole’s VP and executive producer Chang Han Kim slammed Epic for its introduction of the new battle royale game mode. Some were quick to question just how much ownership the PUBG maker can claim over the genre – an accusation that Kim then responded to.
“I'd like to clarify is that this is not about the battle royale game mode itself,” he told PC Gamer. “There were other BR game modes earlier this year that were released, like Grand Theft Auto 5's battle royale game mode, and we never raised an issue, and I think it's great that there's more competition. It's not about the idea itself, it's about Epic Games, and that wasn't really clear.
“We use Unreal Engine to develop PUBG, and we pay a large amount of royalties based on the size of our success to Epic Games, and Epic Games always promoted their licensing models [saying] ‘We want to support the success indie developers’ and ‘[Bluehole is] this indie developer that has been the most successful one using the Unreal Engine this year’, and that's the problem that I see.