Epic Games’ Fortnite: Battle Royale has only been available for a month on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC but it has already seen some explosive growth in that short time. The developers announced the game reached new milestones Sunday with 3.7 million active players with a peak of 525,000 players at the same time. Did the game benefit from the Streisand Effect?
Fortnite: Battle Royale was released as part of the paid early access program for Fortnite one month ago. Epic Games then elected to make the mode free to play two weeks later across all three platforms where it ramped up to seven million total players in its third week. By comparison, it took PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds(PUBG) six months to cross 500,000 concurrent player milestone.
There are obvious reasons for Fortnite: Battle Royale‘s rapid rise. First, the game is free while PUBG costs $30. Second, it is also available on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One where console gamers have been hungry for a 100-man last man standing title due to the viral streaming popularity of PUBG. Unfortunately, Epic Games did not provide a breakdown of the number of players on each platform. So, it is difficult to determine if Fortnite: Battle Royale is more popular on consoles or PC.
However, Fortnite itself was relatively low on the gaming community’s radar and even making Battle Royale free did not generate tons of buzz initially.
There’s also another factor to consider here and that is a variation of the Streisand Effect, named after Barbara Streisand. This is where someone attempts to hide, remove, or censor information but causes that information to become widely publicized instead.
PUBG developer Bluehole, Inc has not attempted to hide, remove, or censor Fortnite: Battle Royale but the company did draw tons of attention to the title when Bluehole VP and executive producer Chang Han Kim complained about the similarities in Fortnite: Battle Royale and the fact Epic Games is in a unique position where it is both game engine license holder and competition.
Articles and videos about Kim’s comments flooded the gaming community. Whether he was right or not isn’t the question at the moment. However, he inadvertently raised the profile of Fortnite: Battle Royale significantly with his vent. This likely caused gamers, especially battle royale hungry console gamers, to give the free game a shot and the experience has been positive.
Still Work to Do
Fortnite: Battle Royale is in a solid position just a month after launch but Epic Games still has much work to do in key areas of the game. The primary concerns deal with server stability and gameplay lag. Gaming sessions at the end of last week and through the weekend were plagued with lag spikes. This resulted in an update released Saturday evening to fix though lag was still noticeable Sunday.
Additionally, cheating became a rampant problem as players cheat until caught and then create new accounts when banned. Epic Games deployed an automated banhammer over the past few days which attempts to automatically detect cheats being used and immediately ban the player. This led to some false positives, however, and the Fortnite: Battle Royale development team is currently working on fixing that and unbanning players who should not have been banned.
Beyond the issues of server stability and cheating issues, Fortnite: Battle Royale players should look forward to leaderboards, custom glider skins, and other character customizations.
[Featured Image by Epic Games]