I started playing Fortnite Battle Royale in late 2017.
Immediately, I knew that I was playing something special.
It had been a long time since a game had captured my attention the way Fortnite did.
Fortnite was new, fresh and exciting. All I could think about was Fortnite and all I wanted to do was play it.
I was, quite literally, addicted.
I think a lot of people felt this way about Fortnite, too.
That’s why in 2018 the popularity of Fortnite exploded when Ninja and Drake played together and successfully broke the Internet.
Just look at this graph from Google Trends of Fortnite’s search popularity from July 2017 (Fortnite Battle Royale’s release date) to May 2018.
That growth is just crazy and it even looks like it is still on the rise!
Obviously, Fortnite could only get so big. Remember: all good things come to an end.
And that’s exactly what happened.
Let’s take a look at Google Trends again, except for a different date range. This time from May 2018 to the time of writing, April 2019.
Here we see that Fortnite managed to retain its popularity for a while. But, recently it’s been on a steady decline.
Now, Fortnite is at its lowest level of popularity.
So, what happened?
I have a few ideas.
In this post I will be exploring what exactly caused the downfall of Fortnite, so continue reading to find out if Fortnite really is dying.
Competition from other games is hurting Fortnite
Video games are a competitive industry, and nowhere is the competition more fierce than the battle royale genre.
They’re almost a battle royale in and of themselves.
Fortnite’s original competition was with PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds—or, simply, PUBG.
PUBG paved the way for the modern day battle royale and was the top dog, for a while.
Things were close between Fortnite and PUBG, however, the latter had a number of issues.
PUBGs most pertinent problems were not releasing fresh content, to keep their current players engaged, and troubles optimizing their game, particularly on a console.
Eventually, Fortnite emerged the winner winner chicken dinner and remained comfortably on top for many months.
There was some competition from smaller games like Realm Royale and Radical Heights, who attempted to enter the battle royale scene.
Ultimately, they were both overshadowed by Fortnite and forgotten.
Then came the big dogs, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and its “Blackout” mode.
On release, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 looked very strong. However, like most Call of Duty’s, the hype settled players mostly returned to Fortnite.
Out of nowhere came Fortnite’s most recent and formidable challenge yet: Apex Legends.
Apex Legends, like Fortnite, is a free to play battle royale game. It is developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by Electronic Arts (EA).
It came out very strong.
Apex Legends took just 8 hours to reach 1 million players. A month after released, the player count topped 50 million.
It was also the first game to break Fortnite’s 11-month streak as being the most watched game on Twitch.
Things were not looking good for Fortnite.
However, ultimately, Apex Legends failed to retain its players due to a lack of different playlists and a lackluster battle pass.
It’s still a popular game, but Fortnite has reclaimed the throne.
I’m sure these games took some of Fortnite’s player base, but none succeeded in taking and holding the #1 spot for very long.
Bad updates could be the death of Fortnite
Today, Fortnite Battle Royale is well over a year old.
Those that have been around since the beginning have gone through more than 70 major updates and 8 seasons.
That is a lot of change in a short amount of time. I can’t think of any game that has evolved as much and as quick as Fortnite.
Sometimes, change is good. Also, I think the regular updates are what kept the game feeling fresh, and kept players coming back.
But, not all of Fortnite’s updates have been a net positive.
The most recent update that has resulted in a lot of negativity was from patch v8.20 on March 27th, 2019.
In this patch, the following changes were reverted in the core modes:
- 50 Health (or Shield) based on your health when the Elimination occurs
- 50/50/50 materials dropped on Elimination
- 500/500/500 Cap on materials
- Harvest rate increased by 40%
Epic’s reasoning was that they felt that the changes “resulted in an unhealthy level of aggressive play, diminishing other viable strategies.”
Because of this, players were furious. A flurry of angry tweets and messages begging Epic to revert the changes came as a result.
Also, the release of this patch directly correlates to the dip in popularity we saw in the previous chart.
What this shows is that it only takes one bad update for an entire player base to turn against you.
The series of “revert” messages appears to have calmed down since the initial launch as players have re-adjusted to the game.
However, it does appear as if Fortnite’s popularity may have been permanently changed because of this.
Will Fortnite revert the update?
I don’t think so, and time will only tell if this decision turns out to hurt them over time.
Fortnite is clearly not as popular as it once was, and this is as a result of poor decisions and outside competition.
But, it is still the most popular game in the world.
It still has millions of players logging in to play and it is still making millions of dollars from selling in-game cosmetics.
Fortnite is not dead. In fact, it is not even close to being dead.
Just because Fortnite is not as popular as it once was, does not mean that it is dying, as so many people seem to think.
However, it does appear to be on the decline and it cannot afford to release any more bad updates.
Of course, the future of Fortnite is impossible to predict.
Will a new game be released tomorrow that steals all of its players?
Or will there be a series of amazing updates that put Fortnite back to where it was?
Nobody knows the answers to these questions.
But, here’s what we do know.
The Fortnite World Cup is on the horizon. And, although Fortnite has failed to truly crack the competitive scene, this could be its big breakthrough.
Additionally, Summer is coming. A lot of Fortnite’s players are young, and therefore will not be in school, so this could boost the player count.
Finally, a game as big as Fortnite does not just “die”.
The player base is just too big, and it will be years before the numbers are too small to find a game.
What do you think? Leave me a comment down below if you think Fortnite is dying and why.