With Season 8 of Fortnite officially rolling out, fans have just been introduced to new buffs, features, and XP mechanics. Meanwhile, issues that have long plagued its user base such as the XP grind continue to be addressed with every update. Despite these promising developments, many long-time gamers and critics are once again questioning the relevance and popularity of Fortnite.
After all, the online PvP game recently took a hit on its cross-platform playability as Apple still refuses to allow Epic Games back onto the App Store. On top of this, both iOS and Android devices are still unlisting the game — meaning its 116 million-strong mobile user base has effectively been ousted. With that in mind, Fortnite may once again be facing a perilous time ahead.
The Highs of Fortnite Fever
For us to understand Fortnite’s current standing, it’s important to look back on past performance indicators.
Fornite came onto the scene back in 2017, overthrowing other titles like PUBG as the ultimate battle royale game. In its first year, it recorded the highest number of active monthly players at 78.3 million. And by 2020, its total registered players would grow to a whopping 350 million. As its player base grew, so did Fortnite’s mainstream popularity. It spawned trending dances, in-game celebrity events like Travis Scott’s ‘Astronomical’ concert, and led to Epic Games bagging Game of The Year in 2018 and 2019.
This level of recognition has even trickled over into the more niche and discerning world of eSports. Most notably, massively popular Twitch streamers like Ninja and SypherPK made their names playing Fortnite’s competitive matches. Following in these streamer’s footsteps, thousands of Fortnite players began to play more strategically. This led to the unofficial Fortnite Game Guide being created, as well as dedicated Discord servers solely for Fortnite tactics. While the former shared coin-earning tips, unlockables, and professional tricks, the latter offered players access to shared knowledge and hacks from fans around the world.
The Final ‘Fortnite’?
Now, back to the present day: this isn’t the first time people have claimed Fortnite may be a dying game. In 2019, we also discussed whether it was still gaining the same traffic as it did in its prime (Spoiler alert: it was). To be fair, it hasn’t maintained the same massive active player base it once had, and many new battle royale games like Apex Legends and Spellbreak have since taken a portion of players. Additionally, Fortnite’s standing becomes even more precarious when we count free-to-play games like Genshin Impact, Valorant, and Warframe.
But with that said, Fortnite isn’t out of the race yet because it continues to diversify as a platform. Aside from its popular battle royale mode, users are currently able to watch trailers and live events, play co-op, and even use a Creative mode. Because of that, it’s still pulling in millions of active players at any given time. Just recently, its Galactus event pulled in over 15 million players. On Steam, it also hit above 7 million active users without any events in 2021.
Because it’s still very much relevant as well as its solid PC and console player base, it seems Fortnite isn’t going anywhere. Although it’s not yet free from legal challenges and hiccups, the game has definitely shown a resilience that bodes well for its future. As gamers continue to want more out of their titles, developers People Can Fly and Epic will just have to continue stepping up their game.
So, for now, yes, people are definitely still playing Fortnite. The game has earned Epic over $5.1 billion in revenue from 2020 and has the biggest registered player base globally. What remains to be seen is how the rest of Season 8 will change the meta, and how the following seasons can top this year’s content.