Fort­nite Play­ers Go On a Mas­sive Spend­ing Spree

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FORT­NITE HAS OVER 125 MIL­LION PLAY­ERS. It’s free, but that hasn’t stopped its de­vel­oper, Epic Games, from earn­ing big. In May, it coined an es­ti­mated $318 mil­lion. It’s pulling in a mil­lion a day on the mo­bile ver­sion alone, and this is be­fore the An­droid ver­sion is launched later this year. To­tal earn­ings for the year are ex­pected to top $3 bil­lion.

This cas­cade of cash comes from in-game pur­chases: the Bat­tle Pass, which un­locks re­wards; and cos­metic frip­pery, such as skins and emotes. Re­search by LendEDU re­veals that 68.85 per­cent of play­ers have parted with cash, at an av­er­age of $84.67 each. For 36.78 per­cent of those, this is the first time they’ve made in-game pur­chases.

What do play­ers get for this cash? Not much re­ally; the “en­hance­ments” don’t of­fer any ad­van­tage to game­play. This may sound like a bad deal, but it’s a smart move. If the in-game pur­chases gave an ad­van­tage, it’s no longer a “free” game, it’s pay-to-win, which is never that pop­u­lar. This mar­ket­ing model isn’t new, but no­body has seen it on this scale be­fore. It doesn’t hurt that the game is awe­some, but Epic Games has made a su­perb job of turn­ing suc­cess into dol­lars. Fort­nite en­ter­tains its play­ers to the point where they’ll hap­pily pay for a new suit that does noth­ing but look flash. Ef­fec­tively, the more ded­i­cated—and richer—play­ers sub­si­dize the av­er­age Joe, with­out un­bal­anc­ing the game.

Fort­nite’s play­ers are shelling out $10 mil­liona day or more.

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