How does Fortnite make money

How Does Fortnite Make Money

Fortnite is a cross-platform free-to-play online video game created by Epic games which is owned by Timothy Dean Sweeney (Tim Sweeney as most know him). 

Tim Sweeney was also the creator of the Unreal engine which has been the basis of many popular games like Ark: Survival evolved, Unreal tournament, Octopath traveller, the Riot games’ offering Valorant and many more.

The first ever version of Fortnite: Save the World was released to the gaming community as early access in July 2017, it did not garner a lot of praise. 

Till 2021, the gaming company Epic games, which owns Fortnite, has made approximately 20.7 billion dollars in revenue and with a projected revenue of 6.3 billion in 2022. 

Estimates show the total revenues for Epic games to be around 27 billion dollars by the end of 2022.

Fortnite business model

The fortnite business model is based on the modern gaming business model of Free-to-play or F2P and Pay-to-play or P2P, with in-game purchases, new packs, celebrations, outfits and accessories etc. 

Although these accessories and celebrations do not offer any known advantage to Fortnite players, yet there are a lot of players who spend money in-game to make their gaming experience more visually pleasing.

Fortnite has its own in-game currency called V-bucks, which can be used to buy battle passes or join the crew. V-bucks are obtained by using real world money to buy the in-game currency.

Besides the above mentioned avenues for Fortnite to earn money, they also offer merchandise which includes home decor items, toys, costumes, apparels and accessories.

Epic games also earn when games are made using their Unreal engine. Epic has not released how much they earn from Unreal Engine. 

Rough estimates have pointed towards little over a billion dollars. Let’s go over each revenue stream in more detail:

Fortnite Battle Pass (in-game purchases)

The Fortnite battle pass can be bought from the in-game market using V-bucks. It provides special benefits to the buyer. A battle pass provides access to new characters, items, weapons, backpack, icons and sprays. 

Gamers can also join the Fortnite crew where an amount will be charged every month from their account for perks like, season battle pass, new character skins, gears etc.

Currently this amount is set at $11.99 (US).

Besides the battle pass, Fortnite also offers you level up packs in exchange for V-bucks. Current level up pack offers a 25 level boost to gamers who bought the pack.

Also read: How does Instagram make money?

Fortnite also has an in-game item shop where gamers can buy items in exchange for their v-bucks.

The item shop houses a variety of celebration moves, pickaxe skins, player skins and weapon packs. Shop items keep refreshing every few minutes.

Besides the free-to-play game mode called battle royale, gamers can also purchase the pay-to-play version called “Save the world”. 

Save the world mode combines the build/survival mechanism of Ark/minecraft/raft with zombie survival games like Forest and Dead island.

There is also another mode called Fortnite creative, where players have to create arenas and other structures and create custom rules for multiplayer game play. 

This is a sandbox mode gameplay and it was also a part of the Fortnite inaugural world cup.

Fortnite world cup

The first ever Fortnite world cup was held in 2019 at the very famous Arthur Ashe stadium (where the yearly grand slam U.S OPEN tennis tournament is held). The winner would go on to receive a $3 million prize money from the prize pool. 

The world cup was viewed by millions of people and was so popular that a massive 40 million players participated. After a lot of eliminator rounds, 100 gamers qualified for the final.

Eventually, the winner of the game’s solo competition was a 16 year old Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf, who made a lot of money playing Fortnite and this also saw him win the “Best Esports athlete” award for that year.

The Duos competition was won by Emil “Nyhrox” Bergquist Pedersen and David “Aqua” Wang who shared the $3 million grand prize.

The viewership for the live streams of the world cup exceeded 2.3 million on Twitch and youtube. The player base of Fortnite saw an increase from 250 million players in 2019 to 350 million users by May 2020.

Epic games earned a lot of revenues from the viewership of the live streams and the ticket sales from the Arthur Ashe stadium.

Currently, Bugha is the player who has made the most money playing Fortnite.

Fortnite merchandise

Epic games has a lot of merchandise for Fortnite fans, which can be bought from a lot of stores. They have their own shopping website as well as a page on Amazon. 

Merchandise items include hoodies, t-shirts, school supplies, iphone cases, decorations and a lot more. These items must be bought using real money and not V-bucks.

Fortnite seasons

Fortnite seasons are periods in the game that are based on a theme and offer different rewards to battle pass owners. 

The Fortnite players who do not own the battle pass or are not part of the crew can buy individual items from the in-game shop using their V-bucks.

The items that are available in shops during a particular season are heavily influenced by the pop culture references that are trends around that particular time.

For example, Season 4 had the Superhero theme during which the Infinity Gauntlet from the Marvel cinematic universe was released in the game shop. 

The current season has Doctor Strange themes and items along with Naomi Osake themed skins.This also includes a lot of collaborations with popular brands like Marvel, Nerf, Star Wars, Stranger Things, Nike, Major Lazer etc.

How much money does Fortnite make?

Fortnite is a multi platform game that can be run on Android devices, iOS devices(not after 2020), XBox One, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch and last but not the least PCs.

Data for Fortnite financials is only available till 2020. The below statistic shows that Fortnite stumbled in 2019 and recovered very well to reach close to the revenue from 2018.

YearRevenue generated
2018$5.4 billion
2019$3.7 billion
2020$5.1 billion

This puts the total revenue generated by Fortnite at $14.2 billion by 2020. It remains to be seen how much increase Epic games have recorded in 2021-22.

In comparison, Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) recorded a revenue of 4.87 billion from Q1 2018 to Q1 2021, just from mobile revenues.

Fortnite was pulled from the Apple app store and the Google play store in 2020, although Android users can still install the game from the Epic games website.

How Much Does Fortnite Make a Day

Judging by the revenues made in the previous years, in 2020 when Fortnite registered revenues of $5.1 billion, per day revenue falls to around $13.97 million. This was calculated by dividing 5.1 billion by 365.

Whereas some sources that have analysed the data for 2020 for in-game spend, have reported every minute earnings of Fortnite at $4800 which would give us $288,000 hourly and $6.9 million daily.

How much money has Fortnite made in total?

Financial records for Fortnite are only available up until 2020. Fortnite in total has made close $14.2 billion from 2018 to 2020. With the player numbers rising and the purchases increasing, it only seems that they will increase the revenues in the coming years.

There have also been concerns with the numbers declining as the game was banned on iOS due to the case with Apple. A huge portion of the community was pushed away from the game after this ban.

Fortnite has reached the $14.2 billion landmark by adapting to the current trends and improvising. The initial version of Fortnite, “Save the world”, was welcomed with mixed reception

After the success of Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds battle royale mode of gameplay, Fortnite adopted it into their game and it was an instant success. Fortnite also features team mode gameplay like the Riot games venture Valorant.

With in-game events like the Astronomical (April 2020) which featured Travis Scott’s live concert (in-game) was one of the highest watched events in the history of Fortnite with 12.3 million concurrent users. It was only topped by the Galactus event in November 2020 which had over 15 million concurrent users tuned in.

The constant viewership of in-game events also helps Fortnite generate revenue from streams. 

Fortnite funding and valuation

Recently, the tech giant Sony along with Kirkbi raised $2 billion ($1 billion each) for Fortnite parent Epic games. This puts their valuation at $31.5 billion as of April 2022.

The company aims to look at a future in the metaverse and hence they are raising funds to move further into that direction. 

The metaverse can be described as a virtual meeting place where people can meet, play, socialise by using their virtual avatars. Sony and Kirkbi are also the lead investors in Epic games inc.

With 12 funding rounds for Epic game, the company has raised $7.1 billion from investors which also includes Fidelity Management and Research Company, Tencent (majority share owner) and Luxor Capital group.

Fortnite History

The oldest mention of Fortnite could be traced back to 2011 at the Spike game awards. Initially conceived as a survival third person shooter, there was no mention of PvP(player vs player).

The game was pushed back after the company decided to move into a different direction for the game and some issues with funding. It wasn’t until 2017 that the early access became available to gamers on PC, Xbox and Playstation.

The first version was the Fortnite save the world edition, which did not convince the critics and gamers alike. Most features of the game were squashed as being incomplete and very cartoony. Although the loot system was welcomed, the other features not so much.

Eventually, Epic games did find the right mix with the release of Fortnite Battle Royale, which was very well received. 

Part of the success could be attributed to the success of Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds which was based on the Battle Royale style gameplay and had a huge player base.

Fortnite offered fans an opportunity to choose another game in the same gaming style but with a more cartoon-like feel to it (Think Counter Strike vs Team Fortress). That was what Fortnite needed to start on the journey of becoming one of the most famous games of the decade. 

Games like Apex Legends tried to replicate the same model with great success initially but their product eventually came down in competition to PUBG and Fortnite

How can I make money from fortnite?

Users who want to make money from Fortnite have quite a few options to make money using the avenues provided in-game or outside options. Among these options are Streaming Fortnite content, commentating on the Fortnite games on stream, taking part in Fortnite competitions, creating content in Fortnite creative mode.

Fortnite tournaments

Participating in Fortnite tournaments can earn you a fortune if you go all the way and win it, but it is to be noted that you win some money even if you are not the competition’s winner.

Slowly but steadily this would be a very good way to earn money from Fortnite. There are also multiple gameplay modes on Fortnite, if the solo game does not suit you, there is an option to join a professional team to play the duos competition as well.

Support a creator program

Fortnite players can create their own island with their own gameplay rules using creative mode and publish their content to earn money using the support-a-creator program.

There are a few conditions that need to be met before you can set-up your support a creator account. These are:

  1. Creator should be 13 years or older (14 years old if you are fromSouth Korea)
  2. Creator should be capable of accepting the Creator agreement
  3. Creator content guidelines should be followed very strictly
  4. Creator should have a Hyperwallet account to receive payment

Streaming Fortnite

Fortnite streaming offers a very good money making prospect to gamers as Richard Tyler Blevins known by his followers as Ninja found out.

Ninja, whose net worth is estimated at $30 million, is also a competitive gamer in Halo and Fortnite: creative mode. He finished 4th in the Fortnite World Cup Finals 2019 – Creative.

Streaming Fortnite on Twitch could earn you anything from$2 to $4 per 1000 viewers. If you have a very wide global target audience, twitch streaming could be a very profitable undertaking earning you anywhere between $1000 to $30,000 (depending on the followers) per month just from twitch. 

For comparison, Ninja earns close to $33,000 monthly from Twitch alone and he also happens to run a youtube channel 

Top 5 of Fornite and their earnings

S.noPlayer_IdCountryPlayer nameTotal earnings
1BughaUSAKyle Giersdorf$3,367,545.05
($3.36 million)
2AquaAustriaDavid Wang$2,003,174.23($2.00 million)
3PsalmUSAHarrison Chang$1,873,538.80($1.87 million)
4NyhroxNorwayEmil Bergquist Pedersen$1,538,395.69($1.53 million)
5EpikWhaleUSAShane Cotton$1,405,667.32($1.40 million)

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