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How Fortnite earns money More than a year after its release, the world is still talking about Fortnite – and for good reason. The royal battle played by more than 200 million people is free, but generates a ton of money.
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"Fortnite" could lose his mojo?

The extremely popular online game saw its revenues fall by 48% in January compared to the previous month, according to estimates by research firm SuperData.

And this happened before a new challenger, "Apex Legends", was on the scene, potentially flying thunder.

This does not necessarily concern Epic Games, publisher of "Fortnite", played by more than 200 million people. Indeed, the month of December is traditionally a big month of spending games. This could contribute to a low in January.

Joost van Dreunen, co-founder of SuperData, a research firm based in New York and bought by Nielsen last September, could do the same.

A screenshot of Fortnite. (Photo: Epic Games)

"Fortnite" offers a free royal battle mode that allows players to battle to become the last person to play in the game. With a lot of free games, "there is a base of users that would spend a lot of time and a smaller base that would spend a lot of money," said van Dreunen. "And there is a layer that comes and plays the game (and) they cycle and move on to the next thing."

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Some casual gamblers come and go, but "Fortnite" has a stable audience and revenue from this segment continues to grow, he said.

While "Fortnite" saw its revenues fall from December 2018 to January 2019, gaming revenue grew 85% in one year, says SuperData, which tracks the monthly spend of more than 160 million players to make its estimates.

The Epic Games' business figure tends to fluctuate from one month to the next, "said van Druenen.

Indeed, the expenses of the players are more and more related to the "passes of the battle", which Epic Games sells in the game for about $ 10.

You buy items using the virtual currency of the game, called "V-Bucks", which can be purchased with real money and earned through success in the game. In addition to a combat pass, which gives players a dozen items over time, they can also buy individual items to enhance their game, such as new costumes, weapons and dance celebrations called "emotes", ranging from $ 2 to $ 15 .

Players want to update their game because they still see their character in the third-person perspective of the game, said Michael Pachter, general manager of equity research at Wedbush Securities and long-time industry analyst.

In-game items are only available for a limited time, prompting players to buy them, he says. Fortified battle passes can contain a dozen items. "So people feel it's a good deal," said Pachter.

Until now, "Fortnite" has outperformed as a source of revenue, compared to other free games, he says. A free free game typical of 10 to 15 dollars per monthly active user. "Fortnite" is approaching around $ 40 per average monthly user with its "very unique monetization system," said Pachter.

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Fortnite may be a free video game, but it has already earned $ 1 billion this year, as well as a cult.
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Epic Games, a private company, has not released the revenue figures for "Fortnite", but the game would have helped generate a $ 3 billion profit for the company in 2018, according to TechCrunch, which quotes a source informed of the sector in December 2018. SuperData estimates that "Fortnite" earned $ 2.4 billion in 2018.

Epic Games did not return a comment request regarding the SuperData projections.

For February, Pachter thinks that the revenues of "Fortnite" could fall by 10%, due to the arrival of "Apex Legends". This game, from the studio that developed the games "Titanfall" and published by Electronic Arts, arrived on February 4th. The game "took its share of" Fortnite ", which happened for sure," said Pachter.

Epic is taking action to stir its audience. In the past two weeks, the publisher has organized a promotion, which ended Wednesday, awarding a free pass for season 8 to players who have successfully completed various challenges in the game.

The new season of the game starts Thursday, which will probably stimulate interest.

Nevertheless, the game has recently defined two benchmarks for the activity. The most important event of its history took place on February 2: 10.7 million players were online for a live concert in the game performed by the maestro of electronic music and DJ Marshmello. More recently, on February 16th, the game had its biggest event-free day with 7.6 million players at the same time.

And Epic has just started promoting this year's first Fortnite World Cup and the $ 100 million prize money that will be awarded at this competition and weekly support tournaments.

It remains to be seen whether "Fortnite" may lose some of its cultural weight.

"Apex Legends" should only win players. And other games such as "Call of Duty: Black Ops 4" have added new attractions for online games, including its "Fortnite" mode, its rival "Blackout".

"Fortnite" is now a "well-established franchise," said van Dreunen. But it may not be the most hip.

If "Fortnite" is to video games what rapper Cardi B is to music, for example, "all that is hot and trendy at the moment," he said, "next season is different".

Follow the USA TODAY reporter, Mike Snider, on Twitter: @ MikeSnider.

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