How Does Fortnite Make Money?

In September 2017, the world of gaming changed forever. Fortnite Battle Royale was released in its beta mode. With quiet beginnings, no one would’ve guessed that the game would go on to become the cultural phenomenon that it is now. As the makers of the Gears of War franchise, Epic Games had major shoes to fill with its newest title. Fortnite has enjoyed significant success with consumers, and even though the game is technically free to play, the game has already brought in over $1.2 billion in revenue in just two years. So, how does a game that is free to play make so much money? Gamercraft is here to find out.

In Game Purchases

Fortnite item shop
Fortnite Battle Royale’s Item Shop

If you’ve ever played Fortnite, you’ve most likely taken a trip to the item shop. This is precisely where Epic Games can cash in with microtransactions. Microtransactions or in-game purchases are purchases made with actual money that award the gamer something virtual to be used within the game. While this isn’t a necessarily new thing for video games, the way that Epic has executed Fortnite’s purchasing system is not only interesting but also the key to its success. Gamers can purchase V buck packages that cost anywhere from $4.99-$99.99. Vbucks are Fortnite’s in-game currency and can be used in the item shop to purchase cosmetics such as skins, emotes, wraps, and more. Vbucks can also be used to buy the battle pass, but we’ll get to that in a second. So, with the item shop specifically, items usually rotate through 24-48-hour periods as the store is continuously refreshed, which brings us to another important point; exclusivity.

Exclusivity

Fortnite screenshot
Fortnite has the ability to “vault” certain skins, which then raises their exclusivity.

In the early days of Fortnite, I don’t think anyone could have grasped the scale of the community that would soon surround the game. Because items circulate out of the shop regularly, those who have already purchased the skins maintain a certain level of perceived exclusivity in the community. Keep in mind that none of these skins grant the user any special powers or upgrades, they’re all purely cosmetic. The exclusivity concept has proven lucrative, and it’s not only just Epic that is seeing the benefits. 3rdparty selling sites and even individual players have taken to selling their “OG Skins” or the rarest of the rare items that haven’t seen the light of day in the item shop for quite some time. As you can see from the prices below, this market has definitely become valuable in its own right.

Retaining Purchases

screenshot
3rd party Fortnite account selling site.

Out of all the people who currently play Fortnite, at least 69% of users regularly make in-game purchases. Epic has a pretty amazing talent for ensuring that they keep users coming back for more. Epic regularly releases new additions to the item shop; this constant reliability is a boost for profits. Fortnite is currently nearing the end of its 9th season. Thus people will most likely be getting ready to drop another 1,000 V bucks or $9.99 if they wish to enjoy the next season’s battle pass. Fortnite’s battle pass is structured with 100 tiers for users to move through as they earn new skins, emotes, and wraps by completing challenges to level up. The battle pass model has proved to be especially popular as it allows users the chance to gain multiple items for only one small price.

Whether you love it or hate it, you can’t knock the fact that Fortnite’s in-game purchases model is revolutionary. Epic has focused on not only building an award-winning game but also strives to continue to develop and sustain the gigantic community behind it. There you have it, Fortnite’s not so secret “secret to monetary success”. How much money have you spent on Fortnite?

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