How much money did Fortnite make last year?

MBW has written before about the commercial phenomenon that is video game Fortnite.

The free-to-play title has a few ties to the music industry, including the fact(s) that: (i) Chinese entertainment and media giant Tencent owns 40% of Fortnite’s creator, Epic Games; (ii) Drake played an influential role in elevating the game’s mainstream status by playing it on a hugely popular live stream in Q1 2018; (iii) Fortnite-streamer-cum-internet-personality Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins recently inked a partnership with Capitol Music Group’s Astralwerks, with the dance label hoping to tap into his 11m-plus online audience.

Now we know what Fortnite turned over in revenue last year – all generated, remember, by fans paying money for extras that aren’t essential to play the game in the first place. Brace yourself.

According to new numbers issued in the annual report of Nielsen-owned games industry monitor SuperData, Fortnite broke the all-time annual video games revenue barrier last year, taking $2.4bn around the world.

To offer a music industry comparison: that’s more money than Universal Music Group turned over from streaming in the first nine months of 2018 ($2.22bn), and more than Sony Corp paid to effectively acquire EMI Music Publishing, when it bought 60% of that business for $2.3bn.

It’s also more than the biggest blockbuster movie of 2018, Avengers: Infinity War, made at the Box Office across the world last year ($2.05bn).

Plus, it’s approximately 13% of what the entire global recorded music industry, across all formats, is expected to have generated in 2018.

Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins, says SuperData, saw his online popularity rocket, largely thanks to Fortnite; his Twitch channel videos raked in more than 218m hours of watch-time last year.


The Top 10 free-to-play video games of 2018, according to SuperData (Title; Developer; Revenue) were:

  1. Fortnite, Epic Games – $2.4bn
  2. Dungeon Fighter Online, Nexon – $1.5bn
  3. League of Legends, Riot Games, Tencent – $1.4bn
  4. Pokemon GO, Niantic – $1.3bn
  5. Crossfire, Neowiz Games – $1.3bn
  6. Honour of Kings, Tencent – $1.3bn
  7. Fate/Grand Order, Aniplex – $1.2bn*
  8. Candy Crush Saga, King/Activision Blizzard – $1.1bn
  9. Monster Strike, Mixi – $1.0bn
  10. Clash Royale, Supercell, Tencent – $0.9bn

* Fate/Grand Order’s revenues will be of particular interest to music industry-watchers in the world of financial analysis, as this mobile game comes under Sony Corporation’s ‘Music’ division, categorised as ‘Visual Media and Platform’ in the Japanese company’s quarterly and annual financial results.


And the Top 10 ‘premium’ (paid for) PC and console video games in the year, says SuperData, were:

  1. PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds (aka PUBG), Bluehole – $1.028bn
  2. FIFA 18, Electronic Arts – $790m
  3. Grand Theft Auto V, Take-Two Interactive – $628m
  4. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Activision Blizzard – $612m
  5. Red Dead Redemption 2, Take-Two Interactive – $516m
  6. Call of Duty: WWII, Activision Blizzard – $506m
  7. FIFA 19, Electronic Arts – $482m
  8. Monster Hunter: World, Capcom – $467m
  9. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege, Ubisoft – $440m
  10. Overwatch, Activision Blizzard – $429m

Overall, says SuperData, the rise of Fortnite helped the global free-to-play games market generate $87.7bn globally in 2018; ‘premium’ (paid for) boxed and digital games, meanwhile, generated $17.8bn, up 10% year-on-year.Music Business Worldwide

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