It’s a simple concept for a videogame. Starting from high up in the sky, 100 players parachute down onto a massive island where they loot weapons and power-ups, hide, take cover, and hunt down their fellow avatars.
In December, South Korean publisher Bluehole brought this simple concept to the forefront with PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG). Gritty, immersive, and with heart-throbbing levels of intensity, PUBG forces players to rely on a combination of tactical thinking, stealth, and firearms acumen in both the third and first-person perspectives to emerge victorious.
Then came Epic Games’ Fortnite. Popping up on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam as an early access title in July, the game’s Battle Royale mode has captured the hearts and Instagram feeds of gamers across the world. In a relatively short period of time, Fortnite has surpassed its rival in concurrent players, with more than 3.4-million PC gamers jumping on board the Battle Bus last month.
Here’s how Fortnite‘s Battle Royale is owning the Battleground.
Accessible: All Platforms, Ages, and Skill Levels
Available on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and even Mobile, Fortnite has all its bases covered in the gaming market. With a price tag of zero dollars to play Battle Royale, Fortnite is a no-brainer download for casual gamers.
In a market dominated by expensive titles and DLC, it’s no surprise that gamers are gravitating towards Fortnite, and are quickly getting hooked on its addictive gameplay.
Geared more towards hardcore gamers with PC gaming rigs, PUBG plays more like a massive tactical shooter. With PUBG‘s seemingly endless player customization options, and an uneasy competitive atmosphere rife with cheaters, Fortnite‘s happy-go-lucky tone and cartoony graphics appeal to a wider demographic of casual gamers of all ages.
It’s a Social Animal
While PUBG has become a hit amongst the PC gaming crowd, it hasn’t quite made it to the mainstream. Even with its fort building element, Fortnite‘s learning curve is small, making it a go-to party title for groups of pals to hook up and conquer its duos, squad, or teams of 20 modes. What’s more, Fortnite is upping the social ante, with its plan to soon support cross-platform functionality.
On the social media front, the most watched game on Twitch dominates Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter feeds with its contribution to the meme economy. Even celebrities are getting on board, with hip-hop star Drake and Pittsburgh Steelers Wide Receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster recently joining popular Twitch streamer Ninja for a record-breaking Fortnite session.
Breaking the “Free-to-Play” Mold
Although Fortnite‘s PvE “Save the World” zombie mode is a paid title, the substantially more popular Battle Royale offshoot is 100% free. While microtransactions are available in Fortnite, the way the title approaches them is refreshing. Players can purchase “V-Bucks” — Fortnite‘s in-game currency — which can be used to buy new avatars, emotes, dance moves, and other purely aesthetic customization options. Noting you can purchase in the Fortnite shop gives players any competitive advantage whatsoever.
If a player doesn’t mind sticking with the game’s defaults, they can easily enjoy Fortnite Battle Royale in its entirety without spending a dime. They also have the option to purchase the subscription-based Battle Pass for $10 USD, which allows players to earn rewards as they complete specific objectives. PUBG takes a similar approach to its microtransactions, offering “Battle Points” to purchase in-game cosmetics. Unlike Fotrnite however, PUBG posts a modest $29.99 USD price tag.
Although Fortnite is winning the popularity contest, PUBG is no slouch. The more realistic experience of the two, PUBG boasts a comprehensive selection of armaments and weapon add-ons in stark contrast to Fortnite‘s basic pistol, shotgun, assault rifle, SMG, and sniper rifle weapons set. Taking a page from the Battlefield franchise, PUBG also features vehicles, allowing players to move around the game’s two much larger maps faster, giving players more to do, explore, and ways to kill each other.
Strikingly similar in concept to the point of lawsuit threats and “knock-off” allegations, Fortnite and PUBG have brought a brand-new genre to the mainstream. With the right tweaks to eliminate technical bugs and cheaters, and the launch of a PS4 version, the original battle royale title has the potential to reach Fortnite levels of fandom. For now, however, the land of Tomato Town, Tilted Towers, and Loot Lake is king.
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