Video game giants are making Fortnite copycats to stop the bleeding

Stalking revenues.
Stalking revenues.
Image: Courtesy of Electronic Arts
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No game-maker has figured out how to beat Fortnite. Plenty have decided to make copycat versions, joining the fray to satisfy players’ appetite for battle-royale-style games.

Epic Games’ Fortnite has taken a big bite out of gaming industry revenues. Last year, the free-to-play mega-hit raked in $2.4 billion—more than FIFA 18, Grand Theft Auto V, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Overwatch combined. And today (Feb. 6), shares of gaming giants Take-Two Interactive Software and Electronics Arts are tumbling after they announced their revenues have tanked.

Publishers seem to have collectively concluded that the only remedy is more battles royale. Yesterday, EA announced the release of a new free title, Apex Legends. The company also plans to add a battle royale mode to its latest Battlefield title, which flopped. Even Red Dead Redemption 2, the premium game industry’s breakout hit, has added a battle royale mode to its online experience.

Not every gaming outfit is feeling the same pressure. Capcom announced record high profits this week, thanks to the breakout success of its action role-playing game Monster Hunter: World. The game doesn’t pit dozens of players against each other in an ever-shrinking world where only one can survive. It’s just an old-fashioned quest to hunt and kill some monsters.

As Fortnite’s shadow looms large over the entertainment industry, pulling eyeballs away from rival games and Netflix alike, EA CFO Blake Jorgensen told Bloomberg he knows what his company is up against. “It’s always a battle,” he said, “for time more than a battle for money.”