Fortnite fever consumed the battle royale market when we weren't looking

This is the source of the games.

To get an idea of what the current market for battle royales looks like, you have to start at the beginning.

I've always felt that PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds was the most grounded of all the battle royales. The idea of 100 people being dropped over an island to duke it out until one remains standing is inherently fanciful, but as the first of the current battle royale craze when it launched in 2017, it always felt the most realistic. It was a straightforward shooter with very few frills minus some cool clothes and a brutal frying pan melee weapon.

The original fell by the wayside as more games tried to get in on what the game was about. The brand is not a failure. Player spending on mobile games has passed $7 billion, making it the second-highest-grossing mobile title worldwide, according to Sensor Tower. It was the highest grossing mobile game of the year. The player base is expected to grow even larger now that the game is free-to-play.

It doesn't get the same amount of press in the West as other games like Call of Duty: Warzone, and Apex Legends. I was surprised when I looked at what PUBG Mobile has been up to recently, it became just like Fornite, one of its main competitors. This has been confirmed by the move of the game to a free-to-play model.

The source is Krafton.

If you think about it, it makes sense. The game dominates almost every space it's in, has a huge player base, is a merchandising machine, and is able to attract huge talent like Marshmello and Ariana Grande to play in-game concerts. It's not just a game anymore, it's a cultural powerhouse. If you're trying to attract players, why not use what works?

PUBG has deviated from its roots in purchases and limited-time events.

Microtransactions in the form of optional cosmetics have been a popular way for live service games to make money. The first game in the series was free-to-play, so it was fine that it wasn't as robust. Over time, the battle pass model has become more complex and has been used in many mobile titles. The game has more than one optional layer, including one that allows you to track minutes played for experience and another that lets you add even more weekly quests.

The progression model has been changed because of the free-to-play model. Every player has a Basic account, but there is a one-time upgrade called Battlegrounds Plus, which will cost $12.99 and unlocks features like ranked mode and the ability to create custom matches.

The purchases and limited-time events of the game have deviated from its roots, with more cartoonish skins and outfits. Sony and Riot Games collaborated on a Spider-Man: No Way Home event, in addition to partnering with PUBG Mobile to bring Arcane characters and items to the game. The comparisons are unavoidable, considering that the movie had a Spider-Man collaboration.

There is a new face on the battlegrounds.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is in theaters now.

January 17, 2022.

I realized that the change in the strategy of the game was even more extreme than I had thought. This isn't just a game phenomenon. Call of Duty announced earlier this month that it would be releasing DLC based on the popular movie Attack on Titan. The Ghostface bundle was part of a sponsorship for the new movie. Over the past couple of years, characters like Rambo and Judge Dredd have been added to Call of Duty games, and they're not the only ones. Free Fire, a popular mobile battle Royale, recently announced a Assassin's Creed crossover.

Since it's proven time and time again that it's successful, you can't blame PUBG for adapting the model across its games.

It seems like a lot of developers are trying to get in on the success of the game, whether it's moving to a free-to-play model with a premium battle pass option, or using its history of more kid-friendly, brand-focused events. Mark Zuckerberg's cry for the metaverse has encouraged other companies to get in on the action, which is something Unreal Games has already been doing with their game. The world of media interact, in-game events, and questionable exhibits has built a space where players can congregate and beyond just games. Whether we like it or not, it has been a pioneer for many years and will continue to be so.

Since it's proven time and time again that it's successful, you can't blame PUBG for adapting the model across its games. It made more than $9 billion in its first two years, even though it isn't readily available on mobile thanks to some high-profile delistings and subsequent lawsuits. I wonder how this conformity affects the products.

There are small differences between all the battle royales, whether on traditional platforms or mobile, but this doesn't give players a lot of choice in what games they play. When all of its competitors are adopting similar ideas, what's left for players, and similarly, games as a whole? All games that adopt the same aesthetic and pay models can potentially stifle innovation among newer games, and keep the genre stagnant. You can still play the game on any great phone, but it's fading away.

Carli is the editor of the gaming section. Her last name is similar to a dinosaur. Email her at if you want to follow her.