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Fortnite celebrates 7 million mark thanks to Battle Royale (correction)

Beating PUBG to consoles looks like a pretty good play

In Fortnite: Battle Royale, players leap from a “battle bus” held aloft by a kind of hot air balloon. It’s a nod to Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds military transport plane.
Epic Games
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Correction: A previous version of this story mistakenly attributed a seven million player total to Fortnite: Battle Royale, a free, standalone mode in early access. Epic Games has confirmed to Polygon that the seven million player total is for all Fortnite players. This post has been revised to reflect this.

Original story: Fortnite and Fortnite: Battle Royale have seven million players between them, says developer Epic Games. The total was announced a week after a new game mode was spun off as a free-to-play, standalone game on PC and console.

Fortnite: Battle Royale is a reinterpretation of the battle royale genre, which was made popular by games like H1Z1: King of the Kill and Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds. The game, which has similar building mechanics to the original Fortnite, was introduced as a free-to-play title on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One on Sept. 26.

Both Fortnite and Fortnite: Battle Royale are in early access, as are H1Z1 and Battlegrounds. What makes this situation interesting is that when Battlegrounds launched this summer it anticipated a six-month journey to full release. That date was pushed back into 2018 just one month after the developers announced the game would launch on Xbox One as well. Only after that did Fortnite launch, and only after that did Fortnite: Battle Royale get announced.

It’s impossible to independently verify how many players have actually played Fortnite or Fortnite: Battle Royale. Epic says seven million, but its games aren’t sold on the Steam marketplace. In addition to Steam, third-party sites like SteamSpy can give us an idea of how many people are playing Battlegrounds. Of course, that service is still pulling from the same set of data that Steam itself uses to track players.

But, the situation could still prove to be challenging for Battlegrounds. Both their own claims and SteamSpy put the number of owners around 13 million. That took them the entire summer to accumulate. Making matters worse, when Battlegrounds does land on a console it will be exclusive to Xbox One. On paper, that means Fortnite: Battle Royale could have a bigger potential audience in the long run.

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