- "Fortnite," the hit battle royale game that is adding more sponsorship opportunities for mobile marketers, reached $500 million in revenue on Apple's iOS devices in 326 days, a record for multiplayer action games, according to researcher Sensor Tower.
- The iOS version of "Fortnite," which was developed by Epic Games, posted average revenue of $1.53 million a day to reach the milestone. Players in the United States accounted for 64%, or $320 million, of the total, Sensor Tower said.
- Apple, which collects a 30% on in-app purchases, likely made $150 million from "Fortnite." The game was the No. 9-ranked mobile app worldwide last year based on its iOS revenue, Sensor Tower estimated. Epic Games let Android players download the game directly, bypassing the Google Play store, which also collects fees.
While the $500 million revenue mark on iOS is impressive, the estimated $150 million "Apple Tax" has to be a hard pill to swallow for Epic Games. Founder and CEO Tim Sweeney has described the fees paid to Apple and Google as a "parasitic loss," and the company is launching its own app store to compete with Google.
Along with the millions of dollars from in-app purchases in "Fortnite" — for battle passes, skins that change the appearance of game avatars and the virtual currency V-Bucks — Epic has also expanded sponsorship opportunities for brands seeking to reach the game's audience of mostly young males. Last year, Marvel Studios promoted "Avengers: Infinity War" by seamlessly integrating a character from the movie into the game, per The Verge.
A live concert by electronic dance music star Marshmello this month shows how brands can reach players on "Fortnite." Marshmello live-streamed a 10-minute concert within "Fortnite" that reached a remarkable 10 million people among the game's user base of 80 million. Leading up to the event, players had the opportunity to buy Marshmello-themed game items including a skin, glider and emote pack. The promotion for the concert helped to boost Marshmello's Twitter following by 147,000 and his YouTube subscriborship by 699,000, analyst Jose Arroyo said on LinkedIn. Marshmello's YouTube views surged 500% to 42.8 million after the concert compared with the prior week’s daily average.
"Advertising on this new platform can be really beneficial for brands if they do it right — it needs to feel like it’s part of the game and not a detriment to natural gameplay,” Elliot Tomaeno, founder and CEO of Astrsk PR, told NBC News.
Epic Games is facing more competition as other game developers seek to emulate the massive success of "Fortnite." Videogame giant Electronic Arts this week released a battle royale game called Apex Legends that doesn't allow for single-player gaming. Epic Games may have bought the keyword "Apex Games" on Google, because Fortnite appears at the top of searches for its new rival, Dot Esports reported.