PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, the star game of last year, is rapidly losing its player base. Sitting at 1.6 million average players in January, that base is now down to fewer than 900,000. That’s a drop of nearly 50 percent in five months.
The decline in PUBG’s numbers corresponds directly to the skyrocketing of Fortnite, the game’s biggest competitor. It seems Fortnite has siphoned off many PUBG players and, according to its creators, has amassed close to 50 million players.
As Fortnite launched its battle royale mode back in September, PUBG’s month-over-month player growth started to slow down. Naturally, this also spilled over to Twitch, the go-to place for streamers. Once January was over, Fortnite started consecutively reaching higher numbers on the streaming site than PUBG.
This, however, doesn’t mean that PUBG is dropping the ball. The game is still among the most popular in the genre. And when it comes to games on Steam, PUBG is still No. 1, close to doubling the numbers of other popular titles like Dota 2.
Both companies are well aware of battle royale’s esports community and are putting lot of effort into developing and expanding their individual positions. While PUBG has announced its own $2 million tournament, Fortnite showed its commitment by putting $100 million up for the community.
A tense environment
With the fierce competition in the scene, there’s always the possibility of clashing in the legal sense. One example is PUBG’s recent lawsuit against Fortnite developer Epic Games. The company claims that the latter has violated copyrights and “may be replicating the experience for which Battlegrounds is known.”
While the legal repercussions of this have yet to be seen, it’s clear that since Fortnite entered the scene, PUBG has attempted to protect its turf.