Who is the king of battle royale?

by Harrison Silverstein

Who is the King of Battle Royale? There is no question that more and more developers are trying to take advantage of the success of the Battle Royale. Nowadays, it seems as if Battle Royale games are a dime a dozen. However, only two games have really grown exponentially; PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite Battle Royale. Although similar in premise, the two games have very distinct differences that have attributed to their individualsuccesses. Here are a few of the biggest factors.

To Pay or Not to Pay 

Possibly the biggest difference between the two games is its cost to play. PUBG is $30 to purchase the game and you’re good to go. Fortnite however, is Free-to-Play. PUBG first smashed Steam records by blasting through the charts as the most popular game on steam. Toppling all-time ‘top tenners’ like DOTA 2, and Counter-Strike: GlobalOffensive

Fortnite, which is featured on the Epic Games’ launcher has reached 20 Million total players and over 1 million concurrent players as of this month. Although PUBG still reigns supreme, Fortnite skyrocketed in popularity almost as quickly as PUBG in a shorter amount of time. So what gave Epic Games the advantage to grow their game so quickly? One thing to take into consideration, Fortnite was available on console for several months before PUBG. Beating PUBG to the punch, Fortnite is benefiting off of themonopoly it currently has in the console market. 

With the recent release of PUBG on Xbox Game Preview, it remains to be seen whether Bluehole can match the success it's had on the PC with its console counterpart. 

End User Experience

What lead to Fortnite’s overwhelming player population so quickly? Sure it's free to play, but with PUBG being only $30 USD, it really isn’t such a huge issue. With Fortnite’s simplistic cartoony style, it benefits from lower resource consumption and provides consistent smooth framerates for a wider audience. PUBG unfortunately has been somewhat plagued with desync, frame rate drops, and optimization issues throughout its existence. 

Veterans of the earliest releases of PUBG will remember that looking anywhere towards Georgopol was absolutely crippling to their FPS, and even though the game is in an arguably better position (optimization wise) than before, especially with it set to leave early access soon, Fortnite doesn’t seem to struggle with this problem. The gameplay is smooth, and every shot feels like it properly registers. The game might not be have the same and that PUBG does ,but it's a great arcade-shooter. What Fortnite does, it does well.

Esports ready

PUBG does hold one distinct advantage over Fortnite: PUBG has proven to be an excellent spectator event. Drawing in 100k plus viewers in its first official esports tournaments, it has the viewer interest that pushed it to becoming an esport ahead of schedule. (Note: I’m in no way implying the game is "esports ready".) This isn’t to say that Fortnite cannot make an entrance into the esports scene, it just hasn’t made the jump quite yet. 

PUBG has shown it's potential for viewership, most recently with IEM Oakland and the Twitch Charity Invitational, and the growing online leagues such as Auzom and PUBGOnline.

While this is undoubtedly a heated debate online, it is important to remember:  “criticize harshly that which you love”. We criticize and compare only because we want our favorite games to be flawless. While I only listed a few,there are many more differences between Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite Battle Royale, but at the end of the day the competition and variety that spawns from the success of a game will increase the quality for games as a whole in the future.