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Is Fortnite Battle Royale the Best Marketing Campaign of All Time

Yep. It is.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Fortnite Battle Royale is a free-to-play game published by Epic Games. The concept is basically the Hunger Games – up to 100 players are dropped on an island, there’s a scramble for weapons and gear, the last person (or squad) standing wins.

To say the game is popular may be the understatement of the year. Per Google Trends. “Fortnite” is more popular than “Apple” (http://www.businessinsider.com/fortnite-apple-google-search-trends-2018-4).

In March 2018 there were an estimated 45 million players worldwide and it is currently the most viewed game on Twitch.

And, it’s FREE. There are some in-game purchases available, but as someone who has logged an embarrassingly large number of hours playing over the last month I can testify that you can do quite well in the game spending $0.

Even so, analysis firm Super Data estimated that Fortnite Battle Royale made over $126 million in February 2018 (https://www.pcgamesn.com/fortnite/fortnite-revenue).

That makes the game a pretty solid loss leader.

The real revenue for Epic looks to the release of Fortnite Save the World, a spin-off of Battle Royale set to be released in 2018. And, unlike its predecessor, Save the World will come with a price tag (the founder’s pack is $59.99 on Amazon).

Epic is making money (a lot) with Battle Royale but they’ve set themselves up to make a whole lot more with the release of Save the World. We’re talking north of a billion dollars if it paces like 2017 Call of Duty WW2 (https://www.gamespot.com/articles/call-of-duty-ww-2-passes-1-billion-in-worldwide-sa/1100-6455775/).

So how is Battle Royal the best marketing campaign of all time?

  • As far as Content Marketing goes, releasing a free, ultra-popular game has been a winner.
  • While Epic didn’t include built-in tools for social sharing wins, losses, or in-game action the game is social by design (there is a Duo and Squad access that encourages playing with friends).
  • They focused on the “fun”. The similar concept game PUBG (Player’s Unknown Battlegrounds) is more authentic and was first-to-market. But Epic dominated with fun and silly emotes, costumes.
  • Epic got the tech right. While there have been a few hiccups and server downtimes, the game has essentially been flawless.

To recap:

  • A great product
  • A great price point ($0)
  • Massive social media appeal
  • Viral by design
  • Battle Royale will be the greatest loss leader of all time once the “for sale” product hits the market. In the mean time, Epic Games is still pocketing around $3m per day (and growing).

I’d love to share more details on how this marketing strategy could change everything – movies, consumer packaged goods, B2B marketing, etc. – but I’ve got to get a few battles logged before bedtime.