by: Elizabeth Balboa, Benzinga Staff Writer
As of last week, Fortnite Battle Royale was grossing more than $1 million globally in daily in-app mobile purchases, according to Sensor Tower research.
The mobile edition launched for iOS users April 1 and very quickly overwhelmed the Apple Inc. AAPL 1.22% App Store. In its first few weeks, U.S. iPhone users spent more money in Fortnite than in any other app except Netflix, Inc. NFLX 4.89%, far outpacing even Match Group Inc MTCH 0.3%’s Tinder, Pandora Media Inc P 1.14%, Alphabet Inc Class A GOOGL 5.17%’s YouTube andActivision Blizzard, Inc. ATVI 1.03%’s Candy Crush.
The game isn't even Android-accessible yet. By Sensor Tower’s estimates, the iOS and upcoming Android platforms alone could drive $500 million in gross revenue by the end of the year — and that’s just for Tencent TCEHY 1.07%.
Tencent owns a 40 percent stake in Epic Games, the video game company that developed Fortnite.
Fortnite could drive gains across diverse industries.
MGM Resorts International MGM 0.91% drew hordes of spenders Saturday for a tournament at the Luxor Hotel and Casino’s Esports Arena Las Vegas. Activision Blizzard could similarly cash in with competitions through MLG GameBattles.
The game broke Twitch records during Saturday’s competition by bringing in the streaming service’s largest ever audience — more than 680,000 concurrent viewers.
The Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN 4.08% subsidiary makes its money on ads and premium subscriptions, which could be in higher demand as e-sports expand.
“We believe the e-sports audience is set to grow to over 550 million by 2021, with 250 million ‘enthusiasts’ and almost 150 million players (all increasing by 75 percent vs. 2017), with NVDA's current 100 million installed base potentially growing to 135 million-plus over the same time period due to rising popularity of e-sports,” the sell-side firm Bernstein said in a note.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch recently identified a 15- to 20-percent growth opportunity for Nvidia driven by the likes of Fortnite.
High-level players, known as e-sports athletes, are also cashing in on the game. Last weekend’s tournament had $50,000 at stake.
The most famous player in the Fortnite universe, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, makes $500,000 per month as a Twitch streamer, and some competitors are sustained by corporate sponsorships from the likes of Comcast Corporation CMCSA 0.44% and PepsiCo, Inc. PEP 0.07%’s Mountain Dew.
Some are being paid in higher ed opportunities. Prospective Ashland University students can win $4,000 scholarships to play on the school team, which is run by hired coaching staff.
Screenshot courtesy of Epic Games.
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