Go onto any online gaming message forum, and the debate will be there. PUBG vs. Fortnite, the Battle Royale duel between an early concept that skyrocketed in success, but a true winner taking their idea, flipping it on its head and creating something much, much better.
Before I get into this, I have played Player’s Unknown Battlegrounds, for about twenty minutes. When it first came out, I was dying to play it, but without a PC, I was left watching twitch streams and youtube playthroughs. One day in November, I was browsing the PlayStation Store looking for something to play with my buddies, and I stumble across Fortnite. It looks pretty simplistic, a copycat of PUBG for sure, but it’s free, why not give it a shot. I log in, and I’m hooked. I immediately got my friends to download it and the six of us rotated through playing squad games, and to this day the majority of us still play pretty often.
PUBG came out on Xbox One in the new year, and since I picked up a One S, my buddy and I decided to split it. It was buggy, way too much real estate and not nearly as thrilling as Fortnite. We ran around for a good 15-20 minutes, found a car, drove it into a river, got out, ran around some more before being picked off from a quarter mile away. Fun. I quit the game, haven’t picked it up since.
What makes Fortnite so genius is that they not only made the game free to play (sort of), but they took everything that made PUBG so popular, and completely reversed it. PUBG is full of detail, realism (for the most part) and grand maps that let you explore and team up for survival against 90+ other players. While Fortnite kept the basic values of PUBG, they went for the simplistic approach, which is good news for their developers. They took the giant map and crammed it into a smaller space, but not too small, for fast-paced action, more weapons, less realism for a wider audience and most of all, building, which gave the game a fresh perspective and made it seperate itself from PUBG. All this was a perfect strategy to profit off of something that was great, but could be much more, by taking things away rather than adding more.
Sure, the game has expanded a lot over the past few months, with miniguns, hand cannons, rocket launchers and all kinds of other gadgets and traps being added to the game along with a re-designed map and crisper graphics, but Fortnite has reached its peak. We’re talking about it, friends are talking about it, celebrities are talking about it, professional athletes are hooked on it. Fortnite has officially hit the glass ceiling. Now the question is, how long can they sustain this popularity? And can PUBG make a comeback? To be fair, PUBG still has a very large prescence on PC, but Fortnite has dwarfed them across all platforms. Once Fortnite releases its campaign (which should be out by now, no?) another wave of players will flock to it to test out the co-op zombies story mode for a fresh take, but they will need to continue to make the Battle Royale mode fresh and exciting, by hosting unique modes and challenges every week in order to keep the current player traffic at the rate it’s currently at. While personally I don’t think Fortnite can possibly stay this popular past the new year, it’s been an absolute blast to play considering it was free, and I still enjoy picking it up every now and then and giving it a go, although I don’t think I’ll ever win a solo match. Ever.
As far as PUBG goes, it’s back to the drawing board if they want to catch up with Fortnite, but again, don’t see that happening.