Update: PUBG developer Bluehole, Inc. is not too pleased about Fortnite copying their game. See below.
A few weeks ago, Epic Games announced that their base building and wave-killing game Fortnite was receiving a Battle Royale mode. This mode is influenced by PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG), pitting 100 players against each other on a large map with the winner being the last player left alive. Just yesterday, however, Epic Games has revealed that this mode will be released as its own game, titled Fortnite: Battle Royale, and it will be free-to-play.
PUBG, a game that still technically hasn't released, has broken several records on Steam. Most recently, PUBG broke Dota 2's record for the most concurrent players for a single game on Steam at 1,348,374. However, it has not reached consoles and is not planning to until it releases on Xbox One later this year. Fortnite: Battle Royale releasing in less than a week means that is the only game of this style (outside of a new mode in GTA Online) for those without a PC.
Even with the millions of copies that PUBG has sold, the untapped console market is huge, with over 60 million PS4s sold, as well as over 33 million Xbox Ones. Of course, some console owners play on multiple platforms or just aren't interested in the battle royale genre, but with 93 million potential players, odds are that Fortnite: Battle Royale will be successful. On top of the user base, it is free-to-play and players are not required to own the original Fortnite game released earlier this year.
Since Fortnite: Battle Royale doesn't require any money up front, it immediately brings up some concern over whether or not it will be "pay to win." However, Epic Games has confirmed that there will be no microtransactions that allow players to buy better guns than their opponents. As detailed in a blog post on Epic's official website, paid items are planned to be "cosmetics or compendium-like content." Also, those who purchased Fortnite between September 12-19 are eligible to receive a refund, since Battle Royale was originally announced as part of the main game.
Just last week in Fortnite, Epic Games "accidentally" allowed cross-platform multiplayer between PS4 and Xbox One users, but then patched out the feature since it isn't allowed by both Microsoft and Sony. Microsoft has been very open to cross-platform play, with the most recent example being that Minecraft players on Xbox One can play with those on PC and even Nintendo Switch. Sony, however, has refused to allow all cross-platform play except for PS4 and PC users. If Sony changes its mind, the community for Fortnite and Fortnite: Battle Royale could be huge.
It is a smart move by Epic Games to release Fortnite: Battle Royale before PUBG can get to consoles. It gives console owners the ability to play a battle royale game for free, and since the original Fortnite has received a pretty positive reception, fans familiar with the franchise name will be more willing to pick it up.
Update: Chang Han Kim, Vice President and Executive Producer for Bluehole, Inc., said the following in an official press release sent out September 22, 2017 regarding Fortnite allegedly copying core elements of PUBG's mode, structure, etc. (and releasing is so much quicker):
“After listening to the growing feedback from our community and reviewing the gameplay for ourselves, we are concerned that Fortnite may be replicating the experience for which PUBG is known.”
“We have also noticed that Epic Games references PUBG in the promotion of Fortnite to their community and in communications with the press. This was never discussed with us and we don’t feel that it’s right.”
“The PUBG community has and continues to provide evidence of the many similarities as we contemplate further action.”
Fortnite: Battle Royale releases for PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Mac on September 26.