Fortnite Battle Royale, published by Epic Games, was just recently released for iOS to great fanfare; it was previously only available on PC and console. The release has been a tremendous hit with more than 40 million users across all platforms and mobile revenue surpassing $15 million in the first three weeks. Fornite Battle Royale is outperforming other leading titles like Candy Crush Saga, Clash of Clans and Pokemon Go. This remarkable success has led to a noticeable increase in Boku’s carrier billing volume from Xbox, PS4, and iOS.
While there have been plenty of hit freemium games on mobile, they are rare on console. The console gaming industry has historically been fueled by the sale of physical discs through retail stores and, more recently, a growing number of full-priced downloads. Yet this shift to digital downloads has been slow due to the frequent discounting by physical retailers and the popularity of buying and selling used discs.
But what happens when console games can be downloaded for free? Discs pass into oblivion. Fortnite Battle Royale can be downloaded to your PlayStation and Xbox for free which means the only people buying the physical discs are those with slow Internet connections. So, while the focus has mostly been on Fortnite Battle Royale’s expansion from console to mobile, perhaps the more interesting observation is the expansion of the freemium model from mobile to console.
Boku’s data reveals that this transition has been picking up speed. Overall carrier billing volume on console is steadily increasing as gamers shift their spending (for digital downloads, in-game purchases, and live services) from offline to online. In fact, every time Electronic Arts (which reportedly earned $1.68 billion from in-game purchases last year) releases the latest version of the ever popular FIFA game, Boku sees a predictable spike in carrier billed payment volume from both Xbox and PlayStation.
Fortnite Battle Royale may finally signal the beginning of the end of the physical game disc. If that is the case, the ease with which gamers can make in-game purchases and pay for subscriptions will be critical to the growth of console gaming revenues. The good news is that mobile gaming has already shown how access to simple, ubiquitous payment methods like carrier billing is achievable and critical to success.
In response to this trend, Boku is expanding carrier billing availability on console to more markets while improving in-game purchasing experiences and refining subscription capabilities. That means:
- making it easier to securely charge your mobile account from your game controller for a better user experience
- handling a wider variety of subscription pricing schemes to improve user acquisition
- implementing smarter rebilling and billing recovery features to reduce churn
In the meantime, whether you have a PC, PlayStation, Xbox, or an iOS device, try downloading Fortnite Battle Royale. It’s free!