In the span of less than two years, the battle royale genre has gone from fledgling to formidable on mobile. New research by Sensor Tower reveals that the top five titles in the category have now grossed in excess of $2 billion worldwide across the App Store and Google Play, according to Store Intelligence data. They are led by Knives Out from NetEase, which has amassed more than $640 million in global player spending on mobile since launching in November 2017.
Fortnite from Epic Games ranks second in terms of spending, with its iOS version alone grossing an estimated $630 million to date. Tencent-developed PUBG Mobile, now known as Game for Peace in China, comes in third with close to $439 million. Meanwhile, Garena Free Fire has just edged past $250 million in worldwide gross revenue and a second NetEase title, Rules of Survival—which, like Knives Out, was also released in November 2017—is closing in on the $100 million mark.
Combined player spending in these five titles in the first quarter of 2019 reached $476 million globally, led by PUBG Mobile with $148 million or about 31 percent of the total. This was an increase of nearly 63 percent quarter-over-quarter from $91 million in 4Q18, when PUBG Mobile accounted for about 19 percent of spending among the five titles. Fortnite for iOS saw its share of revenue decrease to 25 percent last quarter from 34 percent in 4Q18, with spending down 26 percent Q/Q to approximately $119.4 million.
While Knives Out, Fortnite, and Rules of Survival all experienced negative growth in Q1 compared to 2018's final quarter, Garena Free Fire joined PUBG Mobile in positive territory, increasing player spending about 18 percent Q/Q to $90 million worldwide.
With Tencent's Game for Peace just beginning to monetize in China and Fortnite expected to launch there by the end of 2019, the category's momentum on mobile doesn't appear set to slow down anytime soon.
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