VFX #FeatureFriday: Why 'Fortnite' did not hit the Indian popularity mark in 2018?

#FeatureFriday: Why did ‘Fortnite’ not hit the Indian popularity mark in 2018?

Jump into Fortnite Battle Royale and head to the Battle Pass tab!

Over one and a half years back Fortnite globally revolutionised the gaming scene. Launched on 27 July, 2017 by Epic games with various modes, it has been counted as one of the most popular video games in the world, with 200 million registered users in India alone. Despite the global appeal, Fortnite failed to hit the level of popularity mark in India widely.

The game has built a global hype and thus everyone ranging from celebrities to teenagers to youngsters and so on are engrossed in playing the game. Not only that, even colleges have started giving scholarships to the best players. Some say that it has become the entry point video games for many young players and even self-identified non-gamers, making it akin to classic games like Pac-Man or Super Mario Bros.

The game is one of the most debatable topics among Indian enthusiasts and gamers because despite having reasons for its global popularity it somewhere lacks to reach Indian popularity mark. We have listed a few of the possible reasons why the game has failed to reach the popularity mark in India.

Similarity with PUBG

Fortnite may seem to be in the lead globally but actually, there are many games  in “battle royale” genre, for example, Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, or PUBG, Realm Royale, Stand Out: Battle Royale VR, Maelstrom, Surviv.io. The gameplay of Fortnite has nothing fresh in the kitty where online players to go against each other in a kill-or-be-killed competition, similar to the Hunger Games.

Before Fortnite entered the Indian gaming scene PUBG had already saturated the Indian gamers’ market as it was introduced first. Not only that, PUBG has been labelled as the most-watched battle-royale game on Twitch before Fortnite exploded in popularity mark and is largely considered to be the more mature alternative.

One of the important facts is that Fortnite was free to play worldwide since the time of its launch whereas PUBG was not. But later when PUBG launched in India through a separate publisher over Android, the makers kept it free to download and play for the Indian audience.

As both PUBG and Fortnite targeted the battle royal audience, therefore, it has initiated an unspoken rivalry between the two games, which has inspired many heated debates along the way. The similarity level of both the games is so high that audience who were already saturated with PUBG will not find an appropriate reason to shift to Fortnite.

 Yet to unwind in Android mobile operating system 
For a game to reach the zenith of popularity, it is quite important that the game should be available for playing in all the platforms. This way it helps to reach wide audience irrespective of platforms. India’s operating system is dominated by 69.69 per cent of Android users. As the game is not directly supported on the Android operating system thus the game is lacking behind capturing a huge market.

Gaming enthusiasts believe that the game’s arrival on Google’s mobile OS will initiate a momentum to the game and developers. But since it is not happening anytime soon, therefore, users are going to the official website, downloading the game APK (programme files) and installing it on the phone, instead of visiting Google Play Store and downloading from the app store.

This results in users to fall for untrustworthy sources to download the game, unlike Google Play store. Therefore Google might warn users about unauthorised downloads and their devices might get disrupted, compromising the security and privacy of the system with malware. The main reason why Fortnite did not tie up with Google play because of Google’s 30/70 per cent developer program, where Google will take 30 per cent of the profit from the developer.

 No choices provided for server selection thus higher ping rates 

Ping refers to the number of milliseconds it takes for a real-life action (e.g., pressing a button or moving the mouse) to register in the game server a gamer is using. At the Fortnite Indian server forum section, you often find players reporting with poor gaming server with high ping rates. It is known to all hardcore online gamers that lower the ping, the smoother will be the gameplay.

To solve the issue Fortnite also launched SEA server early September with sub-region matchmaking but despite that, the problems were not solved completely.  Because the players are not provided with a chance to choose the sub-server as the servers are auto selected as per the match availability.

Therefore most of the players reported at the Fortnite India forum that the moment their game matched with different sub server (for e.g Tokyo server ) apart from direct SEA Singapore server they receive higher ping rates which disrupt gameplay. This might be one of the possible reasons why the popularity of the game did not hit the mark.

Fortnite not available on Xbox One in India

Fortnite is not available on Xbox One in India might be another reason for lacking in popularity graph. One cannot download Fortnite Battle Royale via the India Microsoft Store and one can’t buy Fortnite Save the World either. It is available on PS4 but one cannot download the game in Xbox in India. Fortnite expressed earlier to the press that the reason behind not launching the game in Indian Xbox One is because of the data centre proximity concern.

“Contrary to what may have been implied, Microsoft has long been a leading voice in supporting cross-platform play, connecting players across PC, mobile and all consoles. We’ve been working together with them over the last several months to make this possible and will bring this functionality to Fortnite players on Xbox right along with other platforms,” as per Epic’s blog announcing Xbox cross-platform play for Fortnite in October.

There is often an argument that Fortnite is watered-down, for babies version of PUBG. Whereas Twitch streaming star Tyler Ninja Blevins, the guy who’s making at least $500K every month streaming “Fortnite” for thousands of people, disagrees; he says on a podcast episode that, “A lot of people are like, PUBG requires so much more skill because there’s no building.”

The debate can go on and on. But the truth is only the player who played both and has analysed the games closely can take the call.

As far as the popularity mark of the game is concerned it is popular but it has been unable to surpass PUBG ‘s popularity mark in India and the possible reasons which we shared are quite legit. Apart from that we also sensed that PUBG’s marketing, brand collaborations and acquiring Tencent games for mobile distribution of the game were the smart movements taken by the developer towards its over-hyped popularity which can hardly be bypassed by any other game like Fortnite.