Deep-Dive: How Does Fortnite Make Money


Very few games in the world are as popular as Fortnite. This battle-royale game has been among the highest-grossing games in recent years. Its influence is evident not just in the gaming world but also in the wider outside world.

There are millions of ardent fans of Fortnite from countries around the globe. It has inspired the culture in a myriad of ways.

Besides being a well-made game, there are numerous reasons for the popularity of the game. In this blog, we aim to explore how Fortnite makes money, the different revenue models that Fortnite follows, and the reasons why it has become a huge hit.

History of Fortnite

The origins of Fortnite have a vast history behind it. The game is the product of Epic, a game development company most known in the industry for being classic games such as Unreal Tournament. These days, however, Epic is known mainly for being behind the famed Unreal Engine, a game engine and 3D creation platform used by video game development companies worldwide, including CD Projekt and Riot Games.

Epic released Fortnite back in 2017 as a building/survival game. However, battle-royale games such as PUBG gained a massive foothold in the gaming industry around the same time. This led Epic to incorporate the battle-royale mode into Fortnite and release Fortnite: Battle Royale.

Battle-royale games follow the same pattern. A group of people all drop onto an island. Once inside the island, the players must gather loot, and then they must move toward the central area and combat each other. The last one standing becomes the winner.

The gameplay is inspired by the hit movie Battle-Royale, based on a book of the same name.

Fortnite became a massive hit within a short time. Its cartoonish art style and lack of gore helped it to gain a place in people’s hearts. It even inspired dance moves.

Even celebrities joined in on the fun. It is also one of the most beloved games for streamers on Twitch and YouTube. Both of these helped amplify the craze of Fortnite even further.

There is even a world cup for the game that lets in the best players worldwide. In the inaugural edition, the solo division winner received a massive prize money of $3 million. Millions worldwide also watched the event and had an arena attendance of thousands.

At the moment, Fortnite is available on numerous platforms. You can play it on your mobile (Android and iOS), desktop, and consoles. It even supports cross-play, allowing you to play with people gaming on other platforms.

Fortnite Revenue Throughout History

Over the past few years, Fortnite has amassed revenue in the millions. Each year it retains its place among the highest-grossing games.

The figure of how much money Fortnite makes varies from year to year. In 2019, the game amassed a massive $3.7 billion in revenue. Fortnite outdid itself the year after, making a revenue of $5.1 in 2020. In 2021, the revenue has climbed even further, reaching an estimated $5.8 billion.

The rise in revenue also mirrors a rise in the number of users. In 2019, the number of Fortnite users stood at 250 million. In 2020, it hit 350 million. Meanwhile, in 2021, the figure is estimated to have climbed to 400 million.

Fortnite continues to gain more users and, through them, revenue.

How Does Fortnite Make Money?

Now let’s turn our attention to the revenue models of Fortnite, which play a crucial part in how Fortnite makes money.

Before we delve deep into the game’s monetization models, let’s discuss V-Bucks.

V-Bucks are the in-game currency used in Fortnite. You can purchase them for real money within the game through Epic’s website or relevant app stores. Or you can purchase them through certain brick-and-mortar stores.

V-Bucks are critical to Fortnite’s business model. Like in other freemium model games, Fortnite’s in-game currency acts like chips in a casino. You have to make all purchases inside the game using V-Bucks. This masks the money value you are investing in the game, as in your mind, you are investing V-Bucks. This mere masking effect prompts you to make more purchases inside the game.

Another thing to know about Fortnite is that it has no items you can buy to advance within the game. Instead, all the enhancements are merely cosmetics. These items hence provide you no advantage inside the battlefield.

Want to Develop a Game Like Fortnite?

Want to Develop a Game Like Fortnite?

Juego Studios can help you out. We are a top game development company with a team of 300+. We have developed games of numerous genres across the years for clients from all around the world.

Now, let’s focus on the different monetization models Fortnite uses to enhance.

The Battle Pass

The bulk of Fornite’s revenue comes from the battle pass system.

The battle pass is a seasonal pass that gives the players specific challenges to complete and better rewards. The game gives you specific challenges you can finish during gameplay, such as collecting a set number of headshots or landing in a particular area within the island. Then, upon your completion, you receive additional XP, and you climb tiers. The higher you climb, the better the items you can receive.

However, only the paying customers receive all the rewards. To those that don’t pay, the game shows the items that have the option to get if only they purchase the battle pass.

Furthermore, you can make additional purchases eliminating the need to complete challenges. The purchase lets you climb the tiers avoiding all the challenges, and yet reap the same benefits you can with completing the challenges, including better items.

In-Game Purchases

You can also make individual purchases with Fortnite in the form of in-app purchases. In-app purchases are a staple of the freemium monetization model. Under this model, you purchase items within the in-game store for a set amount of currency.

The catch is that, your in-app purchases don’t get auto-renewed, unlike the battle pass. You must manually go to the store and make the purchases every time.


A large percentage of Fortnite’s revenue also comes from merchandise sales. It even has a dedicated online storefront that handles all these items.

Among these items are toys and collectibles. The toys include foam blasters, and the collectible includes characters from within the game. All these items are relevant to the game and its lore.

In addition, there are different apparel and accessories such as t-shirts, shoes, bags, caps, etc., and character costumes.

The game’s popularity has led to increased sales in all of these. It is now a critical part of how Fortnite makes money.


Aside from the battle pass, Fortnite also features subscriptions termed Fortnite Crew.

These are periodic renewable subscriptions that provide users with a myriad of benefits. These include a certain fixed number of V-Bucks, access to the battle pass, and certain exclusive items.

Post its release, Fortnite Crew has also become significant in how Fortnite generates revenue.

The Design Choices

Like many top games, Fortnite’s revenue model is intricately linked to its design. Because a lot of games have implemented similar monetization tactics. Most of them have left with no results.

Let’s focus on the game design choices that impact Fortnite’s monetization level.

Set Yourself Apart

Unlike a lot of games, there are no pay-to-win mechanics in Fortnite. All the purchases inside the game are strictly cosmetic. And the game has fully embraced this.

Because there are numerous types of cosmetic enhancements, you can make in the game. To name a few, there are skins, back bling, contrails, loading screens, and emotes. There are many options for you to choose from for all of these.

This works so well because it lets you set yourself apart from the rest of the players. You can have your unique custom combination of all these items. In short, the main draw of this monetization model that Fortnite follow is that you can look fabulous.

It is also deeply entrenched with the multiplayer mode. You can buy the latest exclusive skin and emote and look cool in front of your friends. Something that many people are willing to shell out money on.

Progression System

Many multi-player games lack progression systems because of the inherent limitations of this type of gameplay.

Battle passes are great methods to introduce progression into the game. By providing their users with a set of challenges to complete and climb up the ranks, Fortnite offers them a sense of progression. This is the reason for the increase in the game’s retention rate, post its implementation.

Create Scarcity

Fortnite is a game that creates scarcity by limiting the time that certain items are available. For instance, a skin you see now of your favourite superhero might not be available a few days later.

This prompts you to make purchases quickly because of the deep fear of mission out on valuable items. Hence, there are more purchases among the players without implementing this mechanic.

The scarcity goes even further. For instance, there are items that you can only receive if you have a paid battle pass. These items are unavailable for purchase in the in-game store or other methods.

Likewise, certain items are available only for players who purchase the crew subscription. These items are never made available elsewhere.

All this further increases the level of FOMO and prompts players to make more purchases.

Collaboration with Famous Brands and Celebrities

Games like Fortnite collaborate with many famous brands and celebrities for promotional purposes. Some agencies even help brands release their content inside Fortnite’s game world.

There are several benefits to doing this for the brands. It allows them to get access to influence thousands of people playing Fortnite daily.

These promotional activities range from different media and franchises. For instance, there have been skins for anime characters from famous franchises like Naruto and Dragon Ball. Similarly, from the movie’s side, there have been characters from Marvel and DC. There have even been singers like Ariana Grande, soccer players like Neymar, and WWE characters like Bianca and Becky Lynch.

Apart from skins, there have also been Fortnite-specific events. There have been concerts from Marshmello, Travis Scott, and Ariana Grande that were viewed by millions around the globe.

Likewise, the trailer for the movie Tenet was also initially released exclusively on Fortnite.


Yet another main reason and a huge part of how Fortnite makes revenue is its accessibility.

The game has mechanics that are pretty easy to master. The shooting mechanics that the game revolves around has successfully been used across platforms with minimal hindrances.

However, the game also has a steep skill curve. Some players are supremely skilled and can take down a large group of players quickly. Hours of playtime within the game are usually rewarded with a better gain of skills.

In addition, Fortnite also features a cartoonish art style. This helps it gain the upper hand over competitors, as it appeals to people from a wide demographic. Other battle royale games usually feature a realistic theme and have a bit of gore. But Fortnite follows a cartoonish art style with vibrant colours and no gore whatsoever.

All this makes the gaming experience much more apt for a broader range of demographics. Even people who are not considered hardcore gamers can easily pick up the game and continue playing it for the long term.

Final Thoughts about revenue from Fortnite

Fortnite is one of the biggest games in the world. It has tremendously influenced our culture, becoming a recognizable brand.

It is also one of the most revenue-generating video games ever. For years to come, game developers will be studying the monetization model that Fortnite follows. It is an example for many to follow.

But replicating the same level of success will be impossible unless the game developers make the same type of conscious design choices that characterize the revenue model of Fortnite. It is not just a game where monetization is an afterthought. The monetization is the result of careful deliberation on the game’s design.

Want to Develop a Game Like Fortnite?

Juego Studios can help you out. We are a top game development company with a team of 300+. We have developed games of numerous genres across the years for clients from all around the world.

FAQ's on Fortnite Game

Fortnite earns revenue primarily through in-game purchases using V-Bucks, its virtual currency. This includes the Battle Pass, offering seasonal challenges and rewards, and individual cosmetic items like skins and emotes.

Additionally, Fortnite generates income through merchandise sales and Fortnite Crew subscriptions, offering exclusive benefits. The game’s unique design, including a non-pay-to-win approach and collaborations with popular brands and celebrities, also significantly contributes to its revenue model.

The figure depends. But the overall cost would be around $200,000 – $300,000.

Because the game involves a lot of cost. The development of numerous islands and characters would be pivotal for the gameplay. There would also be the creation and maintenance of servers to handle thousands of concurrent users.

A game similar to Fortnite is Apex Legends, which belongs to the battle royale genre.

In games like Fortnite, the in-game purchasing system typically revolves around the sale of virtual currency (e.g., V-Bucks) that players can buy with real money.

This virtual currency is used to purchase a variety of in-game items, such as cosmetic skins, emotes, pickaxes, and the Battle Pass. Players can choose to spend their virtual currency on these items to customize their characters and enhance their gameplay experience. It’s a primary revenue model for these games and often allows players to make optional purchases while keeping the core gameplay free-to-play.

Yes, there are several free-to-play battle royale games similar to Fortnite.

Some notable examples include Apex Legends, Warzone (Call of Duty), and Spellbreak. These games offer the battle royale experience with their own unique gameplay mechanics and features.


Related Posts

Request A Quote
Request A Quote