Battle Royale games are among the most popular game genres at the moment. There are at the moment numerous top games that belong to this genre, some of which have millions of players worldwide.
People from numerous demographics are invested in the genre. Because its mechanics and features appeal to the gaming needs of a diverse set of players.
But what are battle royale games? And what are the reasons for the popularity of these games?
Let’s have a closer look.
For those wondering what battle royale games are, these are a genre of games where numerous players are pitted against each other in combat. Each player has to eliminate other players. The one that is still surviving till the end is declared the victor.
There are complexities to this gameplay mechanic. For instance, players are usually dropped into the playing environment and have to obtain loot and weapons to bolster their capabilities. And as time goes on and the player counts decrease, the playing area starts to shrink. This forces the players to move towards each other and increases the chances of combat.
This also creates a heightened experience towards the end of each match. The initial moments of the gameplay are usually quite tame with players mostly focused on obtaining weapons, items, and armor. The tail end of the game is all-out combat where there can only be one victor.
But there being only one victor does not mean the game has only a single-player mode. In fact, popular battle royale games have both single-player and multi-player modes. In the case of the multi-player mode, the team that the last individual or people standing would be declared the winner.
Because of this unique spin on the shooter gameplay, battle royale games have proliferated in recent years. There are several household names in the genre, including PUBG and Fortnite. These games generate millions in revenue each year and is also among the top earners among games in the industry.
Important to the discussion of what is a battle royale game, is its history as well.
The battle royale genre however did not start with games. It started with a book.
In 1999, Japanese author Koushun Takami wrote the dystopian novel Battle Royale, the primary source of all the games that we list when we are asked what are battle royale games. It featured a storyline where a group of students were dropped into an island. The players are fitted with collars and forced to fight each other in a span of three days, with the threat of annihilation. The last one standing would survive and be escorted back to the mainland.
The book was a hit and inspired a movie adaptation in the following year. This further catapulted the popularity of the story and eventually inspired a lot of books and movies.
Among them, was the Hunger Games, a series of books that were later adapted to hit movies. It also featured a set of protagonists forced to battle against each other.
This further inspired game developers. The first of these was a mod for Minecraft, where players were put into an environment against each other and forced to survive.
Then came DayZ, which had a battle royale mode and was one of the first games to spike curiosity in the game genre. Games like Arma3 and H1Z1 had their own battle royale modes, which also was a huge hit. Even Ark Survival had a mode called Survival of the Fittest that bore some of the trademark features now found in battle royale games.
However, it was none of these games that was responsible for the rise in demand and users of battle royale games.
It was PUBG that paved the way.
In 2017, the game was released on PC. It quickly gained popularity and became one of the most played games. It was later ported to mobile platforms and amassed a lot of users within a short span of time.
The game started to break records in the industry. It received acclaim from both critics and users, for its gameplay mechanics, graphics, and other features.
Then came the next juggernaut in the genre: Fortnite.
If PUBG paved the way, Fortnite further cemented its influence. The game was initially released by Epic in a different genre, with the name Fortnite: Save the World. However, the popularity of PUBG led Epic to release a battle royale game mode for the same game.
Fortnite: Battle Royale was released in 2018, and it too became a huge hit. It featured no gore and had a stylized art style that was appealing to a lot of players, particularly those among younger age groups.
Within a short span of time, other games were also released in the genre. These included games such as Apex Legends, Garena Free Fire, and Call of Duty. Each of these games had gameplay centered around battle royale or had a separate mode dedicated to battle royale.
All these games also became huge hits in the realm of streaming as well. In both Twitch and YouTube, games of this genre became popular among streamers and viewers. Players started to broadcast their playing sessions of battle royale games to viewers around the globe. Some streams even had thousands of concurrent viewers.
These games also became quite popular in the ESports circle. ESports involve players, either alone or as teams, battling it out inside a game. The victor is awarded certain titles and prizes.
The games that are often considered for ESports are games that have a clear hierarchy of players who have skills. Skilled players also band together to form professional teams that battle against other professional teams.
The figures of the game genre, shed light on the triumph of battle royale games.
Overall, the genre was valued at $9.76 billion in 2022. By 2030, the figure was expected to rise to a whopping $18.80 billion, with a CAGR of 9.28%.
If you look at individual revenue of battle royale games, you can see a lot of improvement there as well. In 2022, PUBG hit a lifetime revenue of $10 billion and is among the games that have generated the most revenue. Fortnite meanwhile is estimated to have generated a total revenue of $26 billion.
Even in terms of metrics, battle royale games stand out.
For instance, the retention rate for day 2 stood at 52% in 2021. The growth in retention was recorded as an increase of 2.5% each year on average.
The engagement rates also have similar high statistics. Battle Royale games have more logins per day compared to a lot of other games. It also has more logins per month as well.
The conversion rates have also climbed in recent years. The initial number of paying users was relatively low as these games allow players to progress and enjoy to the fullest extent even without payments required.
The battle royale game genre is likely to witness more spikes in the coming years. The genre is considered among the best genres for game development because of its huge potential for revenue generation.
Also, the genre has undergone a lot of evolution in recent times.
One is the availability of these games on multiple platforms, sometimes with cross-play enabled. There are several games in the genre that are available on mobile, desktop, and consoles. Some of these even let players play with players from other platforms.
Two, are the performance improvements. Due to advancements in game engines and other development frameworks and advancements in the hardware, battle royale games have become better at overall performance. This has led to a further percentage of players sticking around to play the game for the long term.
Third, is the availability of multiple modes. Some developers have experimented with multiple game modes within the battle royale core experience. Thus, it has led to newer experiences that gamers would welcome wholeheartedly.