The rise of battle royale games: can they stay relevant?

Battle royale.jpg

The rise of battle royale games: can they stay relevant?

Since their arrival and swift emergence, battle royale games have completely redefined the current gaming landscape. Rather than relying on traditional game purchases at £50-60, many battle royales are free to download and play but give you the option to purchase in-game cosmetics and exclusives. This has ramped up player numbers and, in many cases, increased revenue over traditional business models.

The question remains. With traditional upfront cost games slipping out of dominance, will battle royale games be able to maintain their relevance?

What are they?

For those unaware, battle royale is a genre of online games which blend survival and combat. Online players drop onto a large map and have to scavenge for weapons and supplies to help fight to be the last man (or team) standing.

Where did they come from?

If this sounds like something from Hunger Games, you’re not far off. Hollywood can’t take credit for this one though as the concept of forcing people to fight to the death on an island originally came from a Japanese film released in 2000 called, you guessed it, ‘Battle Royale’.

When you apply this model to a video game, the excitement lies in the grand reward of being crowned victor among numerous players, up to 100 people in some games. The competition is strong, but the map is large enough for less-skilled players to still enjoy the game. And if the game does end quickly, just fire up another one.

The Fortnite explosion

It’s impossible to argue how iconic the largest battle royale, Fortnite, has become. With a user base of over 250 million players, the game has cultural significance around the world, from world cup football celebrations to esports competitions - offering prizes of up to $500,000.

Fortnite’s dominance isn’t just in their player base. In 2018, they reported earning profits of $3 billion in 2018 leaving many people wondering, just how long can this last?

The battle for relevance

Not much thought goes into how much upkeep and close attention they need to truly keep a battle royale relevant. Competition in the genre is fierce, and the playerbase is always after constant high-quality updates from developers.

For those developers, crunching out 70-100 hour weeks to keep on top of update deadlines can only last so long. Pressure like this could eventually stifle innovation and quality, marking a clear threat to the battle royale genre as it competes itself to an early grave.

It begs the question: is there a ceiling for this genre? Is there an apex it has already passed? The struggle going forward will be staying relevant not only within the genre, but within the gaming market in general.

It’s a struggle most creatives and businesses are all too familiar with. It’s a lesson you can even see on our high streets; big-name titans like BHS and HMV falling because of the way consumers shop these days. The ones who will remain successful are the ones ready to adapt and follow the market, making sure they’re a name at the front of everyone’s minds. Whether Fortnite - and the battle royale genre as a whole - can do that remains to be seen.

Staying relevant has never been more important, yet also more difficult. Using the power of content marketing, Coster Content gets people to love and engage with your business, not because they have to, but because they want to. And, with Coster Consultancy, we can teach you how to do this yourself. For more information, get in touch with us today on 0161 413 8418.

Alia Coster