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'Fortnite' made a historic $1.8 billion in 2019

Not bad for a game that's free-to-play.
Andrew Tarantola, @terrortola
January 4, 2020
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Epic Games

Fortnite won its chicken dinner in 2019 by grossing $1.8 billion in sales, more than any single-year sales total in videogame history. While the game itself is technically free-to-play, Epic Games offers a $10 per month Battle Pass as well as myriad in-game item purchases -- from clothing and weapons to dance moves and player reactions -- to keep the game's 125 million active players coming back for more. Combined with heavy marketing tie-ins to the year's biggest blockbusters, including both Avengers and Star Wars, as well as the debut of Chapter 2 in October and a marquee eSports circuit in August, it's little surprise that the game remains a cultural touchstone.

Overall the gaming industry did well for itself in 2019. Nielsen notes that the industry as a whole grossed $120 billion in sales, a four percent increase over its 2018 totals. A lion's share of that total can be credited to mobile gaming with $64.4 billion in sales, followed by PC gaming with $29.4 billion, and consoles bringing in $15.4. VR/AR games and game-related videos constituted the remainder of the industry total for 2019.

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