Q1 2019 PlayerPulse Roundup
Updated: Apr 24, 2019
The past three months had sparse announcements for new games,
most of which came from Nintendo’s Direct in February. Excitement for a new Zelda game is the highest of any game we currently track, which is unsurprising considering the impact of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the Switch. Super Mario Maker 2, a successor to the Mario level-building game (one of the final big game launches on the Nintendo Wii U) was also announced and is tracking quite well. Like many Wii U titles being released on the Switch, there’s likely a large part of the audience interested in playing the title that didn’t own a Wii U during the game’s original release. A new generation of games for the Pokémon franchise, Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, were announced for Nintendo Switch and are expectedly performing well.
Mortal Kombat 11 is performing the best of any game we track with a release date within the next few months, so strong sales should be expected for the title. Animal Crossing, Final Fantasy VII, and Halo Infinite are also performing strongly, but this is mostly on the strength of their brands as little of those titles has been shown to the public. This is also true to a lesser extent of The Last of Us: Part II, Doom Eternal, and CyberPunk 2077, as limited gameplay from each game has been shown. Both of these titles, however, are far from release and lack proper release dates.
What we’re looking at above is demographics for platform play, rather than platform ownership (as we discussed in last quarter’s report, regarding the shift in Switch owner demographics https://www.eedar.com/eedar-blog/2018-q4-round-up). What we see in the first quarter of 2019 for platform demographics matches general perceptions of the industry, meaning that mobile has the highest share of female play while consoles are more male-centric. The difference may not be as pronounced as people expect, however. Mobile, in general, is the most female-favored platform we track for gaming, and is full of free and friendly gaming experiences on a device that most people own, making it an excellent entry point for anyone curious about games. iPhone, in particular, stands out as the platform with more female gamers than males consistently, with the Android market being slightly more male, which is reflective of ownership. PC’s split is also fairly even. Similar to phones, PCs are fairly ubiquitous, and users are therefore more comfortable with them, so PC/mobile splits are going to be more reflective of the general population than consoles. Keep in mind, we’re looking at both client- and browser-based PC gaming being rolled up into one in this view, meaning anyone who plays more casual titles, such as Facebook games, is included. Consoles, by comparison, have a more male-heavy audience, with Switch having the most active female gamers on the console.
Comparing the Markets of
Apex Legends and Fortnite
This quarter we wanted to take a look at the launch of Apex Legends vs. Fortnite. While we also track the mobile version of Fortnite, for the sake of this article, we’ll be speaking exclusively about the PC/Console edition of the game, since Apex Legends is not available on mobile. Apex Legends is the first game to really compete with Fortnite on the PC/Console market since the first batch of Battle Royale games (PUBG, Fortnite, etc.) competed for dominance last year. So how do these two games compare across the user metrics we track? Well, the most obvious metric we care about for a game is engagement (in this case, meaning PC/Console gamers who have ever played the title). Currently, Apex Legends sits at 12% engagement with our panel, while Fortnite sits at 34% engagement. That sounds like a significant difference, but keep in mind that Apex Legends is only two months into its lifespan. When Apex Legends launched we tracked it at 9% engagement. By comparison, when we first tracked Fortnite after the launch of its Battle Royale mode, only 2% of our panel had ever played it. This tells us there’s definitely a player base interested in Battle Royale experiences that simply didn’t exist before Fortnite, and Apex Legends has been able to capitalize on this to get off to a faster start than Fortnite did. This matches up to what Respawn has announced themselves. A month into launch, Apex Legends reached a player count of 50 million, a feat which took Fortnite over three months to achieve. Even so, there is still a large gap between Apex and Fortnite, which now sits at 250 million (this includes mobile) registered players, according to Epic.
Apex Legends also has a more core audience than Fortnite, which has managed to attract a broader audience. Apex Legends players are more likely to invest both time and money in the PC/Console space than Fortnite players are. For example, 51% of Apex Legends players spend 11 hours or more on PC/Console gaming than Fortnite players (38%), and 29% of them spend over $250 or more on gaming each year, compared to the 21% of Fortnite players that do. This difference is also reflected in the demographics of both games. 80% of Apex Legends players are male, while Fortnite is more diverse in its gender split (35% of Fortnite players are female). The largest age group for Apex Legends (32%) is gamers ages 18-24, while Fortnite’s largest demographic (39%) is gamers ages 13-17. This matches up to the market for each title. Apex Legends is a PC/Console-focused shooter; there’s no entry point on mobile for the game like there is for Fortnite and PUBG. Fortnite also has a more cartoony, colorful art style, while Apex Legends opts for a more realistic, militaristic look similar to Respawn’s previous game, Titanfall. So, for now, it looks like Apex Legends won’t be matching the overwhelming popularity of Fortnite, but rather has carved out a very invested and healthy segment of the Battle Royale market for itself at launch.