Over the past few years, battle royales have become the primary game mode when it comes to online competitive gaming. The popularity of games like Fortnite, Warzone, Apex Legends, and PUBG shows that fans can’t seem to get enough of this concept. Even industry titan Call of Duty moved to cash in on the trend with Warzone.
While the success of the game mode can be measured by how many players are consistently active or by how much yearly revenue each title makes, the best way to represent how important the genre really is would be to gauge the impact it has had on the gaming industry as a whole.
10 Popularized Unlockables In-Season Passes
At the beginning of the Xbox One and PS4 generation, loot boxes became a popular way from publishers to entice fans to spend extra money on a game. Many gamers, however, saw this as a way for developers and studios to incorporate gambling into videogames. Over the past few years, loot boxes have declined in popularity.
This is because of the season pass model Fortnite created. Instead of buying a chance at winning an item you want, like how a slot machine works, the season pass model gives players the option to unlock cosmetics through experience points. While joining the season costs money, season passes allow players to see what they could earn first, circumventing the “gambling” aspect.
9 Popularized Free-to-Play Games On Consoles
While many companies had shied away from this business practice, Epic Games showed that free-to-play can be a viable and lucrative option for console and PC game developers. While players interested in trying out Fornite do not have to pay anything upfront, Epic Games has made over $2 billion in cosmetic microtransactions. Since the game’s launch in 2017, many of the big publishing companies, like EA and Activision, have released free-to-play battle royales.
8 Emphasized Communication In Competitive Modes
Although many online competitive games, like Call of Duty, Halo, and Battlefield gave players the opportunity to chat with teammates, battle royale titles emphasize it to a much higher degree. This is because many of the game modes in the previously mentioned games are not designed around high-stakes survival.
When PUBG was released, however, fans quickly realized that communication was the key to winning matches. While some of the battle royales on the market allow players to come back from the dead, survival is extremely important. Each decision made throughout a battle royale match matters and one bad move by a teammate could ruin an entire match.
7 Changed The Structure Of The Shooter Genre
For many years, games like Gears of War, Halo, and Call of Duty carried the torch when it comes to shooters. While all of the mentioned games (and countless others) have stuck to the traditional formula for over a decade, the success of the battle royale genre has caused nearly every shooter to shift how they develop their online experience. For example, Call of Duty‘s multiplayer has stayed very similar since 2007’s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Since the release of Fortnite, however, Activision has made multiple attempts at creating a Call of Duty battle royale. While Call of Duty still offers its conventional multiplayer, it is clear that Warzone has become a primary focus.
6 Popularization Of Crossplay
One of the best things to come from battle royales is the popularization of crossplay and cross-progression. Essentially, this means is that if someone wants to play with their friend on another platform, they can — and if that player chooses to switch between consoles they will not lose anything they have earned or purchased. While one of the companies, in particular Sony, was not open to the idea at the beginning of the Xbox One and PS4 generation, the success of Fornite forever changed the way players can interact between platforms.
5 Helped Popularize Streaming
Although video gaming streaming platforms have been around for nearly a decade, the battle royale genre has brought a large number of viewers to the streaming sites. This is because the battle royale genre is as fun to watch as it is to play. While many other first-person-shooters give players endless lives until a certain score limit is reached, the idea that the player only has one chance to win raises the stakes and makes watching more exciting. Since battle royales became popular, some Twitch streamers have become as recognizable as high profile celebrities.
4 Redefining In-Game Events
One way Fortnite has stayed popular is through their in-game events. While some of these include changes to the game, most consist of clever and fun tie-ins to other popular and relevant intellectual properties. For example, Fortnite recently allowed players to play as their favorite Marvel characters. Although it does not impact the gameplay, fun in-game events like these entice players to return to the game.
3 Lengthened Game Life
Traditionally, a video game’s life can span from six months to about two years. While gamers can continue playing the titles past that, most of the time games lose popularity or a company decides to shift focus onto the next title.
While this was the case before, Fortnite has shown that the battle royale genre is the perfect style of game to lengthen a game’s life. Through season passes, map changes, and in-game events, Fornite is still the most popular game in the world, three years after launch.
2 Changed Game Development Cycles
A videogame development cycle is a term used in the industry to broadly describe the life cycle of a videogame. For most games, this includes concept, design, launch, and post-launch. A problem within the industry, however, is the excessive crunch time some studios require on the lead up to launch. While some companies have tried to remedy this problem, the battle royale genre has reinforced the idea that a game essentially never “leaves” development. This is a bit of a mixed bag, as while it furnishes fans with an organic and ever-evolving experience akin to an MMORPG, with each season pass or redesign of a map, several employees are forced to meet specific deadlines that could result in excessive overtime.
1 Combating Pay-To-Win Practices
Although many battle royales have a form of micro-transactions, most of the developers behind them have figured out a way to entice fans to spend money without gaining an advantage over their opponents. While many game modes, like EA NHL‘s Hockey Ultimate Team, allow gamers to spend real-world money to have a better chance at winning, battle royale games, like Fortnite and Warzone, simply give players the opportunity to make their in-game avatar look a certain way. While this is still a way for large companies to continue monetizing their titles, it’s significantly preferable to outright purchasing items that provide an in-game advantage over competitors.
NEXT: Call Of Duty: The Most Overpowered Gun From Every Game
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