BY ZARE NARIC: It seems like every couple of years or so a new genre emerges and changes the gaming community as we know it. A few years back everyone was hopping on the MOBA bandwagon but these days there’s a new kid in town. I’m talking of course about Battle Royale. It’s probably not a stretch to say that this is currently the most popular genre out there and it looks like it’s here to stay thanks in no small part to the huge popularity of titles like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite.
While there have been a few other attempts at capitalizing on the popularity of the Battle Royale genre, we have yet to see anything that can even come close to PUBG and Fortnite. At least, not yet. It’s hard to say if that will change in the near future but what’s clear is that more and more developers are now trying to put their own spin on the highly successful Battle Royale formula.
Activision Blizzard in the Game
According to the most recent reports, it seems like the latest company to jump on the bandwagon is none other than Activision Blizzard. This is perhaps unsurprising as Activision Blizzard is known for paying close attention to current market trends and trying to get a piece of the pie while it’s still hot. Well, the Battle Royale pie is certainly very hot right now and the higher-ups at Activision Blizzard seem to be well aware of that fact.
During a recent post-earnings call with investors, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick praised Fortnite’s impressive ability to attract “new gamers of all ages and genders.” Moreover, Kotick also seems to admire Fortnite developer Epic Games for the innovations brought to the Battle Royale genre. The CEO indicates that Activision-Blizzard “are very good at being inspired by those” types of innovations. While Kotick didn’t specifically say that Activision Blizzard is thinking about developing a Battle Royale game, his statements do indicate that the possibility is definitely on the table.
Investors also brought up the issue of the traditional $60 price tag for console games in relation to Fortnite’s free-to-play business model. Activision Blizzard isn’t exactly known for releasing F2P titles on consoles so if they do start working on a Battle Royale game, it’s likely that it will follow a different business model. Call of Duty and Overwatch and still going strong despite being full-priced games so there’s no real reason to make free-to-play console games as long as that’s the case. After all, PUBG isn’t free either and it’s doing very well for itself in spite of that.
Meanwhile, most other companies developing Battle Royale games do seem to prefer the free-to-play business model. This includes H1Z1 Battle Royale, which went free-to-play earlier this year after the game spent what seemed like an eternity in Early Access (and shooting itself in the foot in the process). Upcoming Battle Royale games like Radical Heights and Darwin Project also seem to be opting for the F2P model. These games are still early in development, though, so we’ll have to wait and see if they’ll remain free once they’re ready to launch.