Fortnite is now the biggest game on YouTube. Here are the numbers.

Posted 2018-03-29

Fortnite is now the most viewed game on YouTube, surpassing games like Minecraft, PUBG and Clash Royale. You’ve already read the news about how massive Fortnite is on YouTube - with stars like Drake and Kimdotcom streaming the game with Ninja - now, let’s look at some data and see how popular the game really is on YouTube:

Fortnite is crashing records:

According to data from Matchmade (the leading influencer marketing platform that analyzes over 2.4 Million gaming-related YouTube videos and 220M videos) Fortnite (Fortnite & Fortnite Battle Royale combined) has taken over Minecraft as the most viewed game on YouTube. This is big!

Minecraft has been the dominant game on YouTube since the beginning of time. Just a year ago Minecraft’s views on YouTube were at 3.7 billion per month, which was nearly 3 times more than the 2nd most viewed game, at the time GTA.

Minecraft viewership has been declining since August 2017 and we’ve seen their decline pick up pace recently. The first graph below compares the monthly viewership of Minecraft and Fortnite, and you can clearly see that Fortnite is skyrocketing on YouTube.

YouTube Viewership Over Past 12 Months: Minecraft and Fortnite

As tweeted by YouTube’s Ryan Wyatt “Fortnite now holds the record for the most videos related to a video game uploaded in a single month EVER. The Battle Royale tournament had over 42M live views, and set a record for biggest single live gaming stream at 1.1M concurrent viewers”.

It’s not only the official Fortnite tournaments that are gaining viewership. Spanish YouTuber ElRubiusOMG reached 1.1 million views on his Fortnite stream, as reported by Influencer Update.biz. (For the love of data, the biggest YouTube event ever was the RedBull Stratos jump in 2012, with 8M concurrent viewers.)

…at the expense of other games:

Since its launch in July 2017, Fortnite’s viewership on YouTube has grown quickly. Epic launched the Battle Royale mode in September and that’s when the game really took YouTube by storm, reaching over 2.4 billion views in February alone. If you compare Clash Royale and Fortnite viewership (second graph), you can see that Clash Royale viewership peaked in March 2017 at 1.4 billion views (with updates 1.8.0 and 1.8.1 which were the first releases in 3 months), but has declined since, with the exception of a couple of upticks.

Clash Royale has been the biggest mobile title on YouTube since March 2016 (except for Jul-Sep 2016 when Pokemon Go had more views). After Fortnite launched, the pace of Clash Royale’s decline has hastened - and Fortnite took them in January this year.

PUBG, which is considered the main competitor and predecessor of Fortnite, started off with viewership growth of 457% from release month to the next (March-Apr 2017) but quickly lost its steam. The past 6 month average change in the amount of PUBG videos on YouTube is actually at -1.8%.

In the second graph you can see how PUBG, Minecraft and Clash Royale viewership have been declining steadily for a while, and it’s also clear that Fortnite is taking YouTube by storm. In the third graph, we’ve split Fortnite and Fortnite Battle Royale - and viewership of both game modes has surpassed PUBG and Clash Royale.

YouTube Viewership Over Past 12 Months: Minecraft, Fortnite, Clash Royale and PUBG YouTube Viewership Per Month: Clash Royale, Fortnite, Fortnite BR, PUBG

And it’s doing so super fast:

The pace of Fortnite’s growth is astonishing. Between January and February, Fortnite’s viewership grew a whopping 151% (Matchmade database). During the past 6 months, The average month-to-month growth rate of Fortnite viewership on YouTube is +97%. Content creators are on board, and we’ve seen the number of Fortnite videos jump from 9945 (Feb 1st) to 12762 (Mar 1st) in just one month - an increase of 28%.

Fortnite reached a cumulative 1 billion views on YouTube in November 2017, in just 5 months since they launched the game, and 3 months since they released the Battle Royale mode. It took PUBG 8 months since launch to reach 1 billion views (launched in Dec 2017) and for Clash Royale, it took 4 months. For Minecraft, it took almost 2 years (Oct 2011) since launch (Nov 2009) to reach a billion views - but the World was different back then and online viewership overall was lower.

Growth of YouTube Viewership Over Months Since Launch: Fortnite, Clash Royale, PUBG

Why is Fortnite taking over YouTube so quickly?

There’s no easy answer to this one but here’s a few reasons:

  • In August 2017, YouTube tweaked their algorithms, which changed how content is discovered, and many content-creators started to look for other games their fans could watch. Both Clash Royale and Minecraft viewership started to decline around this time, so the tweak might be the common denominator for older titles losing interest, and newer content having an advantage…
  • And, people are losing interest in watching the same games. Let’s face it, Clash Royale was launched almost three years ago, and besides adding 2v2, the game is largely the same. The same goes for Minecraft, which was initially launched in 2009 - people want new content, and Fortnite’s timing is, well, epic.
  • PUBG paved the way and showed the world that there’s demand for co-op sandbox type of play. At Nordic Game in 2017 we estimated that PUBG will take over YouTube, but turns out we were mistaken. The arrival of Fortnite has changed the lay off the land.
  • Fortnite is accessible across platforms: PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC (Windows, MAC), and most recently on mobile with their iOS app. Also, the Battle Royale mode is free-to-play so anyone can download and get into the game, which is a massive advantage over PUBG (30USD on Steam). Also, the game is pretty to look at, and makes for lovely video content.
  • Perhaps most importantly, the game is fun to play, with a metacritic score of 73%.

To summarize, Fortnite is now the biggest game on YouTube and it’s reached the top super quickly. What we all can learn is that the status quo on YouTube can be quickly shaken up - and working with influencers is an extremely powerful strategy to market a game.

If you’re interested in our data and want to learn more about what Matchmade can do for you, please email us at info@matchmade.tv. And follow @matchmadetv on twitter, please.

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