Data & Research

Fortnite versus Playerunknown's Battlegrounds: Which battle royale game is racking up the most views online?

Fortnite versus Playerunknown's Battlegrounds: Which battle royale game is racking up the most views online?

It’s hardly a secret that battle royale is one of the biggest trends in gaming right now. That surge began in March 2017 when Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds went into Early Access on Steam.

One year, 30m units and a record-breaking three million concurrent players later, PUBG Corp's battle royale remains a giant in the gaming space, and by default, a giant in the influencer space.

But then in walked Fortnite, the free-to-play co-op sandbox survival title from Epic Games. In September 2017 Fortnite released a battle royale mode with a very similar format to PUBG.

The update has led to a surge of interest in the title, which has surpassed 40 million downloads as of January 2018. That's a sizeable 10 million more than PUBG, which sits behind a paywall as a premium title.

Both games are available to play on PC and Xbox One, while Fortnite is also available on PS4.

So, who’s winning?

Yes, the information you asked for.

According to a Statista report, Fortnite is leading the battle on Twitch. It ranks second in Twitch’s leading gaming content by number of hours with an insane 65.44 million hours viewed in February 2018. PUBG comes in at third with 43.33 million hours viewed. Riot Games' League of Legends ranked first with 80.71 million hours viewed during the month.

Statista data: Fortnite triumphs on Twitch, shadowed only by League of Legends

In Twitch’s game directory, Fortnite is listed as the third most popular game on the platform. PUBG sits just behind it in fourth.

Another study from Matchmade shows the behaviour of the two titles on YouTube. PUBG reigned supreme on YouTube in terms of overall video views on the platform up until December 2017. Since them, Fortnite has continued to skyrocket in popularity, while PUBG support appears to be dwindling.

Microsoft's Mixer platform also lists Fortnite as its most popular title, followed by PUBG.

Matchmade data: Fortnite continues to grow since the battle royale mode launched

What is contributing to Fortnite’s success?

The largest difference between the two hit games may be that Fortnite is a free-to-play title, but that's unlikely the only reason Twitch and YouTube viewers prefer watching it.

As well as being free-to-play, Fortnite is easily accessible, a little more casual and its specs are signifcantly less harsh on the PC versions. 

The backing of Epic Games is certainly a considerable factor and the initial boost of battle royale interest that PUBG inspired almost certainly contributed to the rise in Fortnite's popularity. 


Danielle Partis is editor of and former editor of She was named Journalist of the Year at the MCV Women in Games Awards 2019, as well as in the MCV 30 under 30 2020. Prior to Steel Media, she wrote about music and games at Team Rock.