Is Fortnite on the Decline?

For the last 4 years, Fortnite has had a strong hold on pre-teen kids, but is their interest starting to wane?

I speak to kids in our Youth Trend Spotting community weekly to keep us up-to-date with what’s happening in their lives. It’s always most fruitful when we start with an open discussion on kids’ passion points to find out what they are into and why. 

A passion for gaming and gaming content has been a stand-out in this age group for some time so it regularly comes up in our conversations. Kids can’t wait to tell me everything about the latest game they’re playing, what they’ve been building and what new worlds they’ve unlocked. But in the latest round of calls with the community, I noticed a shift in how kids are talking about blockbuster Fortnite and it seems to be losing its shine.

‘It is pretty much Roblox all the time with my friends, or with my sister.’
Girl, 9

With the kids I spoke to, Roblox is the game they spend the most time on. Anyone can play the game and you don’t need to spend much on their gaming currency Robux to stay up to date. Not only are they using the game to role-play in the virtual world, but they are also chatting to their friends at the same time. 

‘They’ve got loads of games and loads of different characters and you just play around.’
Boy, 8

Kids like the ease in which you can enjoy Roblox and, with over 250,000 developers, creating individual games, there is always something for everyone. One game, in particular, Adopt Me!, sees players collect different themed eggs to hatch different pets of various rarities to care for and raise. The latest update peaked at a record 1.92 million concurrent users.

Meanwhile, Fortnite seems to have hit a bit of a brick wall with 7-12-year-olds. An increasing number of kids in this age bracket have spoken about being tired of the constant updates, new items, new skins and the level of difficulty that now comes with the game. Not being able to purchase every new Battle Pass or skin because of the cost, means they are missing out on a huge part of the game. 

‘It’s fun until you get to a level that you cannot beat.’
Boy, 12

‘I don’t even play Fortnite anymore. They started adding too many things. It used to be a nice, simple game.’
Boy, 8

‘I used to play Fortnite and I used to watch a lot of Fortnite YouTubers but I don’t anymore. There is a lot of people who try really hard on it now. Even if it is a normal game, you get the people that play in the competitions that come and join it.’
Boy, 11

Fortnite still holds popularity with teens, especially with the more keen gamers at this age. On average, a UK kid aged 8-9 gets £5.21 pocket money per week, compared 13-16-year-olds who receive £8.17 per week*; leaving gamers with more potential money to spend on Battle Pass updates and new skins. It also means they’re able to keep up with their favourite gaming influencers by updating to newer versions of the game.

At the time of writing, Fortnite is the fifth most viewed content on the streaming platform, Twitch, where gamers can be watched in real-time. This is an increasingly popular form of gaming content as the viewers can engage and chat with a community that has the same passion as them.

‘I created a clan after the Travis Scott concert on Fortnite, which was called the astronomical event. I’ve got the Astro clan which has 800 people in it. I’ve got 795 followers on TikTok, so I invited them all to be in the clan.’
Boy, 13

Fortnite certainly isn’t going away, but there seems to be a dip in popularity with the pre-teen age bracket who are feeling cut out from game developments due to cost and overly-complicated play; leaving creative and social games like Roblox and Minecraft to pick up ground. Roblox in particular has started developing strong partnerships with brands who want to reach and engage this younger audience. A partnership with Hasbro will see a nerf-branded experience appear on the game later this year. 

In a recent global study we undertook, FriendsKnowBest, we surveyed 10,000 kids about their digital habits. Fortnite appears within the top 5 games for all age groups and regions. However, when it comes to 6-9 and 10-12-year-olds, Fortnite is the 4th most popular game globally, behind Minecraft, Roblox and Mario Kart. It’s still high on their lists, but the sentiment around it seems to be waning for the younger kids. And it’s not just them, looking at YouTube serve volume over the last year from Google Trends, we can see Fortnite has been on a slow decline, while Minecraft and Roblox have been holding steady:

So where next for Fortnite? I’m really keen to see how kids’ attitudes to it develop over the next few months, and whether the rumoured upcoming in-game events with artists like Ariana Grande or new skins like Neymar Jr, arriving in the last week can keep them in the game. Or if they start drifting away, which game will take the top spot next for kids. 

*Source: Money.co.uk

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