Free-to-play Battle Royale games have been dominating the market for quite some time. The profit of free-to-play battle royales is higher than most of the pay-to-play games. With the rise of free BRs, the survival of pay-to-play BR is getting harder with each day. Battle Royales have also become the most famous competitive games. Most of the BRs are free but there are some pay-to-play battle royale games as well. It makes a person ask the question “Why are there free battle royales?” The answer is that making free BR is more profitable in the long run.
The fact that battle royale requires a large number of players poses a threat to its survivability. There won’t be enough candidates for a match if there are not too many players. Free-to-play battle royale games or even pay-to-play BRs are live services. A live service game makes more money when people play it. Since the success of Fortnite, many developers are introducing live service strategy. Even non-competitive live service games are earning more profit through free-to-play strategy. In 2020 or even beyond if a battle royale is not free-to-play then it won’t work.
The Faith of Pay-to-Play Battle Royale Games
PUBG was not the first battle royale but it is one of the most influential games of all time. It was the game that elevated BRs to new heights. PUBG was the game that set a trend of BRs which are changing the course of gaming forever. Regardless of its success, it is still not free-to-play battle royale, and developers just won’t let go of its glory. The pay-to-play nature of PUBG is damaging it to a great extent and it won’t be long before the servers turn into bot lobbies if they are not already. COD Warzone is a free-to-play BR that has everything and even more than what PUBG is offering. The in-game purchases of games are nearly the same but players have to pay extra for PUBG just to play it.
Fortnite was one of the first free-to-play battle royales. It was the first game to successfully implement the idea of a live service game. Even though Fortnite was a free-to-play game it still wasn’t able to take down PUBG. Back then, players didn’t have any alternative options. With each year more and more BRs were releasing that were eating away at PUBG’s player count. With the release of Call of Duty Warzone, PUBG hit the rock bottom. Warzone is a direct competitor of PUBG due to their somewhat similar mechanics. Even pay-to-play BRs are now becoming free-to-play. There is massive competition in the genre on top of that each match needs a large number of players. Pay-to-play battle royales can’t survive in the era of so many free-to-play battle royale games.
Pay-to-Play Battle Royale are Disappearing
Many of the pay-to-play battle royales are now becoming free-to-play. Pay-to-play BR just won’t work in an era with free-to-play BRs from big publishers. Even big publishers have trouble keeping pay-to-play battle royales alive. One such example is the Firestorm mode of Battlefield V. The base game of Battlefield V is a pay-to-play which makes it impossible to play Firestorm mode for free. The pay-to-play nature of the Firestorm had a devastating outcome for it. Its lobbies are now ghost lobbies because there are not many players available for matchmaking. As a free-to-play BR, it could have been phenomenal.
The introduction of Apex Legends as a battle royale was an important factor. Since both Battlefield and Apex Legends are published by EA. People would prefer a free-to-play battle royale game over pay-to-play battle royale. If the in-game purchases of both games are the same then why pay extra?
Survival of Battle Royale as Live Service Games
Free-to-play games focus on live service nature rather than a one-time investment. You can’t download a single player game for free because it’s not profitable. A live service game wants you to play a game so that you invest in the game which turns into profit. Free-to-play battle royale games are live services that earn in the long run instead of a short initial boost. The revenue of the most famous free-to-play games is higher than their counterparts. For a battle royale, live service nature is even more important due to their reliance on large player count. Not every player invests in such a game but even with 20% of player investment the revenue is quite high. Call of Duty Warzone as a pay-to-play battle royale could have suffered the fate of Blackout.
A live service game wants players to keep playing the game for as long as possible. Most pay-to-play battle royales are already becoming free-to-play. People just won’t pay for a game if they can find an alternative for free. Keep in mind that a free-to-play game is not free but rather depend on microtransactions. The case is similar for pay-to-play battle royales but you have to pay extra just to buy the game. Free-to-play battle royale games sell you in-game purchases, not the game while a pay-to-play battle royale sells you both the game and in-game purchases.
With the release of PUBG, battle royales became the next big thing in gaming. To have a piece of that pie, many developers started introducing their battle royales. While many of the battle royales were daying during that time some were getting ahead of all. Fortnite as a free-to-play BRs revolutionized the industry. Many publishers were trying to follow the steps of Fortnite. All the pay-to-play battle royales are now perishing with many already being dead. There are too many free-to-play battle royale games that offer an alternative to their pay-to-play counterparts. It is not hard to make a battle royale mode of an already existing. The idea of pay-to-play BR is just not viable with so many free-to-play BRs offering alternatives.