Battle Royale in a Saturated Market: Why is the Hype Dying Down?Jan 7, 2019 | 1 Votes
When battle royale first became popular, almost everyone jumped onto the bandwagon. Streamers, like NickEh30, Ninja, and SypherPK played games like Fortnite and H1Z1. Meanwhile, Pewdiepie, the #1 YouTuber, streamed himself playing PUBG, even getting into a nasty controversy at one point. These people have countless fans, and it’s not surprising that battle royale games became gaming’s #1 trend.
However, we can safely say that the hype is dying down. The hysteria surrounding these games isn’t as big as it used to. We can even say people are tired of them. Why? Well, let’s take a look at some of the underlying reasons why.
The gameplay loop is slow and feels repetitive
Today’s fast-paced lifestyle demands quick and sometimes instant gratification. This is no different in mobile gaming. People who play on smartphones and tablets want to instantly dive in and have fun right away. They’re either killing time or trying to get rid of boredom.
Battle Royale doesn’t have the best formula for mobile players. Games last 15 minutes or more, and players spend most of the time looting and running around instead of actually shooting. Rinse and repeat this slow and repetitive loop, and you’re stuck with players who will be bored after a few games.
To a certain extent, the same applies to console and PC gamers. Imagine looting and hiding for 20 minutes and getting killed by the first player you encounter. This experience is far from being rewarding and enjoyable. It wouldn’t be surprising to see people rage quit and quit playing them for good.
We’re getting too many battle royale games
The battle royale genre used to be a tripartite consisting of H1Z1, PUBG, and Fortnite. Today, the market is shared by those three along with Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Realm Royale, Zeus Battlegrounds, Rules of Survival, Knives Out, and Free Fire. Most of these games (except COD and Rules of Survival) are unpolished early access titles. In the future, we’ll have Battlefield 5’s Firestorm and the highly-anticipated Spellbreak.
Granted, there are countless battle royale games today, giving us numerous options. However, this also brings consumer fatigue. There’s barely any difference between PUBG and Rules of Survival. Realm Royale and Zeus Battlegrounds have interesting concepts, but the gameplay loop is quite similar. Fortnite and CoD: BO4 have extremely steep learning curves.
Instead of people reacting to battle royale games with anticipation, they’re now acting with apathy and at worst, disdain. They’ll even say “oh, it’s just another BR game”. Moreover, the huge number of options will mean developers will be discouraged from making them in the future. It may no longer be profitable, considering that they’ll be matching up against bigger titles that provide similar experiences. They’ll have to think of something revolutionary or else, they won’t last long.
Cheaters are making the games unplayable
One of the biggest issues games - not only BR titles - face today are cheaters. Even with developers working round the clock to prevent this from becoming an issue, it’s still a persistent problem. There are even wannabe streamers who use cheats, especially on Fortnite, ROS, and PUBG. This brings frustration to the player-base. One cheater, armed with an aimbot, is enough to ruin a whole game for 99 other people. Add in a couple more and it’ll be a contest between who clicks first.
We don’t know why cheaters do this, but yes, we can all agree it’s disgusting. There is no sense of gratification whatsoever in winning a game with an aimbot. Those who feel happy when winning a BR game with cheats are just dum-dums with no skill.
On the bright side, developers are getting creative
Thankfully, there’s always a silver lining in every difficult situation. Developers today are getting creative in making battle royale games.
For example, Fortnite recently released Creative mode wherein you’ll have access to your own private island. Here, you can build whatever you want using pieces and objects on the BR island. Plus, season 7 also revamped the entire map and added in airplanes. Meanwhile, PUBG added in a snow new map called Vikendi, along with new weapons.
Zeus Battlegrounds has an interesting concept, mixing magic, ranged, and melee combat in a great formula. Realm Royale excels due to being the pioneer in class-based BR title. Finally, Spellbreak’s combat system looks absolutely fantastic. Using different spells while flitting through the air looks extremely exciting. Let’s hope the full release will be as magical as the hype surrounding it today.
Battle Royale games aren’t dying yet. The year 2019 will be crucial for them since it will definitely determine whether they will just be a fad or a something that will be around for a long time. Regardless, the genre has already cemented itself in gaming history, and we can’t wait what the developers have in store in the future.