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'Fortnite' Earned $2.4 Billion in 2018

Meanwhile, digital gaming revenue topped $109 billion globally, up 11 percent year-over-year.
'Fortnite'   |   Courtesy of Epic Games
Meanwhile, digital gaming revenue topped $109 billion globally, up 11 percent year-over-year.

Fortnite generated more digital revenue in 2018 than any game in history, a new report from Nielsen's SuperData Research division estimated on Wednesday.

Epic Games' popular multiplayer Battle Royale shooter generated over $2.4 billion last year. Fortnite also helped drive digital game revenue up 11 percent year-over-year to $109.8 billion in 2018. Additionally, the game helped solidify free-to-play titles as a dominant business strategy, with free-to-play titles amassing 80 percent of digital games revenue last year, driven largely by China, which was responsible for 62 percent of global free-to-play revenue. 

Overall, the video game industry earned $119.6 billion in 2018 and is forecast to hit $128.8 billion in 2019. 

Premium games also delivered big numbers last year. Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption 2 earned $516 million in the fourth quarter of 2018 (it's important to note that this figure only accounts for digital sales, not physical sales, of the title, which posted sales of $725 million in its first weekend). 

Elsewhere, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, another Battle Royale shooter, earned over $1 billion, an uptick of 19 percent year-over-year. It's an interesting success story, given the game has been on the market since March 2017.

On the streaming side, Twitch outearned YouTube as the highest-grossing gaming video platform, despite the former having a significantly smaller audience (Twitch has 183 million viewers versus 594 million for YouTube). Twitch's success was driven in large part by streamers like Ninja, far and away the most-viewed streamer in 2018, who amassed over 218 million total hours watched last year.  Demographically, 44 percent of viewership for Ninja and Fortnite came from audience members under the age of 25.

SuperData's top 10 free-to-play games, by revenue is below.

1. Fortnite - Epic Games - $2.4B
2. Dungeon Fighter Online - Nexon - $1.5B
3. League of Legends - Riot Games, Tencent - $1.4B
4. Pokemon GO - Niantic - $1.3B
5. Crossfire - Neowiz Games - $1.3B
6. Honour of Kings 2 - Tencent - $1.3B
7. Fate/Grand Order - Aniplex - $1.2B
8. Candy Crush Saga King - Activision Blizzard - $1.1B
9. Monster Strike - Mixi - $1.0B
10. Clash Royale Supercell - Tencent - $0.9B

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