By now, you’re either obsessively playing Fortnite or desperately trying to avoid it. The massively popular video game took the gaming world by storm over the last year, and shows no signs of slowing down. Over 125 million people play the game, and with constant updates and features in pop culture, more will jump on the Fortnite train in the coming months.
When something like Fortnite becomes a runaway success, the investing world takes notice. Yet while putting money into Fortnite might sound like a good idea, can you actually invest in Fortnite? Or are you simply stuck trying to increase your V-Bucks?
Who owns Fortnite?
Fortnite Battle Royale is a Hunger Games-style game that exploded in popularity in the last year. Fortnite: Save the World was the original version of the game, but it isn’t the one everyone refers to when they explain why missed sleep last night.
American video game/software developer Epic Games is the creator and publisher of both titles. Chinese investment firm Tencent Holdings Ltd. acquired 48% of Epic Games stock in 2012. The video game developer was largely struggling at the time. as Fortnite was in development but years from being ready. Adding Tencent, the first Asian company with a market cap $500 billion, proved to be helpful.
So, can I invest in Fortnite?
You can’t. Fortnite is still just a game, not a publicly traded company. You also can’t invest in the privately-held Epic Games.
What you can do is invest in Tencent ($TCEHY). They’re the largest gaming company in the world with stakes in several different developers. Since the company owns nearly half of Epic Games, it’s the closest you can get to investing in Fortnite. Tencent is also bringing Battle Royale to China, and launched the mobile version of the game there.
It’s also worth mentioning that PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, another Battle Royale-type game, was released well before Fortnite. Though it’s no longer as popular, it’s still around and played by millions. Other battle royale-style games will soon pop up, too. Keep an eye out for fight-to-the-death-style games like Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 by Activision Blizzard ($ATVI) and Battlefield V by Electronic Arts ($EA) later this year. Both games feature modes modeled after the current successes.
Fortnite Battle Royale vs. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds: Who’s Winning?
Maybe you’re one of the several million people who played PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds before Fortnite: Battle Royale overtook everything else. You should know that things are tense between Fortnite developer Epic Games and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds developer Bluehole, especially since Battle Royale was released. Bluehole criticizes Battle Royale for copying many of the elements that PUBG implemented in their game first, and is now suing Epic. The situation is especially messy because Bluehole used Epic Games’ Unreal Engine software to develop PUBG.
Recently, it was revealed that Tencent is looking to invest in Bluehole for over $460 million. If they do, Tencent will have more than a 10% stake in the private company. If Tencent invests in Bluehole, you could invest in both Fortnite and PUBG with one stock.
You can’t invest directly in Fortnite at the moment. Yet in a world with 125 million people playing a video game 11 months after release, anything can change. And you have options in the meantime, by considering Tencent and other video game companies. Whatever your decide, make sure to do your research before investing. It takes a bit more preparation than you would need to survive a 100-person fight to the death.