Fortnite Is The Harbinger Of More Pain For The Already Struggling Toy Industry

While it is rather clear to us why Toys R Us is filing bankruptcy and even Star Wars themed toy sales weren’t enough to help Mattel (MAT) this past holiday season, in-app purchases for the new iOS version of Fortnite are rather revealing. The recently launched gaming app, which sits at the center of our Connected Society and Content is King investing themes, typifies the shift toward gaming, and mobile gaming, in particular, that has changed the kinds of toys that children of all ages play with.

At Tematica we like to say confirming data points for our investment themes are all around us in everyday life. In this case, all one has to do is look at the kinds of “toys” being used by children, tweens and teens as well as some adult – smartphones and in some cases tablets to play games, read or even stream movies and TVs. With a nearly endless choice of games, books and video content, one has to wonder how long traditional toys, such as action figures and dolls, can survive? Perhaps they will in a limited form that powers licensable content to gaming and content producers much the way the struggling comic industry is being utilized at the movie box office.

That would mean companies like Mattel and Hasbro (HAS) understand what it takes to pivot and capture the benefits of our Asset-lite Business Model investing theme.

Though it launched on iOS as a limited “early release” last Thursday, Epic Games’ Fortnite is already sitting atop the App Store’s free app download charts and, according to fresh estimates from Sensor Tower, has grossed more than $1.5 million in worldwide in-app purchases.

Players spend real money to buy V-Bucks, which can be redeemed for skins, accessory modifications, character animations and more. Currently, V-Buck packs range from $9.99 for 1,000 currency units to $99.99 for 10,000 units. Larger purchases net additional in-game currency, for example the $99.99 tier comes with an extra 3,500 V-Bucks on top of the standard 10,000 units.

According to the report, $1 million of Epic’s total estimated earnings came in the first three days after in-app purchases were activated. The performance puts Fortnite well ahead of similar battle royale style games Knives Out and Rules of Survival, which earned approximately $57,000 and $39,000, respectively, when they debuted.

A separate report from Apptopia adds color to Epic’s release, noting the game now sits in the No. 1 overall App Store spot in 89 markets. Currently the second-highest grossing game in the U.S. behind App Store stalwart Candy Crush Saga, Fortnite appears in the top-ten highest grossing charts in 15 markets, the analytics firm says.

Disclosure: None.

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