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Knives Out a big battle royale winner for NetEase in 2018 with $465m revenue

Knives Out benefited from Japanese fame and being monetisable in China
Knives Out a big battle royale winner for NetEase in 2018 with $465m revenue
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Mobile’s big battle royale winner in 2018 may not have been PUBG Mobile or Fortnite.

Instead, NetEase’s Knives Out earned an estimated $465 million on the App Store and Google Play over the last year, according to analytics outlet Sensor Tower.

In comparison, Fortnite earned roughly $455 million on iOS over the same period on that platform, potentially granting Knives Out the Victory Royale.

That sharp figure was met despite the game’s relative obscurity in the West, with only one per cent of revenue coming from US players. Japan, in comparison, loves the game, with 80 per cent of player spending sourced from the country.

It might not be a total rout, however. Android figures for Fortnite are hard to find as Epic runs the title through its own launcher, as are Android revenues for Knives Out in China - which Sensor Tower doesn't track. 

There's a chance that Epic might have found an advantage outside Apple's ecosystem.

Slice of the pie

Knives Out managed to earn 11-times more average player spending in Japan than what PUBG Mobile managed, with users tending to spend $370m on the battle royale.

NetEase’s title also benefitted from China’s recently-lifted block on game approvals, which had prevented rivals like PUBG Mobile from monetising. 18 per cent of the game’s worldwide revenue came from iOS users in China.

This isn't completely surprising news - in November, we reported that Knives Out was already out-earning both of its big-name rivals. That came in spite of a rocky start for the game, as it became the target of a lawsuit by PUBG Corp.