Teens are spending more on video games than ever before, and it's at least partially thanks to 'Fortnite'


Fortnite Sky dive

  • In 2019, teens are spending more money than ever on video games.
  • Only food and clothing rank higher on expenditures by teens, according to a survey of teens from Piper Jaffray released on Monday.
  • Despite “Fortnite” being a free option, the game may actually be expanding the market for video games.
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Teens are spending more than ever on video games, and the massive popularity of free games like “Fortnite” could actually be expanding the gaming market.

That’s according to a bi-annual report released on Monday from Piper Jaffray that surveyed thousands of teens about their spending habits.

On average, the male teens surveyed said they’re dedicating about 14% of their income to video games in one form or another — whether that’s game purchases, in-game purchases, or console purchases. Only two categories exceeded video games for male teen spending: food and clothing. 

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Part of that spending is certainly going towards “Fortnite,” the free-to-play Battle Royale shooter that’s dominated the video game market for the last 1.5 years. 

Though the game is free, players are able to purchase virtual currency — “V-bucks” — that can be used within the game for virtual items. That same currency is used to buy the seasonal Battle Pass, or any of the in-game cosmetic items for your avatar. 

The worry with free-to-play games like “Fortnite” is that they’ll eat revenue from more traditional game publishers like EA and Activision, but the Piper Jaffray report refutes that assumption.

“While ‘Fortnite’ may be taking some share from certain other video games from other publishers, it may also be expanding the market,” the report says. “For example, 13% of teens said they will ‘buy more other games’
now that they play ‘Fortnite,’ up from 7% in the fall.”

Additionally, 15% of surveyed teens said that they outright didn’t play video games before “Fortnite” exploded in popularity — so if even a fraction of that percentage ever buys another game, then “Fortnite” has served to expand the gaming market.

SEE ALSO: Ninja and other professional ‘Fortnite’ players are up in arms over the latest changes to the game

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