Years after its rise to global phenomenon, OG Fortnite just gave the battle royale its biggest day ever, with over 44 million players

(Image credit: Epic Games)

The arrival of OG Fortnite has driven Epic Games' battle royale to the biggest day in its history, years after its initial success.

As 2017 turned into 2018 and the draw of PUBG began to wane, nothing was as big as Fortnite. As a free, kid-friendly alternative to the bloodier, more militaristic efforts of PlayerUnknown, perhaps it wasn't too much of a surprise that Fortnite was able to corner the market so effectively. The rare game that truly enters mainstream awareness, if not full understanding, it was a phenomenon the likes of which we've not seen since.

However, 2018 was a long time ago, and it's fair to say that Fortnite's stranglehold has weakened over the past half-decade. That is, however, until the arrival of Fortnite Season OG - the re-introduction of the map, weapons, and traversal tools from that first season - earlier this week. It's gone down as a significant success with the die-hard community, but it's also proved enough to start pulling players back to the game in their masses - according to Epic, yesterday, November 4, was the biggest day in the game's history.

With 44.7 million players leaping off the battle bus for a total of 102 million hours of play (about 11,600 years, if you're counting) in a single day, five years later Fortnite has managed to break all of its original records. It's an astonishing feat - the battle royale is no longer the juggernaut it was five years ago, and there's more competition across the board, yet OG Fortnite has managed to be bigger than ever before.

That success story was on the cards - on Friday, the return of the OG map saw Fortnite's concurrent player counts rise to their highest since Epic began sharing data earlier this year, but the battle royale's sheer popularity in the 12 months after launch felt unassailable. Clearly that's not been the case, but it'll be fascinating to see how Epic manages to keep up this momentum.

For more epic battle royale action, check out our guide to games like Fortnite.

Ali Jones
News Editor

I'm GamesRadar's news editor, working with the team to deliver breaking news from across the industry. I started my journalistic career while getting my degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick, where I also worked as Games Editor on the student newspaper, The Boar. Since then, I've run the news sections at PCGamesN and Kotaku UK, and also regularly contributed to PC Gamer. As you might be able to tell, PC is my platform of choice, so you can regularly find me playing League of Legends or Steam's latest indie hit.