On some level, all entertainment is equivalent, whether you’re playing video games or watching movies. There’s only so much time in the day, and people have diverse interests. Time spent watching movies is time not spent playing video games and vice versa — unless you’re a pro multitasker, that is.
That’s a concept that the highers-up at Netflix are well aware of, saying in a letter to shareholders that accompanied its Q4 financial statement yesterday. Under the “Competition” section, Netflix said that:
We earn consumer screen time, both mobile and television, away from a very broad set of competitors. We compete with (and lose to) Fortnite more than HBO.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Fortnite: Battle Royale is so big that it impacts other entertainment companies. What’s a little surprising is that one of those companies would admit to it in print.
Don’t shed too many tears for Netflix, though; the letter also states that the company added 8.8 million memberships in Q4 and 29 million overall throughout 2018.
More to the point, I think the notion that games only compete for players against similar games is a little outdated. Sure, some people only play RPGs or shooters or CCGs or MOBAs or whatever, but I’d wager the overlap between those categories is pretty large. Fortnite: Battle Royale, as one example, certainly has had an impact on the PUBGs and H1Z1s of the world, but probably also on other games’ population (and sales) as well.