The head of the studio that produced the ultra-popular “Fortnite” is worth $7.16 billion, placing him at spot 195 on the list of billionaires. This puts him ahead of Valve’s head, Gabe Newell, who is at spot 368. Valve is the corporation behind Steam, the currently leading digital game distribution platform.
“Fortnite” is the phenomenon making Sweeney his fortune. Its free to play mode, “Fortnite Battle Royale” in particular has made the game a household name, earning Epic billions via optional, cosmetic in-game items. “Fortnite” was the most talked about video game on Twitter in 2018, and top “Fortnite” streamer Ninja made headlines repeatedly throughout last year, while he made $10 million streaming the game on Twitch.
Valve, on the other hand, has faced some negative press this past year, in part due to confusing policies regarding what games it allows on its platform. The new Epic Game Store also could be a threat to the popularity of Steam, as it has a more curated selection of games compared to Steam’s overwhelming amount of titles, appealing to both consumers and developers. The Epic storefront also gives a larger cut to game developers than Valve.
Another video game industry notable in the index is Zhang Zhidong, co-founder of Tencent, at the 79th spot with $13.6 billion in net worth. Tencent is the publisher behind massively popular titles “PUBG Mobile” and “Arena of Valor” (and its Chinese version, “Honor of Kings”). Tencent faced some struggle amidst increasing restrictions in China which came from government concerns about minors’ length of time playing video games, which Tencent in part tried to combat by creative methods, such as using facial recognition technology to limit the playtime of minors.
Tencent suffered an estimated $230 billion in lost market value earlier in 2018 when Chinese officials froze approval of online games, a process which restarted in late December. The decision resulted in an immediate 4.5% rise in shares for the company.