Most players haven’t probably heard of NetEase-developed battle royale Knives Out. However, the game has already topped $2 billion in lifetime revenue, thanks to its huge popularity in Japan.
Knives Out was originally released in November 2017, with versions for PC, Switch, and PlayStation coming out later. Sensor Tower shared some data on the game in connection with its fifth anniversary.
- As of October 2022, the game reached over $2.2 billion in mobile revenue and generated 91 million downloads globally.
- Japan is the number one country, accounting for more than 90% of Knives Out’s total player spending. So it is more popular than other battle royale titles in the country.
- For comparison, Japan accounts for only 2.4% of PUBG Mobile’s global revenue. The country also remains the largest market for Apex Legends Mobile, accounting for 34.1% of its total player spending.
- Analysts attribute Knives Out’s popularity in Japan to NetEase’s collaborations with local brands like One Piece and Evangelion, as well as the game’s aggressive ad campaigns and exclusive perks for local players.
- Knives Out also accounts for 66% of NetEase’s total mobile revenue in Japan.
- According to Sensor Tower, Knives Out has been the highest grossing battle royale in Japan for four consecutive years. It will likely hold the top spot in 2022, too.
Despite being a PUBG clone at its core, Knives Out has become a hit in Asia. As Niko Partners senior analyst Daniel Ahmad pointed out last year, it popularized the battle royale genre on mobile in Japan.