Epic Games announced today it’ll be investing a whopping $100m(£74m) into prize pools for Fortnite Battle Royale esports in the inevitable 2018-2019 season. This is the first we’ve heard of an esports structure for the popular BR game since its free-to-play early access release in September 2017.
This massive announcement from Epic Games means it will provide the largest amount of prize pool money across esports history.
For reference, $100 Million in prizing for Fortnite for its first year will be more than every major esport game (CSGO, Dota, League of Legends, Overwatch, Call of Duty, Rocket League, PUBG, FGC, Smash, Hearthstone, StarCraft, Halo) in 2017 COMBINED pic.twitter.com/rmd2fczw5C
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) May 21, 2018
Competitive Fortnite has virtually not existed until recently. While custom matchmaking is currently a game option, you need a code to join it, something currently controlled only by Epic Games. Due to the games highly competitive nature, fans have been hungry for competitions which have encouraged tournament organisers to create their own structure formed around 1v1 and 2v2, based on total kills throughout games.
We saw a peak of the first iteration of Fortnite esports at a community event at DreamHack Summer 2017 and most recently at the Ninja Vegas event in April. Besides those two, fans haven’t seen much of an esports structure until now.
The announcement simply states: “We’re getting behind competitive play in a big way, but our approach will be different – we plan to be more inclusive, and focused on the joy of playing and watching the game.”
Despite the lack of a concrete structure, major esports organisations have already been signing Fortnite teams in preparations, capitalizing on their streaming and content creation. One example being Team SoloMid signing four promising Fortnite streamers and even moving them into their own team house in California.
Esports Insider says: Battle Royale is arguably the most popular gaming genre out right now and Epic Games is out to prove they’re the best and this announcement is just one example. The company has taken its time to structure its esports plans and while we can only speculate how the money will be distributed, it’s most likely that it will be funnelled through third-party tournaments across all gaming platforms catering to all game modes, i.e. solos, duo and squad.