How Fortnite Broke Into the eSports Scene

In September 2017, the world of gaming changed forever. Fortnite Battle Royale was released in its beta mode. With quiet beginnings, no one would’ve guessed that the game would go on to become the cultural phenomenon that it is now. As the makers of the Gears of War franchise, Epic Games had major shoes to fill with it’s newest title. Fortnite has enjoyed major success with consumers, but the bigger surprise is Fortnite’s recent branching into the world of esports. So, how did Fortnite grow to become a significant esports franchise? What does the future of esports in Fortnite look like? That’s what we, here at Gamercraft, plan to find out!

Major Accessibility

Screenshot of Fortnite Battle Royale
Check out Arena mode for access to select tournaments!

When investigating how Fortnite eSports has become so popular, we need to look no further than the game’s easy accessibility and openness when it comes to tournaments. Fortnite has a specific “Arena” game mode where any player can participate in particular events. These events are usually offered in-game for a limited amount of time and include Solo, Duo, and Squad options.

Most recently, Fortnite has introduced the World Cup which begins with ten weekly Online Open qualifiers running from April 13 to June 16. Each week, players will be competing for a $1,000,000 prize. The top 100 Solo players and the top 50 Duos teams from around the world will then travel to New York City for the Fortnite World Cup Finals from July 26-28 with a $30,000,000 prize pool up for grabs! Each player will be guaranteed at least $50,000, and the Fortnite World Cup Solo Champion will walk away with $3,000,000. This is just one of the many events that Epic Games has funded.

Prioritizing Funding for Tournaments

Fortnite World Cup logo
Epic’s contribution to Fortnite Prize pools

Keeping in mind the major prize pools above, it is easy to see the incentive for players to try their hand at the tournaments. Epic has greatly prioritized funding for these events as the prize pools continue to grow. For a game that is still reasonably new, Epic isn’t shy about putting up the dough for these events! In 2018 (when the game was only 1 year old!), the company put up a total of 100 million dollars in prize money for the competitive tournaments. Epic has since announced that another $100 million will be allocated tournament prize money for 2019.

Cashing in on Popularity

Fortnite Marshmello event
Fortnite Marshmello Event

Lastly, one of the most straightforward ways that Fortnite has broken into the world of esports is through pure popularity. At its peak of 2018, during August, over 78.8 million people logged into Fortnite. That number has since skyrocketed with a total of 250 million players logging in during March 2019. Many groundbreaking events have added to this jump in viewership including the Marshmello live concert, multitudes of streaming content, and never-ending additions of tournaments and events.

Let’s not forget about the highly popular Fortnite Pro-Am tournaments that took place in both 2018 and 2019. These tournaments were explicitly designed to solidify Fortnite’s position in pop culture. Prominent Fortnite streamers and players were paired with different celebrities and pop culture icons and then placed in the battle bus to fight it out in the charity tournament event. These are just a few of the many ways that Fortnite has skyrocketed to prominence over the past 2 years.

Where will Fortnite tournaments go next?

Fortnite character
What lies ahead for the popular Battle Royale game?

While we’ve established the insane cultural phenomenon that is Fortnite Battle Royale, one can’t help but wonder what the future holds for Fortnite’s relatively new presence in the Esports scene? Epic has continued to fund and promote their tournaments and seems to be highly invested in making a name for themselves within the Esports community. Who knows where the future of Esports will go! What we do know is that Epic is highly determined to continue to spread Fortnite’s popularity and help the game become even more of a global icon.

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