As the dust settles on the Fortnite World Cup, Epic Games appears to be laying the groundwork for a more elaborate and sustained competitive circuit.
During a break in the competition at this weekend’s event in New York, Fortnite caster Sundown announced the Fortnite Championship Series, slated to debut with Season 10, which is widely rumored to start from Aug. 10.
Details of the exact format have yet to be unveiled, but the announcement stressed ‘seasons’ alongside a leader board that tracks progress. Regarding the Fortnite Championship series, Sundown explained;
“This will give players a chance to compete against the best of the best where every single result matters.”
Potential Format and Structure
The likelihood of a larger scale iteration of the qualifiers leading up the World Cup seems a likely candidate. Millions of players battled it out online from April until June to gain enough points to qualify for the World Cup. We may see a season-long series where only the best get to attend real-world events peppered throughout the year followed by a post-season period of playoffs and qualifiers culminating in the World Cup.
Otherwise, a formalized league of professional teams similar to Riot Game’s popular League of Legends Championship Series may be in the works. Although, how this would work in practice requires some clarification due to logistics of 100 players participating in each match of Fortnite. The cost of having a brick-and-mortar studio similar to Riot’s LA-based LCS Studio capable of housing all these players may prove too costly to be viable.
Regardless of the specifics, the Fornite Championship series will feature a prize pool in the millions of dollars, dwarfing those of other eSports mainstays like Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Overwatch.
This weekend saw a handful of teenagers becomes overnight millionaires including a British 15-year-old thanks to their prowess in the premier battle royale title. We can expect to see many more in the coming year.
Fortnite Lags Other eSports
Epic trails significantly behind other established eSports when it comes to the competitive Fortnite scene, and it’s striking the publisher hasn’t channeled more resources until now. The World Cup is the centerpiece among a sporadic scattering of events. This is despite having an estimated player base of 250 million regular players.
Stepping into a structured year-round circuit demonstrates Epic Games’ intent to muster up interest from competitors and audiences alike. But the publisher isn’t stopping there.
“This is just a taste of what’s to come as we also plan on stepping up our competitive efforts across the board.”
As interest in Fortnite has waned somewhat since the heady heights of last summer, Epic is focused on keeping its flagship title in the limelight. As other eSports success stories prove, there’s no better way to reinject life into a hit game than a formal eSports structure. Overwatch released in 2016 yet managed to attract 1.7 million viewers to last year’s Overwatch League Finals and a steady stream of new players to add to the existing 40 million registered base.
Expect Epic to drive home the competitive scene from now on and release news about the inaugural first season of the Championship Series in the coming weeks as we approach Season 10.