And for many teams, this increased focus on both content and skill has grown Fortnite’s esports scene to offer a more all-encompassing experience than other esports ecosystems that currently exist.
Newer teams such as Ghost Gaming, which boasts some of the top Fortnite players on their roster, have thrived on the scene. Fortnite analyst Jacob Arce stressed that Epic is “pushing the boundaries” and improving the battle royale scene at a pivotal time for the genre.
“That’s one thing that separates this game from, say, PUBG (Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds), you do have your content creators who play [the game], but they’re not competitors,” Arce explained. Fortnite allows players to “create amazing content while competing.”
And part of the current Fortnite esports’ success in doing so, according to Arce, lies with Epic’s dedication to experimenting based on community feedback. It’s an approach that top players, including Team Liquid’s Jake “Poach” Brumleve, believe will create a sustainable path for Fortnite esports.
Brumleve competed in the previous Summer Skirmish, and placed third overall at the grand finals — a standing that contributed to the over $276,000 in prize money he has earned in just the last 90 days. He expects the $10 million Fall Skirmish to be “the most refined format yet,” and that like the previous season, Epic Games is using the competition as a testing ground for next year’s announced World Finals.
Brumleve also expects that more publishers will be eyeing the battle royale genre and seek to emulate the gaming giant. For instance the newest installment of Activision’s “Call of Duty: Black Ops 4” will feature a battle royale-style mode called “Blackout,” which has already generated a widely positive reception among those who played the beta version.
And Brumleve believed that it wouldn’t be a far cry to assume that other publishers will also seek to build their own competitive battle royale-based scenes.
“Fortnite is one of the most unique games to emerge in the past years, and I think it’s a stepping stone,” he said. “You see almost all big games now are sort of branching out and having a counterpart of battle royale, so they see [more growth opportunities for the genre].”
Back in May, Epic Games announced that it would be dedicating $100 million in prize pool money towards the first year of competitive Fortnite play. The current Fall Skirmish event is part of that giant prize pool, though it remains to be seen how big the prize pool will be for the announced Fortnite World Cup, which will be held next year at a yet undetermined date.
Currently, the record for the biggest single esports event prize pool is held by Valve’s Defense of the Ancients 2 (DotA 2) landmark tournament, The International. This year’s tournament featured a prize pool of over $25.5 million, surpassing last year’s record of $24.7 million.