Fortnite Esports Pro-Season Offers US$100 Million in Prizes
May 25, 2018
Developer Epic Games will pump US$100 million in prize money into the competitions covered by the first Fortnite esports pro-season later this year. The prize pool amount is by far the largest reward to be ever given in just one esports season.
Fortnite Battle Royale, a spin-off from Epic Game’s Fortnite, is currently trending among Twitch viewers, especially that battle royale games are seen to be the next popular genre in the esports scene. The game is set to be one of the pioneers in a new esports genre outside of the typical first person shooter (FPS) or multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) titles.
Record-Breaking Esports Season Prize Pool
The US$100 million that Epic Games pledges for Fortnite’s esports tournament will be the highest-grossing prize pool amount in a single pro-season. To put into contrast the significance of the amount that Epic Games plans on putting up, game-maker Valve paid out more than US$140 million in Dota 2 tournament prize pools since 2013. Even League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive managed to give only a total of more than US$50 million across thousands of tournaments.
Valve is the trendsetter when it comes to the biggest prize pool in an esports tournament, thanks to sales of the Dota 2 Battle Compendium and Battle Pass which have been giving players various in-game items and other perks. Twenty-five percent of the Battle Compendium and Battle Pass sale goes to the prize pool of The International tournaments which constantly see to it that prizes break past US$1 million. The previous prize pool of The International 2017 reached US$24,787,916.
In Epic Games’ case, the developers did not need to crowd-fund their prize pools because of the high revenue they are generating with Fortnite sales. In February this year, the company made about US$126 million from in-game purchases across console and PC versions of the game. Sensor Tower, an analytical firm, reported that the iOS version of Fortnite generated US$25 million within 30 days after the app’s launch.
Battle Royale Games to Take over the Esports Scene
A battle royale game is a free-for-all battle among a large number of players among whom the lone survivor will be the winner. At the start of each game, all players are dropped off into a map where weapons and other helpful items are scattered around the area. To make sure that all players will engage with one another, a designated play area will appear on the map which all players must reach within a certain period of time. Those outside of the play area when the time runs out will take constant damage. The play area will shrink over time to get any remaining players out of their hiding places within the safe zone.
The battle royale concept made PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds or PUBG popular last year among Twitch viewers. The title’s dynamic gameplay and randomized location of all items ensures a unique experience in each game session.
Inspired by the popularity of the battle royale concept, Epic Games created a spin-off out of its original Fortnite survival game. Fortnite started out with a Save the World mode which pits players against zombies. Now, there is a battle royale mode of Fortnite which is nearly the same as PUBG wherein up to 100 players scavenge the map for items that will help them be the lone survivor of the game.
What makes Fortnite unique is it features construction elements through which players can build structures to reach higher grounds or create makeshift bunkers. These elements provide a more immersive gameplay experience that is absent from competitors along the same genre.
Meanwhile, PUBG provides larger maps with drivable vehicles, allowing players to cover more ground in less time. Without the ability to construct structures, PUBG players need to utilize the surrounding environment to find a vantage point or a good place to hide until the end of the game.
Both Fortnite and PUBG provide a new type of esports game that unlike Counter-Strike or Overwatch matches. Esports fans are clamoring for battle royale matches played out on a professional stage. With Epic Games’ massive investment in its game’s first pro-season, bookmakers like UltraPlay will be paying attention to the developer’s esports tournament.