Fortnite is the most popular game in the world, but it’s also slowly becoming a major spectator sport. Developer Epic Games has invested a lot into making sure that’s the case. In 2018, the company pledged $100 million toward competitive Fortnite, which resulted in a series of major tournaments and a 10-week qualifying period for the spectacular Fortnite World Cup, which took place at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City. Along the way, Epic has steadily made changes to improve the e-sports landscape, and the competitions have forged a new generation of stars on Twitch and YouTube. It looks like things will only grow from there.
Apr 30, 2020
The Fortnite World Cup is the latest event to be canceled because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Today, Epic Games revealed the upcoming roadmap for competitive Fortnite, and unfortunately, that included news that all events will be held online for the foreseeable future. “Due to the limitations of cross-region online competition, there will not be a Fortnite World Cup in 2020,” the developer wrote in a tweet.Read Article >
Given the uncertainty around the pandemic, it’s not clear when in-person tournaments might happen again, but the developer apparently isn’t giving up on the concept. “We don’t know when a return to large, global, in-person events will be practical, but we’re hopeful to be able to put on some form of Fortnite World Cup in 2021,” Epic says.
Mar 2, 2020
Epic Games announced today that it won’t be hosting any Fortnite tournaments with cash prizes until it addresses performance issues affecting both players and the game’s servers. “Our goal is to improve performance before kicking off any cash prized competition,” the company said in a statement.Read Article >
Disappointingly, this tweet seems to suggest that we won’t be hearing anything about the next World Cup or any potential qualifying events in the near future. Last July, Epic hosted the first Fortnite World Cup in New York City and offered players 10 online qualifying tournaments over the course of a few months to vie for their shot at the trophy — and $30 million in prize money.
Sep 23, 2019
Epic is making a big change to the way matchmaking works in Fortnite. With the game’s next major update, v10.40, the developer will be introducing skill-based matchmaking to the battle royale. “Since battle royale launched, the matchmaking strategy for our core modes has remained mostly unchanged,” Epic explained in a blog post published today. “Over the past two years, however, the range of player skill has grown considerably.”Read Article >
It’s not clear exactly how this will work, but Epic says it is “introducing improved matchmaking logic to battle royale core modes to create fairer matches.” According to the developer, this means that “you will be more likely to match with players of similar skill, and as you get better, so should your opponents.” The new matchmaking system is expected to slowly roll out across all regions.
Aug 23, 2019
Epic Games has heard the feedback loud and clear, and this afternoon the Fortnite developer announced a series of sweeping changes to its newly introduced B.R.U.T.E. mech suit that has had game’s community in open revolt for the last few weeks. The changes have mostly gone into effect immediately, with Epic saying players will not need to update the game at all.Read Article >
In a post titled “B.R.U.T.E. balance adjustments,” Epic details the substantial nerfs coming to the item, including a reduction in the number of rockets it can fire, the rate it fires those rockets, and a number of other powerful advantages the suit offered players.
Aug 16, 2019
The future of competitive Fortnite kicks off tomorrow with the Champion Series, and it’s proving to be the most controversial e-sports contest developer Epic Games has ever embarked on. The issue is not prize money or who’s allowed to participate. Instead, the furor is over an in-game mech suit, ripped straight from the pages of classic Japanese manga. And it’s poised to boil over when pro players start competing for an eye-popping $10 million in prize money over the next 30 days.Read Article >
Epic launched its most recent Fortnite season — the 10th one, dubbed Season X — a few days after the conclusion of its wildly successful World Cup event in New York City, where a 16-year-old was crowned the solo winner and took home $3 million in prize money. It also moved quickly to start planning for its next big tournament series, which is now called the Champion Series, featuring a handful of tournaments every week that culminate in a three-day contest in late September. Everything was looking up for competitive Fortnite.
Aug 2, 2019
Epic’s first year of competitive Fortnite wrapped on Sunday with the World Cup in New York, but the developer has certainly been keeping busy. The battle royale hit’s tenth season launched just yesterday, and today the developer has released details about the title’s e-sports future. Starting August 17th, Epic will be hosting the Champion Series, a new online tournament circuit designed to replace its the season model it experimented with starting last summer.Read Article >
The Champion Series will take place over five weeks with weekend tournaments, culminating in a three-day championship tournament starting September 21st that will crown seasonal winners from each world region. The initial mode will be trios, a never-before-seen team structure for official Fortnite tournaments. We don’t have a prize pool total yet, but Epic says “each event will have an independent prize pool,” and that “it all adds up to millions of dollars in prizes given away over the course of the first Fortnite Champion Series.”
Aug 2, 2019
Tina Perez, Madison Mann, Carlee Gress, and Hannah Reyes — known online as TINARAES, maddiesuun, Carlee, and Hannah — had never been to New York City before. Three of them live in Los Angeles and train in Fortnite at Gen.G’s North American headquarters. Hannah, who’s 17, is still in high school and lives at home. The women of Gen.G’s Fortnite team were in New York City for the Fortnite World Cup Finals, the highly anticipated $30 million event that was held at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, a 23,000-seat tennis stadium best known as the home of the US Open.Read Article >
None of Gen.G’s players were at the event to compete. Out of the nearly 200 players that participated in the Fortnite World Cup’s solo and duos events — 100 players in each, though some qualified for both competitions — no female players qualified to play in the main event. (Multiple female players competed in the Celebrity Pro-Am, including Soleil “Ewok” Wheeler, a 13-year-old player who announced her signing to top e-sports team Faze Clan during the event.) Though the women from Gen.G, who play together in two separate duos teams, didn’t compete at the event, it was important for them to be there. “I never had [a female role model] growing up in the e-sports scene,” Perez said. “I want to be the role model that I never had for these people.”
Jul 30, 2019
The Fortnite World Cup Finals capped off this past weekend with a spectacular finish, awarding a total of $30 million to dozens of young players, some just 13 years old, in the second-largest payout in the history of competitive gaming. The star of the tournament was 16-year-old Pennsylvania native Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf, who took home $3 million by besting 99 of the planet’s most skilled Fortnite pros across six rounds of battle royale matches.Read Article >
Bugha, a professional gamer signed to the American e-sports organization Sentinels, has seen his stardom skyrocket in the past 48 hours, with an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and hundreds of thousands of new followers on social media. Yet for many people, including many die-hard Fortnite fans, this is the first time they’re hearing the boy’s name. Beyond the massive prize pool and the slick production at New York City’s Arthur Ashe Stadium, the biggest takeaway from developer Epic Games’ tournament was the relatively low profile of its most successful participants — and how quickly they turned into celebrities.
Jul 30, 2019
Fresh off a $3 million first-place finish at the inaugural Fortnite World Cup Finals, 16-year-old Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf stopped by The Tonight Show to talk about his win with Jimmy Fallon. Despite his newfound fame, the teenager comes off as charming and humble, taking Fallon through his daily routine of Fortnite practice. Bugha also reveals the origins of his handle — it was a childhood nickname from his grandfather — and Fallon gets a chance to confirm that the Battle Bus trophy is, indeed, quite heavy.Read Article >
Of course, it’s fairly normal for athletes to celebrate major wins on the talk show circuit — last year, Alexander Ovechkin and Braden Holtby stopped by The Tonight Show with the Stanley Cup, for instance — but it’s still relatively new ground for e-sports. Despite giant prize pools and large viewership numbers online, competitive gaming still struggles to gain mainstream acceptance. With the global popularity of Fortnite and the scale of the World Cup Finals — it took place in a 23,000-seat tennis stadium and featured a $30 million prize pool — Epic’s recent tournament was arguably the largest competitive gaming competition to date, and it has subsequently made plenty of headlines.
Jul 29, 2019
The first thing I noticed when I walked into Arthur Ashe Stadium was the sound. It wasn’t the roar of thousands of fans descending into a single venue or the cacophony of dozens of people working diligently behind the scenes to make sure everything went smoothly. Instead, I was greeted with the iconic Fortnite lobby music. It was blaring over seemingly every speaker across the famed tennis ground, which is best known for hosting the US Open for more than two decades. Under the watchful eyes of a towering Andre Agassi poster, I kept thinking about getting a few battle royale matches in on my phone.Read Article >
This past weekend, developer Epic Games put on the biggest Fortnite spectacle to date. At the world’s largest tennis stadium in New York, the company held the first Fortnite World Cup Finals. It was, as the name implies, a chance to watch the best players in the world compete against each other for a share of a massive $30 million prize pool. Those who made it in went through a grueling 10-week qualification process against millions of other players. But the weekend was also more than just a competition. Fortnite has long been the largest game in the world — if not in terms of pure player count, then surely in terms of cultural influence. The Fortnite World Cup celebrated that.
Jul 28, 2019
Fans who tuned in to watch the Fortnite World Cup Finals on Sunday received an added bonus: a tease of the game’s upcoming 10th season. We still don’t know much about season 10, but the teaser image suggests the return of Dusty Depot, which was destroyed in season 4.Read Article >
Developer Epic made the reveal during the solo tournament of the World Cup Finals in New York, which pit the 100 best players in the game against each other for the chance to win a $3 million top prize. American Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf won the competition after winning the first of six matches and remaining on top throughout most of the afternoon. The day prior, during the duos competition, the European pair of Emil “Nyhrox” Bergquist Pedersen and David “aqua” Wang won, splitting a $3 million grand prize between them. In total $30 million in prize money was given out over the course of the three-day competition. The event featured a brief live performance from Marshmello, who previously put on a concert inside of Fortnite which became the game’s biggest event ever, with an audience of 10 million players.
The biggest Fortnite tournament to date is happening this weekend, and there is $30 million on the line. Starting tomorrow, Epic Games will kick off the first ever Fortnite World Cup, a massive, multipart tournament that brings together the best players in the world at the 23,000-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City, best known as the host venue of the US Open.Read Article >
The massive prize pool combined with Fortnite’s unparalleled mainstream popularity make this possibly the biggest e-sports event in history. Fortnite is a game with bona fide global stars, like Twitch streamers Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and Turner “Tfue” Tenney, who command audiences that rival that of the world’s biggest athletes. There have already been a handful of major Fortnite competitions, and the World Cup is shaping up to be the biggest yet.
Jul 23, 2019
We’ve seen game developers in the past build tools that let you watch its e-sports competitions from a viewer within the game itself, most notably Blizzard for Overwatch League. But Epic is going one step further for its upcoming Fortnite World Cup event this weekend with a full picture-in-picture (PiP) streaming feature going live in the next few days. That way, you can keep a live feed of the competition running while you play Fortnite, if the 100-person battle royale game isn’t enough stimulus as it is.Read Article >
Today, Epic detailed the new feature and released a schedule of the three-day tournament’s events, which include a number of fan activities, another celebrity pro-am competition, and a fair amount of pre-show analysis and interviews beyond the main solo and duo tournaments. Epic says it’s turning on the feature by default as its “first step towards fully building out the in-game streaming experience,” and it’s hoping to gather some feedback about how well it blends within the main interface of Fortnite.
Jun 19, 2019
In many ways, Fortnite still has a lot to prove as an e-sport. But exactly one year after the game’s first officially sanctioned tournament and just one month ahead of its $30 million World Cup event in New York, the battle royale hit is starting to look like it can hold its own as a competitive game. Developer Epic Games hosted its second annual Pro-Am celebrity tournament this past weekend in Los Angeles, which happened right at the tail end of E3 and capped off a weekend fan celebration it called Fortnite Summer Block Party.Read Article >
It felt like a preamble to the World Cup, if only because the charity event highlighted key elements of Fortnite’s competitive community and live production chops. Those will be on full display, and determine the popularity and success of what will be the world’s biggest e-sport competition by prize money, come July.
Apr 18, 2019
The finals for the Fortnite World Cup are quickly approaching, and today developer Epic announced a new twist for the competition. While the main tournament will be centered around the game’s incredibly popular battle royale mode, it will also include a component involving Fortnite’s Minecraft-style creative mode, which launched in December and has been steadily growing in stature.Read Article >
Over the next few weeks Epic will hold a series of events where competitors can submit their creations to be judged, and the winners will then face off at the World Cup finals in New York this July. The creative-specific prize pool totals a sizable $3 million. While a number of details are still unclear, here’s the basic qualification process, as per Epic:
Feb 22, 2019
The much-anticipated Fortnite World Cup is finally happening this summer — and there’s going to be a lot of money up for grabs. Today developer Epic detailed the upcoming e-sports event, which will culminate in a final tournament at an undisclosed location in New York from July 26th to the 28th.Read Article >
The multi-day event will feature what is possibly the biggest prize pool in e-sports history, with a total of $30 million up for grabs, including $3 million to the solo champion. In comparison, last year’s International Dota 2 tournament, typically the most lucrative e-sports competition, featured a $25 million prize pool. Participants in the Fortnite World Cup will have to be at least 13 yeas of age to qualify.
Feb 11, 2019
It’s a good time to be a fan of competitive gaming. This week is going to be absolutely packed with things to watch, with a range of competitions spread out across some of the hottest games in the world. In fact, it’s likely one of the busiest e-sports weeks of the year, despite the fact that we’re still only in February. The major events include the debut of the Overwatch League’s second season, a secretive Fortnite tournament that could provide a glimpse at the game’s upcoming World Cup, and the very first Apex Legends competition.Read Article >
It’s a lot to keep track of. Here’s what’s coming up and how to follow it all.
Jan 17, 2019
It’s been less than a year since Epic Games kicked off the competitive circuit for Fortnite, but the company says it’s learned enough to make a substantial change to how it balances the consumer version of the game with the one played by pros at big tournaments. In an announcement on its website, the developer says it will now leave a window of time, somewhere between a few days and one week, for players to acclimate to a new update, one that could include game-changing new items, vehicles, weapons, or environmental changes to the map.Read Article >
“We value the ability of players to adapt to the game changing over time. We also believe these changes keep Fortnite fresh for everyone including players, competitors and spectators. However, we want to provide reasonable time for you to adjust strategies following large gameplay impacting changes, for example prior to official Fortnite competitions,” the developer explains.
Nov 20, 2018
Fortnite’s next major tournament series will be the first time anyone can compete in the game for cash prizes. Today, developer Epic announced its “Winter Royale” competition, an open tournament with a $1 million prize pool that will start later this month. It’s an expansion of the tournament feature that Epic launched in October, but it has the important addition of winning actual money. Previous cash tournaments were restricted to pros or other invited players, like popular streamers.Read Article >
Epic says that the competition will be divided into two phases: qualifiers and finals. “The top performers in each region for NA and EU will be verified, and those players found eligible will be invited to participate in the Winter Royale Finals for their region,” the developer explains. “While this tournament will be restricted to NA and EU, we’re planning on holding other region-specific tournaments in additional regions in the near future.”
Sep 6, 2018
Epic Games wrapped up its weekly Fortnite Summer Skirmish series on Monday, crowning one victor and giving out $1.5 million in prize money after a four-day series of high-stakes tournament play between the game’s most skilled players. The event, taking place at PAX West in Seattle, was the culmination of weeks of tinkering, experimentation, and a fair number of failures. The series is just the beginning of Epic’s $100 million e-sports commitment, but it may prove to be influential in helping the game developer realize its competitive ambitions.Read Article >
Over the course of eight weeks, Epic tested new rules, tweaked its scoring format, and changed up the quality and diversity of the participants, all in an effort to find a winning formula. After two months, it finally found that formula, with the PAX final featuring a staggeringly impressive and eye-popping blend of skillful strategizing, serendipitous happenstance, and nail-biting bouts.
Jul 30, 2018
When Epic Games announced that it would be investing a hefty $100 million in Fortnite e-sports and launch a competitive world cup for the game, there was a lot of excitement. Fortnite is already a massive cultural phenomenon, and here was a chance for it to make a splash in the burgeoning world of e-sports. The successful Fortnite Pro-Am at E3 was followed by the launch of Summer Skirmish, a series of eight weekly tournaments featuring $8 million in prizes. But despite some big money and many of the most popular names in streaming, Fortnite’s competitive gaming splash has been mostly a disappointment so far.Read Article >
Things got off to a very bad start. The first tournament was cancelled halfway through after players suffered from such significant lag that it was impossible to continue. A week later, the next skirmish featured a nice underdog story, as console player “iDropz_bodies” — well-known in Destiny circles, but not a big name in Fortnite — surprised everyone by snagging the tournament win and $130,000 in prizes. This, naturally, led to accusations of cheating on Reddit and elsewhere; Epic was forced to release a statement defending the player and verifying that the win was legit.
Jul 13, 2018
In just two days, France and Croatia will clash in the long-awaited final of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. And as excited as I am to watch Mbappé and Modrić battle for global supremacy, I also can’t stop thinking about a video game.Read Article >
Last month at E3, Epic Games announced plans for something called the Fortnite World Cup, an event that would take place some time next year. What the developer didn’t provide was much in the way of details. We know that the cup will consist of “organized events, online events, and major organized competitions all over the world,” but that’s about it. So far, competitive Fortnite has skewed heavily toward celebrity-led events, with everyone from NBA stars to the world’s biggest streamers participating largely for charity prize money and bragging rights. Over the next two months, Epic will kick off its e-sports circuit by running a series of invite-only competitions featuring an $8 million total prize pool. But I hope the game’s world cup goes in a different direction.
Jun 17, 2018
Under the scorching California sun last Tuesday, 50 celebrities and 50 professional video game players gathered near the north end of a soccer stadium in Los Angeles to play Fortnite for $3 million in prize money. It was the very first officially sanctioned tournament for developer Epic Games’ mega-hit battle royale game, organized by the company itself and geared toward raising money for charity. And it was a monumental success by most metrics: It handily eclipsed the first official day of the game industry’s E3 expo, which was happening just two miles north at the city’s convention center, and drew more than 1.1 million viewers live on Twitch.Read Article >
The line to get in sprawled across every available stretch of sidewalk around the Banc of California arena, the 22,000-capacity home of the new Los Angeles FC soccer team that opened back in April. Inside the gates, past the check-in area and robust security, a gigantic replica of Fortnite’s ocean-blue Battle Bus, with its hot air balloon propulsion system, sat openly out on the pavement. Characters dressed as popular Fortnite characters, including a man donning an anthropomorphic tomato suit, wandered the lot taking pictures with fans. Onward into the stadium, the letters F-O-R-T-N-I-T-E could be seen spelled out in white against the purple backdrop of the entire eastern half of the venue’s seating area.
Jun 13, 2018
Epic Games announced more details about its e-sports plans for Fortnite, revealing today during its live celebrity-streamer ProAm tournament in Los Angeles during E3 that the competitions will all be part of what’s called the Fortnite World Cup. The prize pool, first announced earlier this year, will be $100 million. It will be spread out over a number of different “organized events, online events, and major organized competitions all over the world,” reads the developer’s blog post.Read Article >
Crucially, Epic is taking a far different approach than other e-sports leagues, like Blizzard’s Overwatch League. (Though Blizzard does operate an annual Overwatch World Cup as well.) “This is for you, the players. Qualifications for the Fortnite World Cup will be based on merit. Epic will not be selling teams or franchises, and won’t allow third-party leagues to do so either,” explains the post.
May 21, 2018
Epic Games announced today that it will provide $100 million in prize pool money for Fortnite competitions in the first year of competitive play, an eye-popping figure that puts the game at the upper echelon of e-sports with regard to monetary prizes. Official Fortnite competitions are slated to start some time later this year, though little else is known about what shape these tournaments will take.Read Article >
“In the 2018 — 2019 season, Epic Games will provide $100,000,000 to fund prize pools for Fortnite competitions,” reads a blog post on the developer's website. “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. Stay tuned for more details about competitive structures and eligible platforms in the weeks ahead.”