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.
For Chapter 2 - Season 2, we're working to address performance issues impacting both clients and servers. Our goal is to improve performance before kicking off any cash prized competition. We'll keep you posted with schedule updates as soon as possible.— Fortnite Competitive (@FNCompetitive) March 2, 2020
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.
Fortnite’s latest season launched on February 20th, and there are a number of recent changes to the game that could be affecting performance. One is that multiple areas on the map are now guarded by armed and coordinated NPCs, and perhaps Epic is seeing issues with how those characters sync up across games. The game also moved over to the Unreal Engine’s Chaos physics engine in early February, and when Epic announced that change, it said it expected to experience some “bumps” with the transition.
There’s also the possibility that Epic is exercising caution about hosting the World Cup in light of the global coronavirus outbreak, which has already led to the postponement of the Game Developers Conference, many exhibitors pulling out of last week’s PAX East, and the cancellation of other major tech events like Mobile World Congress and Facebook’s F8 developer conference.
China’s League of Legends Pro League has suspended its in-person matches and shifted to an online-only format for the time being. There’s always a chance Epic could take a similar approach for the next World Cup, given last year’s World Cup qualifiers were all online and that the company has hosted online tournaments with cash prizes in the past.
And although it seems like we’ll be waiting to hear more about Epic’s plans for tournaments, popular streamers and Fortnite competitors Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, Nick “NickMercs” Kolcheff, and World Cup solo champion Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf all reacted positively to today’s announcement on Twitter.