Epic Games is carrying its namesake well, turning its monumental juggernaut of a battle royale game Fortnite into what promises to be a massive haul for its pro players. The company announced that it will provide $100 million in prize money in its first year of competition, higher than the aggregate of other top esports games (at $91.2 million).
Getting the ball rolling
The Battle Royale genre is seen by many to be fairly casual-friendly, entertaining. It offers just about the right mix of competitiveness and a laid-back atmosphere. The game’s bright and colorful graphics even ante up on the fun factor. Its whimsical and cartoony nature creates a product that kids and casual gamers can get attracted to. The fact that it’s free is just icing on the cake.
What else can be expected with the game’s insane following? Recent stats put the game at around 45 million players — with 3 million concurrent users. That’s a lot of people.
It’s a big gap from Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, whose numbers have been cut in half since earlier this year. PUBG got the ball rolling for the battle royale genre, kickstarting what many gamers and critics see as the next big thing in online gaming. But if PUBG got that trend going, then Fortnite snatched that ball and ran with it.
Celebrities a key driver
Celebrities support it, and their respective fan followings check it out in droves. After all, what other game can you find NBA star player Gordon Hayward and comedian Norm MacDonald talking smack? What about Chance the Rapper, or Pittsburgh Steelers’ Juju Smith-Schuster? Oh, even Roseann Barr and Finn Wolfhard (that kid from Stranger Things and It) are also getting in on the action.
Perhaps no other big name in showbiz added much-needed credibility to the game than Drake. This is due to a major streaming event where Drake joined Fortnite’s top streamer, Ninja, for a few games. The famous rapper contributed to Ninja’s stream reaching 635,000 concurrent viewers at its peak, and the streamer himself gaining 90,000 new subscribers. Do the math: it’s the equivalent of around $250,000 in revenue!
There is no one who can beat me at Fortnite. And I mean NO ONE!!!!!!!!
— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald) March 15, 2018
What’s next in store?
Epic Games are rolling out new content updates for Fortnite, and fans are more than happy with these new additions. The recent 4.2 update added the jetpack and the Eye of the Storm tracker — which pretty much allows you to anticipate where the storm would hit, and where you’d need to go in order to avoid it. The Solo Showdown results and Solid Gold’s return were also included.
That was last week. This week we saw 4.3, the addition of shopping carts — the first “real” vehicle in the game. Fortnite also had some QOL improvements, including players receiving updates in the middle of a match as opposed to checking the menu while queued.
Consistent updates and new content, a thankful player base, and the free publicity from celebrities who also play combine to make Fortnite one of the biggest games in the industry. Although some setbacks are a given — such as the former leader in the pack, PUBG, suing Epic Games Korea for copyright infringement. Does the lawsuit have merits? Did the game infringe on PUBG in any way? Or is it simply a means to curtail Fortnite’s expansion into South Korea which boasts millions of avid gamers?
What’s clear is that and brighter things in store for the Battle Royale genre, and Fortnite is leading the charge all the way. It’s no wonder we here at Daily eSports believe that it’s well on its way to becoming an increasingly bigger phenomenon.