Fortnite World Cup kicks off with $30m at stake

Players as young as 12 will compete in the event, marking Fortnite: Battle Royale’s entry into the lucrative professional games tournament circuit

After 10 weeks of open qualifiers attracting more than 40 million competitors, the Fortnite World Cup finals will be held this weekend in New York. Up for grabs for the 100 qualifiers – many of whom are between 12 and 16 years old – is a total prize pot of $30m, the largest ever for an esports event.

With more than 250 million players, Fortnite: Battle Royale has become one of the most popular video games in the world since its launch in 2017. The World Cup represents the title’s entry into the lucrative world of professional games tournament circuits, where revenues are set to pass $1bn this year, due to exploding sponsorship, advertising and broadcast rights.

Epic Games has arranged a three-day festival around the finals, with thousands of fans expected to attend. Saturday will see the Duos final with 50 teams of two competing, while Sunday features the Solo competition, pitching 100 players against each other. Both finals are played over six matches, with points awarded for match placement and number of kills. Winners of the Solo and Duo finals will receive $3m each.

Fortnite World Cup announcement

Competitors are coming from all over the world after winning a series of open, online heats, which also offered hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money. There are no women among the finalists, and most competitors are under the age of 20. Many are part of professional gaming teams such as Faze, Envy and NRG, which provide managers and training facilities for star players.

Several UK competitors will be present, including one of the favourites to win, Benjy “Benjyfishy” David Fish, who is competing in the Solo and Duo competitions for NRG Esports. The 15-year-old told ESPN that if he wins, he will buy a house for his family.

Fortnite: Battle Royale has had unprecedented growth since its release as a free offshoot of coop shooter game, Fortnite: Save the World. In each online match, 100 players are parachuted on to a colourful island and must search for weapons and items while shooting competitors. The last person standing wins.

The battle royale genre was popularised by Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, released in 2017. Apex Legends attracted 50 million players in a week after its launch in February. Fortnite, meanwhile, has proved enormously popular with younger players thanks to cartoon visuals, amusing dances and high-profile star players who attract millions of spectators on their YouTube and Twitch channels.

Fans can watch the finals live online via Fortnite’s Twitch and YouTube channels from 1pm ET (6pm BST) each night, and can tune in through the game itself, selecting to follow a major broadcast or to view the live streams of individual players.

Industry insiders speculate that Fortnite’s popularity has peaked, with viewership of Twitch streams falling through 2019, and May revenues dropping 38% from 2018. The viewing figures from these finals may provide the most compelling verdict yet on Fortnite’s popularity.

Contributor

Keith Stuart

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
US teenager becomes first Fortnite World Cup champion, winning $3m
Sixteen-year-old Kyle ‘Bugha’ Giersdorf beat 99 other players at the Fortnite World Cup tournament in New York

Jay Castello

29, Jul, 2019 @9:07 AM

Article image
Apex Legends: a parents' guide to the 'new Fortnite'
The battle royale team game has won millions of players within weeks. How violent is it? What’s the age limit? And what does it cost? We answer your questions

Keith Stuart

28, Mar, 2019 @10:00 AM

Article image
Apex Legends – Fortnite meets Overwatch as Respawn joins battle royale fray
A new battle royale game from the creators of mech shooter Titanfall offers squad-based play in aruined sci-fi world – but is it enough to take on Fortnite?

Keith Stuart

05, Feb, 2019 @12:02 PM

Article image
Fortnite Season 8 brings a volcano, pirates, cannon – and a banana suit
Radical map changes and fun pirate-themed skins give a fresh look to counter strong competition from Apex Legends

Keith Stuart

28, Feb, 2019 @2:28 PM

Article image
Fortnite: a parents' guide to the most popular video game in schools
If you have children between eight and 18, the chances are you’ve heard of the multiplayer online shooter Fortnite: Battle Royale. Here’s what you need to know

Keith Stuart

07, Mar, 2018 @12:08 PM

Article image
Marshmello makes history with first ever Fortnite in-game concert
Live virtual show by EDM producer had dancing avatars with weapon options disabled

Frances Perraudin

03, Feb, 2019 @3:40 PM

Article image
Not one of the Fortnite World Cup's 100 finalists was a woman. Why? | Keith Stuart
The esports industry must avoid replicating the sexism that blights other sports, says the gaming and tech journalist Keith Stuart

Keith Stuart

29, Jul, 2019 @10:59 AM

Article image
Fortnite World Cup to feature $130m prize pot and a New York final
Epic Games will host the year’s biggest video gaming event when the battle royale phenomenon’s top players go head to head

Keith Stuart

22, Feb, 2019 @3:24 PM

Article image
What can traditional sports learn from the Fortnite World Cup?
The inaugural tournament’s finals last weekend were watched by 2.3 million people. Traditional sports broadcasters should be watching very closely

Keith Stuart

02, Aug, 2019 @9:48 AM

Article image
British boy becomes Fortnite millionaire in World Cup tournament
Jaden Ashman, 15, known as Wolfiez, came second in the video game’s duos competition

Josh Halliday and Poppy Noor

28, Jul, 2019 @7:41 PM