Competitive Fortnite players take issue with Season 5’s Cash Cup prize pool.
A feeling of despair settled on the competitive Fortnite scene as details about Chapter 2 - Season 5's Cash Cup prize pool went public. Last month, Epic Games announced that no World Cup would occur and that the entire year of 2021 would keep the spotlight on the trios format. After the winter break, players grew more and more eager to sink their teeth into competitive events in Season 5. However, that feeling of excitement became dread when players learned that they stood to make $700 USD each for winning a Trio Cash Cup. That is a substantial decrease from Season 4, where Cash Cup winners collected $4,000 USD apiece.
Setting the Bar High
Epic Games set an unsustainable precedent with the Fortnite World Cup and the first-ever Fortnite Champion Series (FNCS). Those tournaments respectively bolstered a $30 million and $10 million prize pool. Although incentives remained in the millions through Fortnite Chapter 2, professional players are beginning to question Epic's handling of the competitive scene from a monetary standpoint. This season's FNCS is just under one month away, and players fear the worst.
Cash Cup & FNCS Prize Pool Downtrend?
Total prize pool for every FNCS pic.twitter.com/D6rxnVSvpg
— Fortnite Competitive Data (@FNCompData) September 25, 2020
The days of $30 million and even $10 million prize pools seem firmly in the past. Since the end of FNCS Season X, here are the prize pools of each subsequent flagship competition:
- FNCS Chapter 2 - Season 1 - $4.013 million
- FNCS Chapter 2 - Season 2 - $5.036 million
- FNCS Invitational - $2 million
- FNCS Chapter 2 - Season 3 - $5 million
- FNCS Chapter 2 - Season 4 - $4.981 million
These numbers offer some semblance of stability, but it's also worth mentioning that three of the five competitions split the prize pool between console and PC players. FNCS Season X, Chapter 2 - Season 1 and the FNCS Invitational are the only competitions exclusive to PC. It's a controversy that multiple top competitors have spoken about. Their perception and entitlement revolve around the idea that console players should receive a much smaller piece of the allotted cash flow. Whether half the proceeds go to console or not, Epic-sanctioned prize pools remain consistently in the millions.
Cash Cup prize pools are a bit more difficult to track due to the volume of events and regions involved. But it seems the developers made an executive decision to trim the money given to Cash Cups and also reduce the number of tournaments this season. Season 5's Cash Cup prize pool revelation sparked a significant outcry on Twitter for Epic Games to start caring about Fortnite and its competitive community.
Pro Players React to Prize Pool Plummet
least amount of tournaments we have ever had with the least amount of money, with the game being the least fun as i can remember 😢
— benjyfishy (@benjyfishy) January 10, 2021
Benjyfishy, a professional Fortnite player for NRG Esports, was one of the countless others to give their take on the game's current situation.
"least amount of tournaments we have ever had with the least amount of money, with the game being the least fun as i can remember," he wrote on Twitter. Benjy is one of the pillars in competitive Fortnite, who competes in the most challenging region and streams to tens of thousands of viewers. He's experienced a fair share of success in his career. Benjy qualified for the solo and duo Fortnite World Cup Finals and is a five-time Fortnite Champion Series finalist.
It's alarming to see a player with such outstanding accolades speak out against Epic's intentions. "... with prize pools constantly getting less and less its gonna be even harder for unknown players to start making a living out of the game which will eventually make them want to stop playing and the comp scene will slowly start dying out if it carries on," continued Benjy on Twitter. He believes the element of growth and exposure will decline steadily alongside the allocated cash to tournaments. Despite stating his optimism for competitive Fortnite in 2021, his tone quickly changed.
Prize pool discussions occur almost every season, but this feels a bit different. Trio Cash Cups in Season 5 run bi-weekly and still offer significantly less money than anyone can recall. What's more, Epic announced the continuation of gimmicky Limited Time Mode (LTM) tournaments and "Bragging Rights" competitions, which offer only Twitter shoutouts to victorious teams. This general feeling of unease leaves players wondering what Epic has in store for this season's FNCS. However, this hasn't stopped players from pleading and giving the developers advice on how they can right the ship.
Also Read: Highest Earning Fortnite Players of 2020
Is Crowdfunding a Viable Option?
Hey @FortniteGame if you crowd funded a small % from every battle pass to the Prize pool, we could have real tourneys that people are interested in watching. No one cares who got first place in a vbucks tourney. Dota 2 - 34million. Fortnite - box of cupcakes.
— FaZe Nate Hill (@NateHillTV) January 10, 2021
Competitive Fortnite "OG" and FaZe Clan member Nate Hill conjured up a simple plan for Epic Games to increase prize pools. "Hey @FortniteGame if you crowd funded a small % from every battle pass to the Prize pool, we could have real tourneys that people are interested in watching. No one cares who got first place in a vbucks tourney. Dota 2 - 34million. Fortnite - box of cupcakes," he wrote on Twitter.
The shade he threw at Epic is noticeable, but it's also not a bad idea. Dota 2 has proven that crowdfunding works. The game's yearly "The International" competition features a small portion of money from Valve's pocket, whereas the rest comes from crowdfunding via Dota 2's Battle Pass. Players gain incentives and the Battle Pass acts as a virtual program for the year's biggest event. A whopping 25% of each purchase goes directly to The International's prize pool, which just surpassed $40 million.
FNCS Prizepool hasn't even been announced and people are already tweeting Make FN comp great again LOL
— Reiss 🏴 (@Reisshub) January 10, 2021
It's no secret that Fortnite: Battle Royale is still a cash cow. Millions continue to play the game, and it remains one of the most viewed on Twitch. Although its initial boom in popularity has slowed a bit, the competitive scene keeps a generous portion interested in Fortnite. The competitive scene tends to overreact to prize pools and tournaments that don't suit them. Regardless, Epic Games is still putting up insane amounts of money for Fortnite competitions and the Cash Cup situation might be a small departure from what players experienced in the past.
Perhaps we should reserve judgment until Epic reveals the prize pool for FNCS Chapter 2 - Season 5, which kicks off on February 4. Until then, let's take a page out of Fortnite commentator Reisshub's book and play the waiting game.
Stay tuned to ESTNN and we will keep you caught up on all of the happenings in Fortnite.