Epic Games has barred Russian residents from cash tournaments.
Russian Fortnite players were dealt a proverbial dagger to the heart earlier today following a tweet and blog post by Epic Games. While the developers provided no specific reason, they decided to bar the country from competing in “cash tournaments.” It was a sudden move and one that shook the European scene at its core.
Epic removed the tweet and blog post shortly after they went live, only to post again. It’s now official—Russia is forbidden from participating in Cash Cups, the Fortnite Champion Series (FNCS) and all tournaments where money is on the line.
Epic Bans Russian from Fortnite Tournaments
The previously deleted tweet resurfaced later in the evening with a link to the overarching blog post. Epic said it would block Russia from participating in monetary tournaments beginning March 11. The statement reads:
“Effective as of March 11, Russia will be added to the list of countries that are ineligible to participate in Fortnite Competitive tournaments with cash prizes. Players residing in Russia will still be able to compete in non-cash tournaments and earn in-game cosmetic prizes.”
Epic Games’ decision fell in line with many other gaming companies that severed ties with Russia. However, this likely is not a political statement. Epic continued, advising Russian players to claim recent prize winnings before March 22. Otherwise, the developers would freeze payments until further notice.
“If cash prizes remain unclaimed after March 22, 2022, they will be frozen until Epic’s payment service provider is able to resume prizing support for players residing in Russia.”
Considering Epic’s statement failed to reference Ukraine, it was presumably out of the company’s hands.
Top Russian Players React
Standout Russian player Malibuca, who competes under TT9 Esports, responded with utter disbelief. He and his Duo partner Merstach were among the best teams in Chapter 3 Season 1.
Another top Russian — Putrick of Cyber Legacy — questioned whether this would mark the end of his career after four years playing Fortnite.
Finally, Ukrainian player Nikita "Stormyrite" Kulak tweeted that he’s looking for a new teammate. He and his Russian Duo partner Kirill "Kiryache32" Grishin recently finished second in FNCS Chapter 3 Season 1. Unfortunately, it seems Kiryache and thousands of others will have to put their careers on hold unless they move to another country.
Relocate or Wait?
Unlike recent statements from BLAST and ESL, Epic did not mention the ongoing war in Ukraine. It seems this decision occurred due to recent sanctions on Russia. Either way, Fortnite players within Russia are in a predicament.
Many of these top players have dedicated the last four years to rising the ranks. They’ll now have to move to another country or wait until Epic lifts the ban.
We’ll be sure to update this story if anything further develops.
Featured Image: Epic Games