Fortnite Esports Fell $154 Million Below Expectations In 2019

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Fortnite Esports Fell $154 Million Below Expectations In 2019

Epic’s ongoing court case revealed some worrying details regarding Fortnite Esports.

The Epic Games vs. Apple antitrust lawsuit rages on, and both leakers and the general public have gleaned exciting tidbits of information from the proceedings. Some of which included unfathomable crossovers with A-list athletes and celebrities while others revolved around video game and movie-related collaborations. However, it was not all sunshine and rainbows, unfortunately.

For Fortnite esports, it’s been a wild journey. One report from the legal proceedings revealed a concerning revenue loss in 2019. In that year, Epic Games held the game’s pinnacle Fortnite World Cup event, which boasted a $30M USD prize pool, accessible to players worldwide. Court documents from the antitrust lawsuit disclosed a $154M USD loss that year. The information is somewhat vague, but it’s certainly concerning and could be why Epic Games is pulling back its financial investment in the competitive scene.

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Competitive Fortnite History – A Brief Summary

Bugha raises his arms up to the crowd in celebration after taking a win during the Fortnite Championships in 2019

Fortnite Battle Royale first became competitive in the summer of 2018 with invite-only tournaments before the developers lowered the minimum required age to 13 and making competitions more accessible. Epic Games set a high bar for the scene with multimillion-dollar prize pools when Fortnite was at its peak. The Fortnite World Cup dished out $30M USD. The first-ever Fortnite Champion Series (FNCS) followed with another $10M before Epic began steadily decreasing their investment in the game’s esports environment.

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Decreased Prize Pools Over Time

The purple Fortnite logo depicting the storm appears against a purple and pink background. The words Fortnite Championship Series appears below in bold white font

While prize pools remained in the millions, it was a far cry from what players had come to expect. The ensuing seven FNCS competitions leveled out entirely.

  • 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
  • FNCS Chapter 2 – Season 5: $3 million
  • FNCS Chapter 2 – Season 6: $3 million

Fortnite always prided itself on the life-changing money involved. The inaugural World Cup in 2019 handed out $3M USD to the winning solo Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf and duo partners David “aqua” Wang and Emil “nyhrox” Bergquist Pedersen. All three players instantly became household names in the scene due in part to their earnings. However, those prize pools decreased over time and it was likely a conscious decision from Epic Games.

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The Future

Competitive Fortnite continues to produce stars despite a severe cut in financial backing. The developers still run tournaments like the flagship Fortnite Champion Series with thousands of players involved. Third-party support from DreamHack has also kept Fortnite Esports afloat through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although Epic Games kiboshed the idea of a 2021 World Cup, there will be another eventually. Unfortunately, players may never see another $100M USD investment in competitive Fortnite again based on the financial blunder in 2019.

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Featured Image: Epic Games

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Matt Pryor
Matt is a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University. He appreciates all esports titles but primarily focuses on Fortnite and Call of Duty. Matt continuously analyzes gameplay and plays the games himself to better understand in-game decisions by the best players in the world.