The numbers are encouraging after the FNCS Chapter 2 - Season 5 Finals.
Fortnite Battle Royale is not dead, contrary to popular belief. In its fourth year of release, the game finds ways to innovate and the competitive scene continues to thrive. Teams and individual players are growing with each passing season andg Epic Games has stood behind the competitors despite a volatile post-World Cup era. After the event, Epic created the seasonal Fortnite Champion Series (FNCS), an online competition with consistent multimillion-dollar prize pools. Regardless, the game’s direction was very much in limbo for a while, mainly during Chapter 2 - Season 1 when the developers decided not to host an official broadcast.
That is no longer the case after a strong effort from both Epic and the millions of competitors worldwide in 2020. Four seasons have passed since Chapter 2 - Season 1, and the competitive scene is reaching more eyes than any of the previous FNCS competitions.
FNCS Chapter 2 - Season 5 Finals Peaked at 800k Viewers
Peak concurrent viewers on Twitch for every FNCS in chronological order. pic.twitter.com/xYv4TGiVh2
— Fortnite Competitive Data (@FNCompData) March 15, 2021
Some reassuring statistics followed a weekend full of action in the FNCS Chapter 2 - Season 5 Finals. Thanks to the FNCompData Twitter account, competitive Fortnite fans have a glimpse into the numbers and reach of this season’s most significant tournament. The Grand Finals peaked at over 800k viewers, which is an astounding number, considering the game’s stigma amongst the general gaming audience. The recurring belief that Fortnite cannot be a competitive title does not align with the numbers. While League of Legends and DOTA 2 dominate esports viewership, Fortnite continues to make its mark every season.
Analyzing the Numbers Further
— benjyfishy (@benjyfishy) March 14, 2021
FNCS viewership increased from 497k last season and tripled since the competition initially began in 2019. The viewership figure displayed above accounts for individual player streams, viewing parties and the official broadcast. One of said finalists - Benjy “benjyfishy” Fish - broadcasted the entire thrilling FNCS conclusion in search of his first major tournament victory. According to Twitch Tracker, benjyfishy averaged 85k viewers on day one of the finals and almost 100k viewers on day two. Those viewership numbers are astronomical but expected due to the player’s popularity in the Fortnite realm.
Fortnite’s official broadcast also held its own during the European, NA East and NA West tournament windows. Day one and two saw between 20k and 35k viewers as the game’s three major regions competed for a piece of $3M USD. Although these are lower than Benjy’s broadcast, it speaks to the reach of Fortnite beyond one or two individual players. Fans can tune in to their favorite Fortnite professional’s stream or watch as analysts and casters break down the action.
Fortnite’s Legitimacy & Continuity in 2021
Thank you to those who competed in or watched the Chapter 2 Season 5 FNCS! We can't wait to do it all again starting April 22.
— Fortnite Competitive (@FNCompetitive) March 15, 2021
Epic Games is looking to sustain competitive Fortnite for the entire year. Committing $20M USD to FNCS tournaments and making trios the primary format are signs of reassurance. Additionally, the developers are listening to mindful competitive players and adjusting loot pools adequately. Not many could have imagined where competitive Fortnite would be four years into the game’s life, but the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 have shown promise. Positive trends in viewership will inevitably lead to more players and eyes on Fortnite.
Epic, unfortunately, confirmed that there would be no World Cup this year. Still, there’s a lot of excitement surrounding competitive Fortnite in its current state and there’s a bright future beyond online competitions.