Fortnite’s new tournament bombed – is the game really esports ready?

By now it’s pretty well-known that Fortnite’s makers Epic Games are hosting a tournament and that the prize-pool is worth millions of dollars – 100 million to be exact. People were very impressed but when it was time for the first part of the tournament to start, well, things didn’t go as planned.

The next few weeks were dedicated to a Summer Skirmishes series that would pit streamers and other top players against each other, for a weekly prize of a few hundred thousand dollars. $8 million in total were dedicated to this event series and when the first skirmish happened last week…nobody enjoyed it.Fortnite Patch

Okay, not nobody, but nowhere near as many as expected. The event was a disaster from start to finish. A Duos competition, it was supposed to end when one team achieved two victory royales. Despite this, the event had to be ended after just four games. This was in no small part because of the huge lag that most players experienced. The participants of the event had been pulled from all over the world, whereas the server they played on was NA-based. The games were all but crippled by lag and about as far from fair as it could get.

That much for the poor participants that saw their hopes for a huge prize-pool dashed by lag, but another group suffered too – the observers. Obviously, the event was supposed to gather a large viewership. That’s why high-profile players and streamers participated and why Epic set such a huge amount of cash winnings.

Well, prizes that huge encouraged caution rather than exiting gameplay. While almost every game will have one or two players that will sneak and hide to survive as long as possible, these four matches saw most people do that. Popular streamer Tfue for example, one of the best players in the world, spent almost all of his time hiding.

When one of the best players on the entire planet decides to move from hiding spot to hiding spot and not do much else, well, there is something fundamentally wrong. Most of the time, Fortnite streams are super-fun to watch. After all, there’s action, bright colours and stupidly elaborate buildings.

Fortnite Esports

This was different, and it wasn’t too fun to watch. An event thrown by Ninja a little while ago had him play with some streamers and fans – other players would try to collect a ‘bounty’ on his head. It’s not esports, but it WAS more fun than this, which puts Fornite in an uncomfortable position.

The problem is that too many pro players in one game see everyone playing defensively, with double the players left alive compared to usual at any given point – Epic tried to counteract this by also offering a $6.500 bounty to whatever team got the most kills in every game, but it didn’t work, and we understand why.

After all, would YOU give up on the chance of $250.000 for a measly $6.500? Probably not…