When Epic Games’ Fortnite first came out of the gate in 2018, it became a cultural phenomenon unlike just about anything we had seen before. Children and adults alike were enthralled with the emotes and dances portrayed inside the game. Now, after initially seeding the title with a $100M USD esports event, prize money has come down each year, and with that, some would say the morale of the esports player base.
However, after initially putting $17M into the 2020 Fortnite Champions Series, Epic Games added another $3M for 2021. Prior to the addition of the $3M in funds to the upcoming competitive season, specifically the Fortnite Champions Series, some professionals in the scene had voiced their concerns over what they perceived to be a reduction of prize money (as Epic Games had not formally announced a prize pool for 2021).
Former Cloud9 Fortnite professional player Christian “Criz” Rizk believes that it wasn’t necessarily the addition of funds that he and other players were looking for from Epic, but a showing of understanding about competitive integrity concerns previously brought ti Epic Games’ attention.
“I think the announcement was a really good step forward, especially showing they are banning things like Shockwaves, rift fish, etc.,” Rizk said. “I think the changes are great, but the most important thing to me was the reason for the changes, which they mentioned they wanted to continue to listen to and improve with community feedback on a lot of changes. I think the blog post showed a lot of hope that they could work through their growing pains of the past and hopefully make the future of Fortnite esports better or more transparent.”
One of the most prominent Fortnite coaches in the space, Arab (real name unknown), who has coached many top-level players, agrees.
“Fortnite is headed in the right direction after Epic’s blog post. Sending the game back to a skillful meta that requires actually thinking. Listening to the player’s voices and removing console FNCS is definitely the right move,” Arab said. “I think moving all the money to grand finals is the way it should be, but I think the next step for Epic is giving us a non-money based rank system, a system where people want to grind to be the best not to make the most money.”
So while the $3M addition in funds was important to the players, it wasn’t the most important change players wanted to see. The Fortnite professionals really seem to simply want more of a voice in shaping the Fortnite competitive ecosystem and with this latest from Epic, things seem to be heading in the right direction.