What We Learned From The Fortnite World Cup
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images
The Fortnite World Cup has come and gone. After three action-packed days of llamas, hot drops, and victory royales, the champions of solos and duos have been crowned. With the event now behind us, let’s take a look at what we’ve learned.
Epic Knows How to Put On an Event
One of the biggest questions surrounding the World Cup would be the extent to which Epic would take things seriously. Many people were concerned we’d see more of the issues that plagued events in the past. Patches dropping mid-tournament, connection issues, and cheating all spring to mind. However, none of that occurred at the World Cup and Epic walked the line between serious and silly.
With the stage built to look like it had been assembled in the final circle, Epic managed to avoid creating a stuffy or overly serious atmosphere. They allowed for some fun events with the creative tournament and the Pro-Am, then let the best in the world do what they do in the main events. Overall, a strong show from Epic.
The Youth Movement is On
One thing that cannot be denied is that the younger competitors came to play at the World Cup. While some of the biggest names in Fortnite were on hand, there was actually surprisingly few in the main event. Short of names like TFue, a lot of the well known streamers were relegated to the pro-am, the creative tournament, or the casting desk.
Of the major names that did compete, the results weren’t the best. It was a day to forget for TFue, who finished in 67th. He was eliminated early on in most matches, only managing a few kills overall. The winners of the tournaments however were dominated by young competitors.
In the solo event, it was Bugha who won $3 million USD. He got off to a strong start, taking 9 eliminations and first place in the first match of the day. Meanwhile, in the duos tournament, it was Aqua and Nhyrox from Europe who each take home $1.5 million USD. At 17 and 16 years old respectively, the youth movement is in full swing for Fortnite.
Viewership is Strong
I’m torn on how I feel about the viewership surrounding the Fortnite World Cup. Arthur Ashe Stadium was pretty full on Sunday, but crowds on Friday and even Saturday seemed sparse. That seems to be a common trend in battle royale games, which can struggle for in person attendance until the last day.
On the digital side, viewership was pretty strong. Across multiple Twitch Channels, the viewership on Sunday was just short of 1.3 million. Counterstrike holds the record for most concurrent viewers on a single channel, and in fact they hold the top 8 slots in that category. Fortnite failed to best their own personal best, which was set during the Pro Am last year.
It’s not that these numbers aren’t impressive, in fact, they’re amazing for a battle royale game. The problem is that Fortnite is such a cultural phenomenon, and had so much money put into it, that expectations were very high. I had thought this event would rival any esports event ever broadcast, and it didn’t quite live up to that expectation.
The Future of Fortnite Looks Bright
Fortnite esports has a bright future ahead of it. This event was a major test for Epic to see how much they had learned in their inaugural year of esports events. As it turns out, quite a bit. They’ve clearly learned the value of holding LAN events versus online. They’ve seen that implementing patches mid-tournament is a boneheaded idea. And they’ve seen that you can treat your game seriously without stifling its light-heartedness. These are all important lessons that will serve Epic well in the future. I for one am eager to see what the next year will hold for Fortnite esports.
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