As if the Fortnite World Cup weren't already enough of a hot mess, things have apparently been even further marred by players cheating with one another in what developer Epic Games is ruling as collusion. The latest in a string of failures both on the part of competitors and Epic, it's really starting to seem that the Fortnite World Cup Online Opens (and, in all honesty, the entire competition) was a bad idea.
Starting back in mid-April, Fortnite kicked off its inaugural World Cup, an online competition that's supposed to culminate in summertime Finals with a record-breaking $30 million prize pool on the line. The first leg of this tournament consists of the weekly Online Opens, in which skilled players are given the opportunity to win cash prizes from smaller prize pools and earn a place in the Finals. While this sounds like a cool concept on paper, in reality it's over-reliant on the honesty of its amateur competitive community. Epic knows it has a slowly stagnating game on its hands, and that's why they're scrambling to keep pros and streamers interested, but their over-regulation of standard play and failure to add basic features like custom games so that players can actually practice isn't helping things.
Epic can now add organized illegal play to its list of Fortnite esports woes, as the developer has retroactively discovered that a group of players were colluding with one another in order to boost each other's overall weekly score. In a May 1 update, Epic confirmed that these players "attempted to undermine the [competition] on April 28 by colluding across several matches." The developer is punishing these players by handing out two-week suspensions and rendering them ineligible to collect on any prizes from the period during which they were found to be colluding. Epic also notes, "This group also included a player whose score would have qualified them for the Fortnite World Cup finals in New York," concluding that this player's spot in the tournament is now open to a more worthy player.
Compounded by the player-leeching success of Apex Legends, Epic is in an all-around tough situation with Fortnite at the moment. Though its popularity with children and a slowly dwindling number of streamers is still more or less secure, the developer is having a difficult time appeasing both groups simultaneously. This was best exemplified by the controversy surrounding Epic's decision to remove the hardcore crowd-favorite siphoning mechanic from all modes but Arena upon lack of interest from casual players. If Epic can't please the streamers and pros among its player base, then it won't be a wonder when more hiccups arise on the path to the World Cup Finals.
Right now, Epic Games is struggling with Fortnite publicly to hold onto all segments of its playerbase, and the company's even more notoriously struggling internally with abusive work practices in its efforts to pump out the content that keeps those players coming back. It's not likely that the sloppy Fortnite World Cup will be the straw that breaks the camel's back, but at some point something is going to give with the battle royale hit if Epic doesn't change course quickly.
Source: Epic Games