Fortnite will be making its best players wealthy in 2019. Developer Epic Games announced the details for its upcoming Fortnite World Cup, revealing that the tournament series will have $100 million put into its prize pool for its 2019 season alone, spread across multiple tournament settings.
The Fortnite World Cup has been an eagerly anticipated announcement from Epic Games. Fortnite has been so individually successful that it has allowed its developers to launch their own digital distribution service in the Epic Store, and that kind of venture requires capital that most games can only dream of generating. That Epic Games can afford to support such a lucrative tournament series while simultaneously growing a fledgling new distribution project is yet another indicator of the position of power the developer is working from.
The Fortnite World Cup, officially announced by Epic Games earlier today, will begin its play in ten weekly Online Open qualifiers that begin mid-April and end mid-June. Each of those weekly tournaments will have $1 million in their prize pools, with a payout system that is described by Epic Games as being "distributed broadly." Then, the top 100 Solo players and the top 50 Duos teams from around the world will be invited to the Fortnite World Cup Finals in New York City in late July, with a staggering $30 million in prizes available.
Every player who participates in the Fortnite World Cup will be guaranteed at least $50,000 just for attending, while the Solo Champion is guaranteed a cool $3 million. That immediately makes Fortnite one of the most lucrative esports careers to pursue, rivalling games that have had to spend years building themselves up to those kinds of prizes. The closest points of comparison are MOBA giants League of Legends and Dota 2, though the latter's biggest tournament relies on fan support to generate a large chunk of its prize pool.
The Fortnite World Cup announcement couldn't come at a better time for the game, either. Though it has persisted as the de facto best battle royale experience for pretty well all of 2018, an early contender to the throne arose this year in the form of Apex Legends. While that game has generated significant fan interest and has boasted a rate of growth that surpassed even Fortnite at the same point in time, it's unlikely that Apex Legends developer Respawn Entertainment has the capital to offer a tournament series of this magnitude.
Money talks, and if the draw of one of the most mouth-watering prize pools in esports history is enough to make Fortnite the most popular among competitive players and streamers, then Epic Games will have pulled a major coup and possibly squashed any hope of real competition in the interim. We'll find out just how big a draw a $100 million prize pool is when qualifiers begin on April 13.
Source: Epic Games