After enduring significant backlash for failing to adequately support the Fortnite competitive community, Epic Games has announced today that it will be offering a $20 million prize pool for the Fortnite Champion Series.
This announcement included a clarification that the $20 million prize pool would be shared evenly between PC and console players as well. The Fortnite Champion Series is the premier Fortnite tournament of the year, oftentimes the only long-term event dedicated towards identifying the best Fortnite players of the year.
Fortnite Champion Series reportedly increases its prize pool from last season
Fortnite drew criticism for its decision to reduce the amount of prize support for most competitive Fortnite events during the announcement earlier this month. This announcement led to many competitive players, and competitive hopefuls, voicing their frustration online, including one previous world champion retiring from the game in protest.
It seems Epic Games heard this backlash and has decided to do something in order to keep competitive players interested in the game. Offering such a large prize pool, and actually increasing it from the previous season, seems to be an effort to win back some of the favor from the competitive community.
Could Epic have planned this from the beginning?
Another possibility is that Epic had already planned to support the Fortnite Champion Series so aggressively. However, had Epic known that they were going to offer a $20 million prize pool for the biggest Fortnite tournament of the year, they would have likely made that announcement around the same time as their previous announcement, to reduce some of the backlash.
With such a large gap of time between the two announcements, it’s more likely that Epic made a calculated decision to increase support for the Fortnite Champion Series after the fact. Regardless of why the decision was reached, it’s good that Epic finally decided to offer the competitive community something.
Why Epic needs to keep the competitive community engaged
The reason why competitive players are important is that these players are often the ones who are much more interested in the game. Competitive players are the ones who discover information about the game, update wikis, make content, and generally build excitement for the game beyond what a marketing team is able to do.
Someone who plays Forntite once a week to relax with friends is probably not going to talk too much about the game, bring it up with new people, or arrange parties to watch major events.
Competitive players go above and beyond. They can sustain a game that is all but dead and they can give a game the push it needs to break into the mainstream in a big way.
Hopefully the recent backlash has at least made that more clear to Epic.