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Fortnite Proves That eSports Isn't What We Think It Would Be: Part 2

Coming off of Part 1 of this impromptu series, I'm jumping into Part 2 to briefly examine Fortnite's competitive offerings.

Epic Games' announcement of supporting competitive play in Fortnite.

To be completely honest, competitive Fortnite play is incredibly boring compared to watching top streamers like Ninja or Shroud play comfortably. Pretty bold statement, but you'll see what I mean in a minute. First, let's talk about the money behind the competitive Fortnite scene.

Epic Games, the gaming studio behind Fortnite, has made a huge push to put large sums of prize money for the taking to foster its competitive size.

How much are we talking here? Oh, I don't know, just a casual $100 million.

The giant amount of prize pool money shows how invested they are in developing a healthy and robust competitive scene within the game's community.

Epic Games is putting their money with their mouth is by putting $10 million in the Fall Skirmish, their six-week competitive tournament series throughout autumn. Only the top players are allowed to participate in this invitational tournament, where they'll play through the season and culminate in a great finale at the end.

Clearly, there's plenty at stake here. However, if we actually take a look at the gameplay during these tournaments, you as a spectator aren't being entertained. I've watched some competitive Fortnite with friends, and the style of play is drastically different from regular, high-level yet casual gameplay from top players.

In a tournament, players are incredibly more conservative with their movement and building. They are way less likely to take huge risks that lead to the great moments we all love to see on Fortnite. Why?

There's money on the line this time. Playing without caution is not the best approach to make sure you're the last player standing, whether it be in duos or solo play.

Being a spectator, this makes for an incredibly boring match to watch. The action only begins to increase once the play area is reduced (that means, the circle which the players have to stay within to avoid external damage), so players are forced closer together, ultimately resulting in skirmishes that reduces the total number of players alive.

Compared to casual gameplay where there's nothing at stake, competitive Fortnite is rather boring and uneventful.

However, this might not be Fortnite's fault. The truth is that the battle royal shooting genre itself may not be suited to competitive gameplay. (Read this Forbes article (not mine) for a great breakdown as to why that might be the case.)

I would go deeper into this, but I need to get back to getting out the final Forbes stories for this month. Definitely a topic for another time.


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