Epic makes ‘Fortnite’ biggest esport in the world with $100 million in prize money

  • On Monday Epic Games announced it will provide $100 million to fund prize pools for "Fortnite" tournaments during the first year of competition.
  • The figure soars past the nearly $38 million in prize money paid out last year for "Dota 2" tournaments.

Epic Games is not fooling around.

The game publisher just made "Fortnite" the biggest global esport by a significant margin in terms of prize money.

On Monday Epic Games announced it will provide $100 million to fund prize pools for "Fortnite" tournaments during the first year of competition.

"Grab your gear, drop in and start training. Since the launch of Fortnite Battle Royale we've watched the passion for community competition grow and can't wait to empower you to battle with the best," the company said in a blog post. "In the 2018 - 2019 season, Epic Games will provide $100,000,000 to fund prize pools for Fortnite competitions. We're getting behind competitive play in a big way, but our approach will be different - we plan to be more inclusive, and focused on the joy of playing and watching the game."

The company said it will reveal more details about the competitions in the coming weeks.

Historically the biggest esport in terms of tournament prize pools was Valve's "Dota 2" game, which paid out about $38 million in total prize money in 2017, according to E-sports Earnings. The International 7 in 2017 or the so-called Dota 2 Championships was the biggest esports prize pool in history at nearly $25 million.

Wall Street and technology veterans are stunned at the size of Epic Games' outlay.

"It's the biggest I've seen ... This is pretty phenomenal. It also speaks to how much they are making from the game," Wedbush gaming analyst Michael Pachter wrote in an email.

Benchmark venture capitalist Bill Gurley said the move was "big" and "bold" on social media.

And another industry analyst confirmed it is now the biggest esports prize pool ever.

"By dedicating $100MM to fund prize pools competitions, Epic has made Fortnite the biggest esports in the world in terms of prize money," SuperData esports analyst Bethany Lyons wrote in an email.

Epic Games introduced a battle-royale mode for "Fortnite" on computers and gaming consoles in September. This mode allows up to 100 online players to violently battle each other to the death until only one player survives. The company revealed in January that the game has been played by more than 45 million people worldwide. It is also consistently the most streamed game on Twitch.

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