And it's on.
On Friday, Epic Games kicked off their six week Fortnite Fall Skirmish series, with the world's top players competing for a $10 million prize pool. The eight-figure purse eclipses the game publisher's previous $8 million haul, with the invitational tournament pitting the best Fortnite players in the world against one another in a new club-based format. The event will culminate with a grand final in late October at TwitchCon.
For industry experts and those involved in competitive Fortnite, the burgeoning prize pool and events of the last few months are a sign of bigger things to come for Epic Games and its esports ambitions, especially with online sports leagues growing rapidly.
The battle royale game has taken the world by storm this year, with Epic Games stating back in June that Fortnite had exceeded over 125 million players worldwide. Its popularity quickly led to the establishment of multiple independently-run competitive events, with the most well-known being the "Friday Fortnite" series run by YouTube star Daniel "Keemstar" Keem.
The numbers do not lie. Keem, for example, tweeted in early June that almost 9 million unique viewers tuned in to Friday Fortnite's fourth week across both Twitch and YouTube Gaming. Data from gaming research firm Newzoo showed that viewers watched close to 542,000 total hours of Keem's competitive series.
Fortnite Summer Skirmish, Epic Games' first tournament, clocked a total of almost 8.5 million hours watched from mid-July to early September. The competition final was held at the annual PAX West conference in Seattle, during the Labor Day weekend, where the single event accounted for $1.5 million of the initial $8 million prize pool.