Sometimes to solve a problem, you throw money at it. And to make Fortnite stick as an esport, Epic is throwing a lot of money around.
The makers of the Unreal Engine, Unreal Tournament and Fortnite announced in a short post that the company would be ponying up $US100 million (approx. $131.8 million) over 2018-19 to fund Fortnite's esports ambitions.
In the 2018 - 2019 season, Epic Games will provide $US100,000,000 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.
First of all: it's a ludicrous amount of money. $US100 million is more money than some publishers spend on developing a AAA game. But that's what happens when you tap into mainstream success, and it shows just how successful Fortnite has been.
It also makes you wonder just how far and wide Epic will spread the love. Part of the beauty of a game like this is that it springs up communities all around the world, but offering developer-level support to those communities requires plenty of staff, lots of man hours, and plenty of admin management. Will there be a grants or licensing program? Will Epic go the Overwatch or League route with franchised and a sanctioned league? Or will it adopt the CS:GO model, where Epic lets third-party organisations handle the running of the tournament scene?
The company has announced little so far, but they did very specifically mention "in the weeks ahead". Which sounds an awful lot like E3, if you think about it.