‘Fortnite’ maker to award $100M in prizes for pro tournaments

“Fortnite” maker Epic Games on Monday said it would provide $100 million toward tournament prize pools for the first year of the popular survival game’s competitive e-sports league.

“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,” Epic Games said in a blog post. “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 game developer has yet to provide a specific launch date for its e-sports league, other than to say that its first year of competitive play would function as its 2018-2019 season. Epic Games said it will provide “more details about competitive structures and eligible platforms in the weeks ahead.”

Epic Games’ $100 million in tournament prizes would establish Fortnite as one of the most lucrative e-sports in the world. Variety reports that “Dota 2” and “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive,” two of the most popular titles among professional gamers, respectively offered an estimated $38 million and $19 million in tournament prizes in 2017.

Fortnite has exploded in popularity since its launch on various video game platforms in July 2017. The game drops players into a “sandbox” environment to battle until one team or player remains. It ranked as the most popular free-to-play console game of all time as of March, according to market research firm SuperData, generating $223 million in revenue in that month alone.

E-sports leagues and events will attract an estimated 380 million total viewers and an estimated $906 million in overall revenue in 2018, according to market research firm Newzoo.