‘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.

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“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.