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Fornite World Cup Shows the Future of eSports

August 6th, 2019 by Marc Comments

The gaming industry is constantly evolving, and adapting to consumer habits. From Sony charging players to play online in 2013 to the increasing number of internet exclusive games, online gaming has come to dominate the industry. And the biggest impact has been the rise of eSports.

Over the past few years, eSports has quickly evolved from a niche corner of the gaming industry to a lucrative global business. This is evident through tournaments such as the recently concluded Fortnite World Cup. The scale of the tournament shows us just how big the future of eSports could get.

The finals of the Fortnite World Cup were held over three days at New York’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. An estimated 40 million of Fortnite’s 250 million plus registered players competed in online qualifying games for 10 weeks and only the top 200 made it to New York. The finalists hailed from 34 different countries.

Sold-out crowds then watched as Kyle Giersdorf (aka Bugha) won $3 million (£2.47 million) during the competition’s solo finals. This was just a small portion of the prizes doled out, with the tournament giving away a staggering total of $30 million (£24.7 million). On the final Sunday, every player that made it to that stage took home $50,000 (£41,308) apiece. For context, this is the same amount a first-round loser would get at the U.S. Open that is also held in the stadium. Of course, these prizes are likely to increase as eSports becomes more lucrative. Just last year alone, Fortnite made $2.4 billion (£1.98 billion) in revenue.

Indeed, the Fortnite World Cup is just one of many massive tournaments that show us just how big eSports has now become. In a definitive guide to eSports by Ladbrokes, they note how the number of tournaments has increased from 10 in 2000 to 3,765 in 2017. These tournaments, such as the Defence of the Ancients 2 International, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and League of Legends, further emphasise eSports’ growth. A report by The Independent on the upcoming FIFA eWorld Cup details how its 2019 edition is expected to be its biggest yet, with FIFA estimating upwards of 30 million viewers tuning in.

The size and prize money of the tournaments has led many to label eSports as a sport in its own right. It’s already been confirmed as a medal sport for the 2022 Asian Games, with some speculating that being added to the Olympics program is the next logical step. Voices in the industry say that eSports’ inclusion would actually be doing a favour to the IOC by helping them reach out to a younger demographic, and not the other way around.

The reality is that eSports now commands an audience and business arguably large enough to rival that of traditional sports. Given the examples above, the expansion of eSports into more mainstream stages seems to be not a matter of if, but rather when.

Marc is a self-confessed nerd. Ever since seeing Star Wars for the first time around 1979 he’s been an unapologetic fan of the Wars and still believes, with Clone Wars and now Underworld, we are yet to see the best Star Wars. He’s a dad of two who now doesn’t have the time (or money) to collect the amount of toys, comics, movies and books he once did, much to the relief of his long-suffering wife. In the real world he’s a graphic designer. He started Following the Nerd because he was tired of searching a million sites every day for all the best news that he loves and decided to create one place where you can go to get the whole lot. Secretly he longs to be sitting in the cockpit of his YT-1300 Corellian Transport ship with his co-pilot Chewie, roaming the universe, waiting for his next big adventure, but feels just at home watching cartoons with his kids….