If you can’t make an educated guess as to who the winner of a sports match will be, you’re better off trying your luck on the roulette wheel. For a video game to become the subject of gambling it should first be an eSport with tracked statistics. Fortnite gained a lot of interest lately. With at least 45 million players and over 3 million concurrent users at the time of writing, this game has attracted a plethora of competitive gamers. Everyone’s question is, will this be the next big eSport?
With any game, possibly the most controversial topic is whether or not it’s a valid candidate for competitive play. As soon as the game began to kick off, there was a constant debate as to whether or not Fortnite would get involved in eSports, and nobody could say for certain. On one hand, it was an original game with a massive skill-gap. On the other hand, it’s a battle royale game which causes a lot of problems.
Normally, any game with a broad skill-gap will incentivize competitive play. This is primarily because of the desires of both the players and the company backing the game. Whenever a player gets extremely skilled at a game that’s hard to get good at, they want to turn it into a possible career, similar to someone who’s naturally gifted at sports, chess, or otherwise. This leads to a huge push from the player base to competitive gaming. The company who’s built the game desires for it to become competitive as well, as that can gain a lot of publicity and monetary gain for the game.
On the other hand, there are definitely flaws in this specific game becoming an eSport. It’s a battle royale game, meaning that you land in a large map with 96-99 other players, and the winner is the last man standing. Randomness is heavily involved from the damage weapons deal to what items will spawn where you go. Also, there are a lot of other players not including the other team you’re faced with, so that’s another thing that’ll interfere. I can’t begin to imagine how they could organize competitive play for a game like this, but the benefits outweigh the problems. The number of players demanding it is impossible to ignore, and the benefits the company can get through it are even harder to ignore, which is why it’s clearly happening.
Whether it’s a good idea or not, Epic Games has smashed all previous games’ investments toward eSports by dedicating $100,000,000 USD in prize money for 2018’s competitive Fortnite season. Every single other game company added together in 2017’s competitive play investment only adds up to 96,000,000, so this game alone has encapsulated ALL of them added together in their first year involved on the competitive scene. I can’t say what I expect we’re in for with a pro scene for this major league game, but I can say one thing for certain: it’s going to be interesting, and it’s going to advance the relevance for competitive video gaming in ways we never could’ve predicted for the following years.