‘Fortnite’ will award $100 million in prizes this year, but some pro players say that’s not enough to keep them motivated

Epic Games is offering a generous prize pool for competitive

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Epic Games is offering a generous prize pool for competitive “Fortnite,” but money wont solve every problem.
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Epic Games

  • “Fortnite” creator Epic Games has promised $100 million in prize money for the game’s current competitive season.
  • The Fortnite World Cup is currently giving away $1 million a week with its online qualifiers, but professional ‘Fortnite’ players are expressing frustration with the game.
  • “Fortnite” is the most popular game in the world with more than 250 million registered players and weekly updates.
  • Epic Games said it plans to stabilize the game’s competitive format ahead of the Fortnite World Cup Finals in July.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Epic Games has promised to award $100 million in prizes for competitive “Fortnite” events this year, including a $40 million prize pool for the first annual “Fortnite World Cup” this summer. But despite generous financial support, many of the best “Fortnite” players are unhappy with the game.

Influential streamers like Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and Turner “Tfue” Tenney have expressed frustration with “Fortnite’s” recent updates. Ninja called on Epic Games to fix the game’s competitive balance, while Tfue said he plans to quit the game after the Fortnite World Cup is over.

With up to 100 players competing against each other in any given match, “Fortnite: Battle Royale” is often defined by chaos. Even so, the game’s best players can still earn consistent results with a mix of experience, building strategy, and quick reactions. But Epic Games also updates “Fortnite” every week with balance changes, new weapons, and other changes, making it more and more difficult for the players to adapt.

The pressure to stay on top has some players threatening to quit the game entirely. After launching in September 2017, “Fortnite” has grown into the most popular game in the world with more than 250 million registered players. While the game has been hosted at a variety of esports events, the rules of competitive “Fortnite” have been in a state of constant flux.

Read more: The creator of ‘Fortnite’ has banned more than 1,000 accounts for cheating during the first round of its $30 million tournament

On April 28, a pair of “Fortnite” players won a $6,000 prize at the Collegiate Starleague Finals, but after the tournament, they said that they plan to quit playing the game. During their post-win interview, University of Georgia students Jack Stuttard and Ibrahim Diaz said Epic’s balance changes had influenced their decision to move on.

“We don’t really like the game that much anymore, not gonna lie, we’ll see what happens,” Stuttard said on stage in Atlantic City. “Epic is really messing around with the way they’re balancing everything.”

Diaz added, “We decided we don’t want to play competitive Fortnite anymore, so we’re going to move on to different games or just different stuff.”

Competitive players aren’t happy about the timing of updates to “Fortnite”

Competitive “Fortnite” players have been particularly vocal about the game’s balance as the Fortnite World Cup gets underway. The event has a $40 million prize pool, and is awarding $1 million per week to players during the online qualifying rounds. Players have criticized Epic’s willingness to make big updates to “Fortnite” right before high stakes competitions, while known issues and bugs go unchanged.

Atop the list of controversial “Fortnite” changes is a featured called siphon. Siphon lets players recover health, shields, and building materials when they successfully eliminate another player. An update released on February 19th made siphon a standard part of battle royale, rewarding skilled players for recording multiple kills and playing aggressively.

However, a patch released on March 26th removed siphon from the standard battle royale mode and added it to a new game type called arena. Some top players felt forced to play the new mode if they wanted to play aggressively, since it’s harder to survive without the health recovery from siphon. While popular streamers spent weeks asking Epic to bring back siphon, the company is standing by the change.

Epic Games spent five weeks collecting data on how the siphon changes influenced the standard battle royale and found that siphon was discouraging the vast majority of people who already struggle to keep up with the best players.

“Players at large grew more frustrated with ‘Fortnite’ play, feeling they had less of a chance due to encounters with high-skill players with full health and shields,” Epic said in a statement on competitive balance. “Ultimately, Siphon increased engagement for the highest-skilled 10%, while the remaining 90% were more frustrated and played less.”

Epic said it will continue to try and fix known issues with “Fortnite,” and hopes to stabilize the game’s balance prior to the Fortnite World Cup Finals in July.

While Epic has shown that it’s willing to provide plenty of financial support to competitive “Fortnite,” the company still has to find a way to satisfy the competitive community. Epic has shown that they are willing to move and adapt quickly, but finding the right blend of casual fun and competitive balance might take a more guided, delicate hand.