Epic launches their inaugural official esports event, the Fortnite Pro-Am
Epic Games launched its inaugural official esports event, the Fortnite Pro-Am, at the Banc of California stadium yesterday afternoon with Fortnite pros, influencers, NBA stars, musicians, and many more competitors hailing across gamer and pop culture.
Overall, the live experience felt like a love letter to fans of the game, which was probably Epic’s intent. Tickets were distributed by lottery at a humble $10 price point, In-N-Out catered the event and all concessions were free, large props like life-size replica Battle Buses and balloons were well received, and cosplayers were on hand to snag pictures with fans.
Though there were some initial hiccups with delays, first game tracking jitters, and having the live audience sit on the field of the outdoor stadium in the blazing sun at 3 PM, it was an ambitious and promising first flight for an esports with all eyes on it.
Epic also released some key details about Fortnite esports in 2019, including:
- Fortnite has 125 million players (not to be confused with monthly active users)
- Epic characterized events as falling into three major buckets at various levels of competition, all of which they will be supporting with the $100 million esports prize pool subsidies they recently announced:
- Community events, Online events, Major competitions
- Epic was deliberate in stating they were celebrating their community as well as competitive Fortnite, which is a more grassroots-friendly tone than many other publishers have taken
- The Fortnite World Cup, Epic’s signature 2019 esports event, will feature players from around the world but will focus on Solo and Duo play rather than squads
- In perhaps the most eyebrow-raising moment of the announcement, Epic’s K.L. Smith pointedly said Epic’s esports efforts were “for you, the players” with an event “based on merit,” going on to state that Epic will not be selling teams or franchise spots, and will not allow third parties to do so either.
This last detail was the most memorable of the day– it’s been clear for some time that Epic has been charting a course separate from Riot’s LCS and Blizzard’s OWL, but their directness about believing franchising is, at least at this time, not in the best interest of their players is new and surprisingly unequivocal.
Specific details about partners, how majors will be chosen and structured, and more nitty gritty business matters are still not public, but it’s clear that Epic is heavily focused on looking after its players in both words and deeds, isn’t taking itself too seriously, and are looking beyond traditional esports for inspiration.
Fittingly, the Pro Am ended with heavy fan favorite duo Ninja and Marhsmello winning the event in a pulse-pounding finale, capping off a fairy tale-esque prelude to Fortnite esports taking flight.
2018 E3 Overview
Alyssa Sovereign & Cameron Jones•@CatalystSM
The Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3 is going on it’s 24th annual convention. E3 is arguably the largest event in the gaming industry and is known for being the place where the world’s biggest hardware manufacturers, software developers and publishers debut the industries top products that we are all going to be looking forward to using over the next few years. Imagine a convention where innovation meets Comic Con, meets gamer heaven.
The growth of E3 is a great testament to the growth of the gaming and esports industry. Attendance for 2017 was 68,400, a figure that includes the 15,000 public tickets that were sold for the first time in the event’s history. This is up from 50,300 at E3 2016.” Official numbers for 2018 are not in yet but we would bet on another record breaking year.
An important part of the E3 conference for the gaming publishers is to be able to showcase the trailers and highlights for the games they are releasing. The amount of industry announcements that will take place this week alone will set trends that will be influential for years to come. It’s an advantage for the game publishers and makers to have such a mass audience see the trailers for the new games. This allows companies opportunities to try to predict market trends, as they need to figure out ways to keep their games relevant and popular for as long as possible. With so many new games being released within a year it’s also important for the publishers of all sizes to get as many eyes on their product as possible in order to stay competitive in the growing market. Several experts will be in attendance mainly to research how their game will stand against the competition of other genres and developers.
We have an extended list of things we’re hoping to see at E3 2018, such as the newest sponsorship deals, and game features.