Fortnite World Cup begins with £24m prize money on offer
The first Fortnite World Cup is taking place this weekend, with a handful of British gamers hoping to walk away with some of the 30 million US dollars (£24 million) on offer in prize money.
The three-day event, which opens on Friday, is being held inside the Arthur Ashe tennis stadium in New York which also hosts the final of the US Open.
More than 100 finalists will take part in the event’s various competitions, having been whittled down from around 40 million who attempted to qualify for the tournament and compete for the 3 million US dollar (£2.4 million) top prize.
More than 30 countries will be represented at the finals, which will also feature a duo competition for pairs and a “creative” tournament where teams of four will aim to complete different in-game trials.
The online battle royale game has become a popular culture sensation since its launch two years ago – more than 250 million people have played the game and its in-game celebratory dance moves have been recreated by some of the world’s biggest sports stars.
The popularity of the game has ensured large crowds are expected over the three days, but developer Epic Games has also offered in-game benefits – including exclusive items and the in-game currency known as V-Bucks – to those buying tickets.
However, Fortnite has come under increased scrutiny in recent times with critics questioning its impact on its predominately younger user base.
MPs are currently leading an inquiry into addictive technologies, including looking at video games and in particular their use of loot boxes – paid-for packs of in-game items which are available in Fortnite – which some fear could be used as a gateway to gambling for children.
Paul Leaman, vice-president of gaming accessory firm HyperX, said the size of the Fortnite event is a demonstration of the growth of the video games industry.
He said: “The Fortnite World Cup is a great event to showcase the evolution of the gaming industry. The amount of prize money on offer is a clear indication of how much growth and respect the industry has rightfully gained.
“With events like the Fortnight World Cup, the focus is not solely on the game itself, but it is a platform to showcase the entire gaming ecosystem.
“Gaming peripherals, major sponsors, superstar personalities and the wildly popular battle royale genre will all be in the spotlight during the World Cup – all of which is a major coup for the industry.”