How do you turn the most popular battle royale game into an e-sport? Epic Games announced they were investing $100 million into making an e-sport out of Fortnite. Over two months, they planned to award $8 million in weekly tournaments, with each tournament having a different format. Fortnite‘s Summer Skirmish series started Saturday July 14th, and it had problems from the start. Summer Skirmish started off with a duos tournament consisting of 35 teams of pros, streamers, and top performers from the Showdown game mode.
The first Summer Skirmish rules were simple. The 35 teams would compete in 10 matches, and the first team to get two victories would be named the winners and automatically win first prize of $50,000. If no one was able to win two matches and every match ended with a unique winner, then the team with the most kills would take home the top prize. Also to promote action, Epic would award $6,500 to the team with the most eliminations after each game. If teams tied for most eliminations, the prize would be split.
While great simple rules on paper, in practice not so much. First there were lag problems. The tournament was held on North American servers, which caused issues for the international players who were invited to participate. The lag was so horrible for some players they were eliminated before they could do anything. Secondly, it was slightly boring. This was not the Fortnite Pro-Am. This was not just watching your favourite streamer run around Tilted Towers and farm up kills. Putting this many good players in a game and telling them to win the match and get $50,000, action will likely be few and far between. Even with the most elimination prize, teams played cautious and only fought when necessary. Which you would think would be the ideal way to play a game where the last one standing wins, but not when you’re trying to make it exciting for viewers.
With so many of these issues, the tournament ended after only four matches, and a winner was chosen. Kevin “Kevie1” Bed and his partner, NotVivid were declared the victors of Summer Skirmish number one. Congratulations to them.
Thanks to all the participants we had out in the first week of #SummerSkirmish! We'll be using different formats each week.
We're looking into improving server performance and ironing out issues as well. You can see the final results for Week 1 here: https://t.co/EGhCop4XGM
— Fortnite (@FortniteGame) July 14, 2018
One bad event like this is not going to hurt Epic Games, or slow down the Summer Skirmish. Epic needed “set backs” like this to help them improve in the future. In 2012, Riot Games League of Legends World Championship quarterfinals were delayed due to server issues, and was one of the most awkward situations in e-sports history. Within multiple games all 10 players disconnected, causing the matches to be remade and ultimately rescheduled due to faulty hardware. This failure assisted Riot into getting better at hosting live events, and making the events some of the biggest e-sports have seen.
Hopefully the upcoming weeks of Summer Skirmish will fix issues and provide slightly more entertainment value. You can watch Summer Skirmish unfold over at Fortnite‘s Twitch channel.
Did you watch Fortnite‘s Summer Skirmish? Do you think Epic can fix their issues and make Fortnite into a thriving e-sport? Let us know in the comments.