Epic Games lifted the lid on its Fortnite competition plans Wednesday, and it means big prizes for the best players. The company has given more details about its previously-announced plan to offer $100 million to the best players as part of a World Cup, transforming the game into one of the biggest esports competitions in the world.
“This is for you, the players,” K. L. Smith, community manager for Epic Games, said in the announcement video. “Qualifying for the Fortnite World Cup will be based on merit, and Epic will not be selling teams or franchises, and we won’t be allowing third-party leagues to do so either.”
The company plans to support community organized events to allow anyone to win and rise to the top, a marked change from many esports competitions where entry is limited. Qualifying rounds for the Fortnite World Cup will start in the fall of this year, and will end with the Fortnite World Cup in late 2019.
The prize money, announced last month, will be split between a number of events at various competitions worldwide, across a variety of levels. The World Cup will focus on Solos and Duos, but there’s also the chance for further collaboration in other competitive areas.
Fortnite’s most recent announcement shows the company is getting serious about raising the stakes for the game. This year’s Overwatch league season will see a comparatively small cash prize pot of just $3.5 million, while the highly lucrative Dota 2 competitions last year only hit around $38 million.
The announcement follows this week’s pro-am competition at the E3 2018 conference in Los Angeles, California, where Epic Games mixed pro players with celebrities in the battle royale mode. The match saw over 600,000 people watching on video game streaming site Twitch, with more watching in the live audience at the Banc of California stadium.
The ultimate winner of the E3 match was Ninja and Christopher Comstock, or DJ “Marshmello” that competed with his helmet on. The pair won $1 million for a charity of their choice and a golden pick axe. Ninja decided to give his $500,000 to the Alzheimer’s Association. In total, the competition saw $3 million up for grabs.
Finer details about the World Cup rules, code of conduct for players, platform specifics and other details on the fall schedule are set to arrive soon.