Why ESPN Chose 'Apex Legends' for the X Games Instead of 'Fortnite'

'Fortnite' just isn't extreme enough.

A screenshot of three customized characters from the game Apex Legends
Respawn Entertainment

Only the most hardcore experiences can be included in the infamous X Games, an annual extreme sports competition featuring events in areas like skateboarding, BMX freestyle, and now Apex Legends. Some people out there don’t think Fortnite is extreme enough, and we couldn’t agree more.

ESPN announced Thursday that an Apex Legends competition would be a part of the 2019 X Games. The so-called “EXP Invitational qualifiers” will kickoff online on Saturday, June 29 for Apex Legends teams in North America, Europe, and Australia/New Zealand. The 20 qualifying teams will then compete in the official 2019 X Games in Minneapolis from August 2-3 for their share of the $150,000 prize pool.

Esports video game competitions are a rarity at the X Games, with the first instance happening in 2014 with Call of Duty. Needless to say, only the most hardcore competitive video games can make an appearance at the X Games, so it makes sense why ESPN would choose Apex Legends and not Fortnite.

Combat in Apex Legends feels similar to Call of Duty and even more like Titanfall, another first-person shooter franchise from Respawn Entertainment. Apex technically takes place in the same universe as the Titanfall games, but there aren’t that many reminders of that connection in-game. All of these games go for realism in sci-fi environments, even when characters get magical powers allowing them to teleport or advanced technology that can create hologram duplicates.

Fortnite might be way more popular than Apex Legends, but Epic’s battle royale is childish and ridiculous by comparison. The magical building mechanics add an interesting dynamic to combat encounters, but between that and the mediocre gunplay, Fortnite just isn’t a polished competitive game. Epic Games seems to care more about creating a fun, silly, and engaging experience for casual players. There’s a disconnect between that and the competitive esports scene, which frustrates the professional players drawn to Epic Games’ massive prize pools.

Both of these battle royale games are fun, but to oversimplify it, Fortnite is for kids and Apex Legends is for people that are more extreme than that. ESPN has officially recognized that publicly, so it’s about time the rest of us did too.

Sign up by June 28 right here to participate in the qualifiers.

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