$100 million prize show eSports is the real deal

Epic Games has announced it will provide $100 million to fund prize pools for Fortnite competitions, an eye-watering amount of cash to demonstrate the rapid emergence of eSports.

Managing the increasingly intensive flow of data across a network is a tricky task nowadays, and that’s even before technologies like virtual reality and autonomous vehicles become a certainty. eSports is a cog in the machine which doesn’t seem to be taken too seriously as of yet, but $100 million from Epic Games demonstrates the segment is rapidly gaining traction in the world of normality.

“Grab your gear, drop in and start training. Since the launch of Fortnite Battle Royale we’ve watched the passion for community competition grow and can’t wait to empower you to battle with the best,” the company wrote on its blog.

“In the 2018 – 2019 season, Epic Games will provide $100,000,000 to fund prize pools for Fortnite competitions. We’re getting behind competitive play in a big way, but our approach will be different – we plan to be more inclusive, and focused on the joy of playing and watching the game.”

While many would brush the geeks aside, do so at your peril. Unlike many of the top-titles in the eSports arena, Fortnite goes beyond the PC platform onto mobile. It is the exception as it stands, but this is a trend which we are likely to see a lot more of over the coming years as unlimited data plans become more common and device specs improve. What is also clear is the strain on the network will also become a lot more tense.

Single player formats have decreased in popularity in recent years, though these games are much more common on mobile. On the traditional gaming platforms, multi-player formats are much more common nowadays, and this trend should be expected to migrate onto mobile as well. Before too long, eSports could be considered one of the biggest strains on the network.

Tencent is a company which has recognised the potential of this segment and the Epic Games business, having purchased 48.4% of the business in 2012 and announcing a further $15 million investment for on esports, marketing and infrastructure in China. Fortnite will get a notable push in the country, but its popularity is already evident worldwide. Epic Games announced in January 45 million people had already played the game. Alongside Epic Games, Tencent also has ownership stakes in Riot Games, Activision-Blizzard and Ubisoft.

MNOs already have a lot to think about, but this is a factor which should not be ignored. eSports are no longer for geeks, and it is destined for mobile.