For the Fortnite World Cup, Epic Games is trying something new by having the stream be available while players are actually in game.
This gives people the ability to watch the action as they play the game. It’s a unique experiment and not something that has been available for major esports in the past.
While the Creative Finals were going strong for a while and averaging 160K viewers over the Twitch stream, a massive lag spike at the end of the World Run stage 3 has seen the Twitch viewership plummet into the 70k range.
Jed Corenthal is the Chief Marketing Officer of Phenix, a real-time live streaming platform and he thinks Epic’s choice to make the stream available in game is an important moment in the streaming world.
“I think it’s brilliant to be candid,” Corenthal began. “Having more integration in terms of watching and competing, not having to leave a screen and go to another or forcing you to have two devices open.”
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But there’s a reason this isn’t commonplace. By placing the stream in-game, it requires Epic to set up a bunch of new technology and will put a heavy load on the stream itself. That load, coupled with the fact that this might be one of the largest viewer counts in Fortnite history could pose some issues in the future.
The first event, the Fortnite Creative World Cup is maintaining a viewership between 120-150,000 viewers and that is during the work day on a Friday. The peaks for the duos and solos finals in the next two days will be much higher.
“[To do this right] you need to have the right technology, the right product, the right engineers and scientists to be able to build it and create it,” Corenthal said.
If any company has those resources Epic is a good bet, but there’s an inherent risk in trying this new experiment during the biggest event the game has ever held. The viewership itself will likely be unprecedented and so adding another source of load is a bold choice for Epic.
“Epic has tested and problem solved and troubleshooted so they’re ready for whatever issues come up,” Corenthal said. “Problem is you just never really know what happens when you have real users and real load. It will be interesting to see how the technology they built reacts to it.”
There have already been a few complaints of lag in the stream from on Twitter and Reddit.
The live stream is lagging af— Leem (@ttpLeem) July 26, 2019
Still, the stream seems pretty solid for now and some lag is to be expected. But the majority of the load will be coming tomorrow, and that is also when a laggy stream will be the most problematic. This will be something to monitor as the World Cup continues throughout the weekend.