NRG star, Williams “Zayt” Aubin, has returned to competitive Fortnite after announcing his retirement three weeks ago.
Zayt has been one of the only players who has stuck through competitive Fortnite through thick and thin. The NRG pro has been one of the best in the game since the competitive scene first emerged, and remained at the top of the heap through several seasons of the game.
This was why it was such a shock to see the Fortnite icon retire from the game on January 12, 2021. Zayt told his fans and followers that he’d be moving onto coaching and content creation rather than focusing on winning events.
Zayt didn’t give an exact reason for his departure, but a lot of fans assumed that it was related to the dwindling prize pool in competitive Fortnite.
Only days after Zayt announced his retirement, however, Epic Games made an announcement that gave a lot of Fortnite pros what they wanted. They combined platforms for the FNCS, uniting all competitors and nearly doubling the prize pool as a result.
On January 30, after playing the DreamHack tournament with BenjyFishy, Zayt tweeted that he missed competing and wanted to come back. “I am at a point where I would regret not competing and wasting my gift for the game,” he wrote.
Although Zayt never mentioned the prize pool as his reason for quitting or coming back to Fortnite, he was vocal about it in the past. We’d be surprised if it didn’t have some bearing on his decision.
We didn’t even need to experience a full competitive Fortnite season without Zayt – one of the best to ever do it. We’re excited to see how he and his team fair in the upcoming Season 5 FNCS.
Fortnite’s Esports revenue explains why there hasn’t been another World Cup
Epic Games overestimated how much money Fortnite Esports would make which could explain why there hasn’t been a second World Cup.
Epic Games overestimated how much revenue Fortnite would make from Esports in 2019 by $154 million. This miscalculation could explain why there has only been one Fortnite World Cup.
In 2019, Epic Games dove headfirst into Fortnite’s competitive Esports scene. Following a $100 million prize pool for the year 2018, Epic put up another $100 million in 2019. This insane amount of prize money dwarfed other competitive games in comparison.
2019 was also the year of Fortnite’s first-ever World Cup. The Fortnite World Cup took place from July 26 – 28 in New York City and boasted $30 million in total prizes. One hundred of the best solo players from around the world, and 50 duo teams, competed for a massive amount of money.
Epic Games falls short of revenue goals
While the amount of money up for grabs seems quite impressive, it didn’t net Epic Games with the desired results. During the trial of Epic Games vs Apple, documents were shared that outlined the revenues that Fortnite generated from 2018 to 2019. Epic Games planned to make $4.59 billion during the 2018-2019 fiscal year but actually earned $4.2 billion instead.
The documents stated that Epic Games had anticipated making $154 million more from Fortnite’s Esports scene than it was actually able to generate. While Epic Games is raking in billions of dollars a year, it’s unlikely that it will pour money into something that isn’t as profitable.
This major discrepancy in earnings could explain why there hasn’t been another Fortnite World Cup. After $100 million was awarded in 2019, 2020 saw a massive dip in prize money. The pool for the entire year was only $17 million.
Epic Games stated at the beginning of this year that it would be pledging $20 million in prize money for Fortnite’s 2021 competitive scene. This is $10 million less than the total prize pool for the Fortnite World Cup. Epic also stated that it had no plans for an in-person World Cup event this year.
The lack of prize money has been apparent over the past year as competitive Fortnite players have taken to social media to express their concerns. In 2019, the FNCS qualifier prize pool was $1 million a week for three months. Now, players are competing for a $3 million prize pool over the course of an entire season of FNCS.
The Fortnite World Cup may return in some capacity, but players shouldn’t expect a massive $30 million prize pool. The worldwide pandemic could be to blame for the lack of in-person tournaments, but that doesn’t mean it’s the sole reason there haven’t been any. Epic Games might be focusing on the more profitable aspects of Fortnite to endure the game’s longevity.
Top 20 Highest Earning Fortnite Players – Updated April 26, 2021
Fortnite’s top 20 highest earning players haven’t changed much since the 2019 World Cup, but a few players have climbed up the ranks.
The highest-earning Fortnite players are the same as they were in 2019.
After a rather uneventful year for Fortnite’s competitive scene in 2020, it’s no surprise that the top 20 highest-earning players look very similar to those of 2019. With no 2020 World Cup or millions of dollars worth of prize money up for grabs, there wasn’t a lot that could have affected the current standings.
2020 did see a lot of former Fortnite enthusiasts seemingly leave Fortnite for the foreseeable future. Tyler “Ninja” Blevins was at one time the most popular Fortnite streamer but has since left the game for other competitive shooters.
Instead, the same top-ranking competitive players such as Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf and Kyle “Mongraal” Jackson have maintained their places on the 20 top highest-earning Fortnite players.
When looking at a player’s earnings this list will only gauge players on how much they have earned by playing Fortnite. While Bugha and other players have earned money through brand deals, merch sales, and partnerships, earnings are defined as what a player has won strictly by playing competitive Fortnite.
It’s also important to note that, while over half of the top 20 have earned over $1 million, none of the players have earned more than $300,000 since September 23, 2019. Others have earned as little as $20,000 over the past year and a half.
This chart was last updated on April 26, 2021.
When comparing the list above to the highest-earning Fortnite players in 2019, the same 20 players are still on the list. Some players have moved up the ranks while others have maintained their position on the list. The biggest reason there haven’t been any new names added to the list is because of the lack of high-paying competitive events.
A large number of competitive Fortnite events were held in 2018 and 2019 including the Fall Skirmish Series, World Cup Finals, and Winter Royale. These events had multi-million dollar prize pools that rewarded first, second, and third-place winners with large cash prizes.
However, due to COVID-19’s impact on the world in 2020, Epic Games was unable to hold similar events. Competitive Fortnite took a back seat during the pandemic while crossover events and story-driven seasons kept players entertained.
With the pandemic still ensuing, Epic Games has stated it has no plans to conduct in-person tournaments throughout the course of 2021. FNCS tournaments are still taking place, but players won’t see the return of massive prize pools anytime soon.
Epic to host official Fortnite scrims for EU players
After Epic banned traditional pro scrims in Fortnite, they announced the release of their own official Fortnite scrims for EU.
Epic Games are set to roll-out official scrims for competitive players, starting with the EU region.
The competitive Fortnite community has taken a few blows to their favorite game modes in the recent past. Epic banned pay-to-play scrimmages and wagers, even contacting Clix directly and threatening a ban for hosting the latter.
While a lot of players participated in wagers, even more were sad to see pro scrimmages get the axe. Most Fortnite streamers at the pro level would routinely broadcast their games; practicing and creating content at the same time.
For a few weeks, the professional Fortnite community seemed lost, with little way to officially practice for upcoming events.
On April 22, Epic released a blog post, announcing that they would be hosting the first-ever official Fortnite scrims for EU players. These would be divided into two groups: Open and Aura.
Aura would be the traditional “pro scrims” that would require an initiation. Only the top 500 teams would be eligible to compete.
The Open scrims, as the name suggests, would be open to anyone in Arena Division 3 or higher. The top performers in Open Scrims will be invited to Aura at the end of each week, and poor performers or inactive teams from Aura will be relegated to Open League.
This all seems like an interesting system and one that Epic sorely needs. In fact, one could argue that this system is better than the base Arena system that is considered to be “competitive” Fortnite.
These scrims are only open to EU players at first, but we assume that Epic will bring NA scrims to the game next. Until then, we’ll have to see how the EU pros like these new official Fortnite scrims.
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