Epic Games recently published the FNCS Chapter 2 Season 4 Official Rules, which include details on format, scoring system, prizing and more.
Rather than being grateful for the chance to compete, many players have been left disappointed and even angry at this season’s purse. There are two main topics up for debate: The reduction in total prize money and the split between PC and Console/Mobile winnings.
It is true that significantly less cash is up for grabs this time around. Season X European Trio Champions Aqua, Stompy and Tschinken took home $480,000 between them, whereas this year’s winners will net just $111k. Weekly rewards are also around 8x smaller at the top end.
With this said, the money on offer in competitive Fortnite is still insane when compared to other titles and should not be taken for granted. Let’s not forget that it’s not just FNCS, there are multiple weekly Cash Cups with thousands of dollars on the line as well as huge one-off events like the Winter Royale.
The real issue is with managing expectations. At its peak, Fortnite was a true cultural phenomenon, prizing throughout 2018 and 2019 was inflated to match and prolong the game’s unparalleled popularity.
Reduction in prize pool this year, IMO, was a necessary step towards sustainability of comp Fortnite in the long run.
In my mind, 2018 and 2019 were HUGE oversteps for a fledgling esports scene, that Epic is correctly trying to step back from and reign in expectations.
— Ballatw (@Ballatw) September 25, 2020
It was inevitable that once this crazy spike started to drop down and level out, prize pools would follow suit. As popular caster and analyst @Ballatw said on Twitter, “Epic is correctly trying to step back from and reign in expectations” in order to increase the long-term sustainability of competitive Fortnite.
Aside from the unwelcome pay cut, some existing and aspiring pros are also unhappy that console and mobile players are getting a massive slice of the bread. As with the previous two seasons of FNCS, the split between PC and console is 50/50.
Platform specific events with equal prizing have been controversial ever since the Winter Royale 2019 tournament. It is a complex argument, but a lot of people simply fight for whatever satisfies them on a personal level.
Console and mobile users make up a large chunk of the playerbase and generate a lot of revenue. Without a proper ranked mode and with Arena being cross-platform, many competitive-minded console players would lose interest in Fortnite without these tournaments.
In spite of this, there is no denying that PC gameplay is the premier tier of Fortnite competition and is therefore unsurprisingly the focus of the official broadcast. So, whilst I personally believe that console and mobile players should continue to get their own events and prizing, I do think that the money should be divided in a way that more accurately reflects each platform’s place in the scene.
this drop in prize pool will hopefully show the pros that you need to produce content or have a back up instead of just going all in on trying to live off of prize money
— benjyfishy (@benjyfishy) September 25, 2020
Tweeting amidst the storm of prize pool related drama, NRG star Benjy “Benjyfishy” Fish made an interesting point. “This drop in prize pool will hopefully show the pros that you need to produce content or have a back up” he stated. Benjy certainly practices what he preaches and through regular Twitch streams and YouTube uploads has already set himself up for years of success regardless of the state of Fortnite.
Ultimately, competitive prizing is at the full discretion of Epic Games. The best thing that players can do is be thankful for the opportunities that they are given and try to make the most out of them. And who knows, maybe World Cup 2021 will come along and blow everything else out of the water.