Over the past few months, there is no title in gaming that has seen a meteoric rise like that of Epic Games' Fortnite: Battle Royale.
On the heels of other similar and successful titles such as H1Z1 and Player Unknown Battlegrounds, players are dropped onto a massive map and forced to collect weapons and items in an attempt to be the last player standing.
What has separated Fortnite from its counterparts is the ability to quickly build structures for movement or defense, adding another layer of complexity to the game and a refreshing twist to a popular genre.
Already garnering some of the highest viewership numbers on the popular streaming platform Twitch, Fortnite seems poised to break out as the next big title in Esports, and the potential of Fortnite in Esports has not gone unnoticed.
The clearest example of Esports organisations making an early investment into the title is the signing of one of the game’s top players, Ali "Myth" Kabbani, by the Esports juggernaut Team Solomid.
The game has the makings of a great Esports title, with the ability to form squads and pit different teams against each other. Still, Fortnite must capitalize on the mistakes and lessons from H1Z1 and PUBG to truly emerge as a best in genre title.
While the developers in Fortnite have been very receptive to community feedback so far, there are still important changes that will need to be implemented to further fan the flames of a fledgling Esports scene.
The current inability to create private servers to scrimmage other squads hinders the ability of squads to reliably compete and have a consistent practice. This should be a priority for Epic Games as they move forward to develop the Esports scene.
The importance of Esports cannot be understated for developers as a strong Esports scene can help assure the longevity, brand loyalty, and relevance of a title. In Esports, people can form connections with players and teams can last long after they stop playing a title regularly.
A 2017 study by Newzoo showed that 42 percent of Esports viewers do not play the game themselves, and roughly 70 percent only will follow one Esports title.
This creates a special importance for Fortnite to quickly develop its Esports scene as it hopes to carve out a large audience for itself in the Battle Royale scene amongst the rising PUBG and H1Z1.
Fortnite has an opportunity to assert itself as the premier Battle Royale title through cultivating an Esports scene. Whether Epic Games will seize or squander this opportunity remains to be seen, but either way, Fortnite is a title that cannot be ignored.
Written by Christopher Bilski.