If Thursday is about gorging yourself with turkey and Friday is about shopping sprees, then Saturday is surely a day for Fortnite.
Epic Games is making a pretty strong case for players to board the Battle Bus, announcing the Winter Royale Open Fortnite Competition on Tuesday. Up for grabs? $1 million in prizes.
The tournament kicks off Nov. 24, with qualifying rounds taking place Saturday and Sunday. Any player is eligible. Those who score the highest in qualifying rounds will move on to the Royale finals, which will be held on Dec. 11-12 in North America, where the prizes will be awarded. (European players will hold their finals on Nov. 30-Dec. 1).
If you’re interested in playing, the in-game “events” tab will show the schedule for qualifying rounds. The company says it is using these Royale finals to emulate the World Cup qualification process for a bigger tournament planned for 2019.
The $1 million is a hefty prize pool, ranking among the top 50 esports prize pools of all time. But it’s ultimately chump change for Epic and its partial owner, China’s Tencent. In May, the company announced it would provide $100 million to fund prize pools for the game’s first year of competitive play. That figure was four times larger than any esports tournament had ever offered.
The games won’t be televised at this point, but esports is already drawing more than many prime time shows. Turner’s eLeague, for instance, has brought 10 million new viewers to the TBS network—and more than 25% of the viewing audience for eLeague events has been in the coveted 18-34 demographic. Globally, esports’ popularity has swollen to the point where they’re being considered as part of the 2024 Olympics.