Fortnite’s Frequent Format Changes Force Flexibility on Esports Organizations
Before Epic launched Fortnite’s first official esports tournaments this summer, esports organizations were already scouting top players and signing Fortnite teams. Since the first Summer Skirmish, Epic’s frequent format changes have forced esports organizations to stay flexible in their team training strategies.
According to Steve Arhancet, Co-CEO of Team Liquid, he knew the game had esports potential from the first time he played it. His instincts told him to begin signing players even before Epic announced its commitment to $100 million in prize money for Fortnite’s first year.
Arhancet’s sentiment was shared by the heads of several other leading esports organizations. The game’s incredible popularity on Twitch helped. Even if they were not sure what Fortnite esports would look like, they knew they wanted their organizations to play a part.
It soon became apparent that competitive Fortnite would not be strictly competitive-based like other esports titles. Epic relied heavily on the involvement of gaming influencers for the game’s launch. This sent a message to organizations that personality and influence, along with skill, would be vital for their teams’ success.
Arhancet said he picked up on the pressure to sign influencers but decided to maintain Team Liquid stance that results are paramount. While the dominant strategy became signing content creators and streamers, Team Liquid stuck with the most skilled players.
Other teams, such as Rogue, built teams around celebrity players. Rogue’s Ben “Dr. Lupo” Lupo originally joined the organization as a Destiny II player but found more success streaming Fortnite.