Epic Games Tunes Broadcast for Fortnite Esports During World Cup Qualifiers

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The past two weeks, Epic Games has held the first qualifying events for its upcoming World Cup, the culminating event of its promise to dish out $100M in prize money for Fortnite.

As the competition has taken off, so has Epic’s increased efforts to broadcast Fortnite esports. With live announcing from a studio filled with cartoonish Fortnite props, the developer uses a spectating mode akin to what was previously used during the Skirmish events from last year.

Though qualifying rounds for the World Cup are long and grueling, the official Fortnite channel has attempted to deliver as much of the action as possible including 19 hours of airtime this past weekend and nearly 16 the weekend prior.

The casting crew, led by Alex “Goldenboy” Mendez, attempts to mimic the approach of traditional sports with a combination of player interviews, analytics discussions, and video replays. However, staying true to Fortnite’s whimsical, light-hearted nature, the broadcasters were quick to make jokes and attempted to have fun with the audience.

Long broadcasting sessions made it difficult for the channel to maintain viewership throughout the entirety of the stream, but this week’s 10-hour session on Sunday still managed to average 37K concurrent viewers. The seven-hour session on Saturday averaged 27K CCV.

That doesn’t put this qualifying event in the same realm as some of Fortnite’s Skirmish events from last year. However, those competitions had stronger averages in part because of their brevity. Most Skirmish events only lasted a couple of hours making it easier to retain viewers for the entirety of a broadcast.

That being said, the Fortnite broadcast still didn’t have the same type of hours watched totals that many of those more condensed competitions had during the height of the battle royale game in the summer of 2018.

With this only being a qualification process, it’s unfair to draw conclusions about the success of the Fortnite channel’s viewership based on comparisons with other events like the Skirmishes, but it is worth noting how the event has affected Fortnite as a whole on Twitch.

While Fortnite viewership has taken its lumps in 2019 so far, the new qualifiers have helped to bolster weekend viewership as top gamers and influencers livestream their efforts to make it to the World Cup.

In February, the release of Apex Legends hurt Fortnite viewership, as many influencers looked to diversify and dive into the newer battle royale game. Later on, a surge in Grand Theft Auto V role play streams pushed it past 2018’s most-watched game for a period of time, but the constant updates to in-game cosmetics and new esports opportunity have helped Fortnite reclaim a spot at the top.

While esports viewership isn’t the largest driving factor in Fortnite’s success, the games’ ability to double as an influencer-friendly title and an esport could be critical for the game if it’s going be the top game on Twitch again.

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