Epic Games has provided an updated roadmap for the remainder of its 2020 Fortnite competitive scene, and as expected, concerns over COVID-19 have led to the formal cancellation of the Fortnite World Cup scheduled for July. In a series of Tweets, the developer stated that for the rest of this calendar year, all competitive events will be online only.
This extends beyond the World Cup, and will include “FNCS qualifiers, Cash Cups, 3rd Party Events and Broadcasts.” While the news is unfortunate, it is not surprising all physical gatherings are on hold and competitive events in all games are being postponed or moved towards an online-only format. There is quite a bit to unpack in the series of tweets made by @FNCompetitive, and it is worth checking out.
Epic Games could, and probably should, lean hard into producing an online event with production values that feel as though we were again watching live at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York. Too many esports often fumble their execution of viewership and this can lead to frustration within the gaming community as events become obscure and hard to find. Hearthstone is currently facing this at an extreme level, with live games difficult to find on YouTube without knowing exactly what one is looking for.
Since the rest of 2020 and potentially beyond will be characterized by social distancing, now is the perfect time to reinvent what online esports looks like, and for games like Fortnite, it might be necessary to remain relevant in the years to come.
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