Fortnite Battle Royale’s first truly competitive esports event in its Summer Skirmish series took place this weekend, and it was a hot mess.
Lag plagued the first round of the tournament, which is offering $8 million in total prize money. Professional Fortnite players were regularly being caught out by the storm, a mistake that high-level players almost never make, thanks to rubber-banding, causing a ton of on-stream frustration for participants. In fact, it got so bad that developer Epic Games pulled the plug on week one’s $250,000 Duos tournament before it was even halfway over, after just four matches.
The event’s casters acknowledged “server issues” before calling the tournament and posting the winners, as did Epic in a follow-up tweet, though in perhaps the softest terms possible:
Thanks to all the participants we had out in the first week of #SummerSkirmish! We’ll be using different formats each week.
We’re looking into improving server performance and ironing out issues as well. You can see the final results for Week 1 here: https://t.co/EGhCop4XGM
— Fortnite (@FortniteGame) July 14, 2018
The problem seemed to be caused by the sheer amount of players making it to the final circle. Since a nice chunk of change was on the line, most of the pros were playing very passively, resulting in way too many players sharing one part of the map at the same time. At least, that’s a theory, though it definitely seems to match up with Epic’s desires to cut back on building near the end of matches, possibly to cause more murder and weed out the amount of players occupying the same space.
We’ll see if the second week’s event fares any better, though so far Epic’s ventures into esports, like the Celebrity Pro-Am tournament during E3 2018, seem to work much better in LAN environments.
Fortnite is available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PC, and mobile.