Fortnite Prize Pools – Season 4 vs. Season 5, and why the issue isn’t funding, but distribution.

Content of the article: "Fortnite Prize Pools – Season 4 vs. Season 5, and why the issue isn’t funding, but distribution."

This is a long post, so there's a TL;DR at the bottom. All calculations use the European prize pools.

Using Europe’s prize pool for Platform Cash Cups, last season Epic gave out $8,760 on Mobile/Switch, $20,000 for Console and $20,000 for PC weekly. That’s $48,760 weekly, and they ran this event 7 times throughout the Season for an estimated total of $341,320. Epic also ran Champion and Contenders Cups. Contenders Cups in Europe gave out a total of $9,150 per week, while Champion Cups gave $40,350 per week. These events ran 6 times for a grand total of $297,000 being given out. Wild Wednesday also ran 5 times and gave out $32700 each week for a total of $163,500. That makes the total prize pool of weekly events in Europe for Season 4 a whopping $801,820.

While we do not have Prize Pool information for Wild Wednesday, the European prize pool for Cash Cups in Season 5 is $40,206 per week – essentially equal to the Champion Cups from last Season, but with only 5 weeks instead of 6, making the prize pool $201,030 overall. To be generous, we will say that the Wild Wednesdays this Season will have an equal prize pool to Season 4 ($163,500) and the overall prize pool comes out as $364,030 – less than HALF of what it was last Season.

This has caused much panic around the Fortnite Competitive community – while used to declining prize pools, this was significantly less than Season 4, and the broader prize distribution means top tier players get even less. That being said, I do not think that these numbers are completely accurate or reflect a larger decline in Fortnite Competitive. Here’s why:

Outside of FNCS and these weekly tournaments in Season 4, there were not very many official events run by Epic. To be generous, we will count the region exclusive events like EU Encore. EU Encore gave out $296,250 overall and the $1M Super Cup gave out $401,700 in Europe. This makes the grand EU prize pool about one million dollars in Season 4 outside of FNCS.

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In Season 5, we have had one tournament – the Frosty Frenzy – that gave out $501,000 per session. This ran four times, so the grand prize pool in Season 5 for EU outside of FNCS so far is already higher than Season 4 at about $2 million. This is leaving out the Cash Cups which would add an additional $350,000 to make the total $2.3 million, which is about 60% higher than Season 4.

Before I jump to conclusions, it is important to note that the Frosty Frenzy is likely a one time thing that will not happen in Season 6 and would not have happened in Season 4. However, it is still indicative of the investment Epic has put into the Competitive scene this Season.

Additionally, we have no information on how the FNCS prize pool will be this Season. Considering the last few FNCS have been around $5 million, it is likely that this season’s Finals will give a similar amount of money. Due to this lack of information on the next FNCS, I did not include it in my calculations for Season 4. However, if the FNCS C2S5 prize money ends up being significantly reduced from 2020, it may be an overall decline.

It must also be noted again that the Wild Wednesday prize pool is a generous estimate, although even a significant reduction would not change the conclusion.

Finally, I did not include events like the Llobeti Cup or Dreamhack due to them not being necessarily funded by Epic Games.

Mathematically, Epic Games is not spending less money than ever on Fortnite Competitive. Compared to previous seasons, Europe will get up to 60 percent more money from currently announced non-FNCS events. This doesn’t include potential unannounced events that will pop up in the next 3 months, like the $1M Super Cup in Season 4. However, this doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem here. The complaints are valid – but not because of how much Epic is spending. The problem is how they are distributing it.

Chopper’s Champion Cup in Season 4 gave out a basically equal amount of money as the new Cash Cups in Season 5. However, the Chopper events gave it out to 30 teams while the new events will give it to 50 teams. The Chopper events gave an average payout of $1,333 dollars per trio. On the other hand, the new cups have an average payout of $800 – about 40% less than in Season 4. Many complaints were also sent to Epic for the prize distribution for the Frozen Frenzy. Despite giving out $500,000 per session, the average payout was only $1,250 per session.

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Some players are also complaining about a lack of regular events. Instead of 3 ongoing cash prize events in Season 4, there are only 2 in Season 5 with even less sessions than Season 4.

In conclusion, the calls that Epic are greedy or that the competitive scene (or even the game) are dying are absurd and mostly incorrect. Instead, the problem is that Epic is distributing the money with less events and more players being given money. If Frosty Frenzy’s EU prize pool was split, Epic could run every event from last Season again and still have some money left over. The lack of smaller events with a focus on large events like Frosty Frenzy and lack of large payouts for top players discourages top tier pros from playing well and having incentive to compete, leading to the current state of depression within the pro community.

The solution to this is to spread the existing prize pool for large events lile Frosty Frenzy among many events, allowing pros to consistently compete for a decent prize. Additionally, money could become more top heavy to encourage better play.

TL;DR Epic Games has already funded more money to the non-FNCS Competitive scene in Season 5 than they did in Season 4. However, the focus on large events like Frosty Frenzy means that there are less events than ever. Additionally, increased prize pool distribution means that the top tier players are getting less money than ever before.

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