Why Epic Games' Fortnite Summer Skirmish Tournament Failed

by Sammy Chan

The first Fortnite: Battle Royale official eSports event, Fortnite Summer Skirmish, ended up being a huge fail. Epic Games announced their investment of $100 million into developing their eSports scene. Their plan was to award players from a prize pool of $8 million dollars spread across different tournaments within a two-month period. But that didn’t turn out quite right.

What Went Wrong In Summer Skirmishes 

After a strong showing at the Fortnite Pro-Am live event when the infamous Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and celebrity partner, Marshmello won a dramatic Victory Royale. People were begining to believe that Epic Games can do no wrong.
And then they introduced the Summer Skirmishes. In this tournament, the rules were simple, 100 streamers were paired together and the first team to win twice in 10 matches will be crowned the winners of week 1 and $50,000. The total prize pool was $250,000 so there was definitely more to be had. Epic even added an extra $6,500 for the most number of eliminations to promote more fighting and action.
The idea sounded great but the execution was poor. Rather than spectating the match on a seperate account and broadcasting it there, Epic Games shoutcasted the footage from streamers. So you can imagine trying to watch the livestream only to hear virtually nothing because everyone is talking.
Not only was the broadcasting method poorly done but it seemed the servers were extremely unstable. It’s one thing to have an unwatchable stream but another entirely to have an unfair tournament. Reports came in that streamers began lagging uncontrollably and running out of storms only to teleport back in and dying.
In the end, only 4 games were played before the event was ultimately canceled. Now, they’re moving on to week two. New streamers from all over the world have once again been invited. From what I can tell, the lineup has changed.
The goal is to earn as many points as possible. The scoring system and rewards are as follows:
Victory Royales: +5 Points
Eliminations: +1 Point
20 or More Eliminations (per game): +10 Points and $10,000
Most Eliminations in a Single Game: $50,000
The more points you get, the higher you’ll rank and the higher you rank, the more money you win.
Screengrab from Epic Games website

Epic Game’s Response

Of course, the company did the right thing and offer a detailed response and explanation to the obviously poorly managed event in a blog post. They acknowledge the problem and assured us that they would learn from their mistakes.
And the reason why the servers were having issues was a combination of-

“number of players still alive in the later circles, the number of players that stayed connected to spectate until the end, and the amount of dense building that occured late in the matches.”

Orange = Skirmish
Blue = Normal Duos
Basically, to summarize, the servers crashed because all the players in the server were of higher skill level than the average player. And they had too many people alive still despite the circle being greatly sunken. In the blog post, they explained the diagram as such Where normally 10 people alive, 50 in skirmish.  Where normally winner, 30 alive in skirmish”
They are now working on a way to optimize server performance for those situations. And for the sake of their reputation and event, let’s hope they succeed.
If you want to know more about week two of the Summer Skirmishes and the invited competitors involved, click here.

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