"Though at first glance the numbers may seem pretty damning, it’s not time to sell off all your Fortnite stock just yet."
It’s a question that comes up over and over. From toxic comments on social media to content creators struggling for views, there are certainly signs of frustration, but is Fortnite really on as sharp a decline as everyone says.
In Friday’s episode of the FNTASIA Podcast, a weekly show covering all things competitive Fortnite, Ballatw, ShyoWager and guest host Reisshub tackled the problem from a tournament participation standpoint.
Check out this and past episodes with usual hosts Ballatw, ShyoWager and Leven2k over on the official FNTASIA YouTube channel.
The conversation arose following a recent Tweet by Team Liquid pro “Stretch”, which contrasted stats from Chapter 2 Season 6 FNCS Qualifier 1 and the Fortnite World Cup. Across all regions, a total of 45,919 Trios, or just under 140k individual players took part in last week’s FNCS Qualifier, while Epic reported upwards of 40 million contenders for the World Cup.
Though at first glance those numbers may seem pretty damning, it’s not time to sell off all your Fortnite stock just yet. Here’s why the Twitter hype is overexaggerated:
To begin with, it’s important to remember that this was the Fortnite World Cup, an event destined for the esports history books. It came right at the peak of the Battle Royale titan’s global fame, and the open qualification system and $30 million prize pool were almost unheard of.
Secondly, the 40 million figure is widely assumed to count anyone who played a single Arena match in the build up to the World Cup. The mode was brand new and inevitably caught the eyes of most Fortnite fans, even those strictly focused on the casual side of the game.
Let's look at some data. The participation has been roughly the same as Season 4, which had both console FNCS and had 18 more days for players to get to champs. S6 arguably has a better participation rate.— Reiss ?????????????? (@Reisshub) April 24, 2021
The average player struggles to get to champs more than people think. pic.twitter.com/2HsOjTyII9
With all that said, previous FNCS seasons have attracted more contestants too, so what’s different this time round? Well, for one thing, players had over a month longer to get to Champion Division in Season 5, meaning more people who reach the minimum entry requirements.
There’s also the fact that as schools and workplaces begin to open back up after COVID, fewer hours are being dedicated to gaming overall. With Fortnite’s core playerbase being so young, it’s not surprising that this has made a significant impact.
Regardless of this fall off, Fortnite still has huge levels of tournament involvement compared to other titles. And, in terms of competitive at least, less participation isn’t necessarily always bad. Epic has been making some excellent changes as of late, and while open tournaments like the Winter Royale and World Cup have their place, the FNCS is intended to showcase the best of the best.
So no, Stretch’s post isn’t proof that Fortnite is dying. It’s only normal for engagement to start evening out, and if anything, it allows the scene to evolve more naturally, without solely being a blatant tool for marketing. Maybe we should talk about it again after the next World Cup.