Have competitive Fortnite fans finally had enough? Record low participation levels in the first C3:S2 FNCS qualifiers say yes.
Since the dawn of Fortnite Competitive, not a season has gone by where the community has been fully satisfied, and let’s face it… that’s an impossible ask. Whether it be the weapon meta, broken items, or map changes, there always seems to be something for people to complain about.
Despite this, during the Summer Skirmish and World Cup era, plus a big chunk of Chapter 2, the majority of players were still having fun competing. It’s clear however that overall sentiment has shifted drastically during the past five months or so.
We’ve seen superstars like Saf quit for good, top pros regularly streaming other games instead of practicing, and Twitter rage has been replaced by pure comical disbelief. It appears that for many, Chapter 3 Season 2 has been the last straw.
A recent video by NRG creator Aussie Antics discussed the significant drop off in FNCS participation this season, and the statistics are pretty telling.
According to our data, approximately 20,982 duos competed in Europe’s first FNCS Qualifier this season, down from 32,681 in C3:S1. During the height of Trios last year, EU would have more than 100,000 individuals taking part in FNCS Opens, meaning a drop of over 50%.
The decline has been even steeper in NAE. In C2:S5, nearly 60,000 people competed in the opening FNCS session, in comparison to a little over 12,000 this time around. Last season’s Qualifier 1 featured 16,192 Duos, so in just a couple of months, participation has fallen nearly 63%.
Optimists attribute the dwindling numbers to it being exam season for many Fortnite players, and Mother’s Day this past weekend. However, the fact that Qualifiers 1 and 2 had such similar figures suggests otherwise.
The honeymoon period of having a new Chapter and new map to explore wore off very quickly when competitive fans realised how powerful the Stinger SMG was. This combined with a selection of weak shotguns and Spider-Man’s Web-Shooters made tournament gameplay almost unbearable for many.
All hope rested on Season 2 to turn things around. But when it finally arrived, it felt like a mere extension of Season 1. Rather than a fresh weapon meta, players were greeted by an even stronger SMG alongside the Stinger, and minimal changes elsewhere.
People often say, it doesn’t matter how may pros quit, there will always be someone new there to take their place. This is true to an extent, at least while there’s money on the line, but the participation data above indicates that further down the leaderboards, motivation is disappearing.
So, is it all over?
Of course not. A fun competitive meta and perhaps some different events, for example Daily Duos Cups or further down the line, a World Cup announcement, would bring the hype flooding back.
Epic has been working hard on the casual side of Fortnite in Chapter 3, and it’s been a tremendous success. Zero Build has done wonders for viewership and the overall playerbase may well have seen a substantial boost.
Maybe though, this current FNCS will serve as a small warning not to take the competitive community for granted. These are loyal players who put thousands of hours into the game, and a strong competitive scene is generally a key ingredient for long-term success.