Global lockdowns and travel restrictions have hit every esport in different ways. Some quickly adjusted and returned to something resembling normalcy, as has been the case with League of Legends. Others saw a mass exodus of notable organizations and prominent players.
Fortnite was most certainly in the latter camp. Many of the game’s most prominent names have transitioned into being variety streamers, but even some of Fortnite’s most successful esports stars have either committed to full-time streaming or moved to fresh tactical shooter Valorant.
Though Fortnite itself is doing quite well as a game and still enjoys a growing player base along peerless mainstream visibility, its esports scene has been left in limbo. This stems from the lack of certainty surrounding the Fortnite World Cup.
In December 2020, Epic Games was explicit that the Fortnite World Cup will not be happening in 2021. Though it’s always possible that the publisher will walk back on this statement, it’s highly unlikely that plans could change so radically.
“Our intent is to eventually hold global in-person tournaments again, but our priority for any such event is the health and safety of our players and staff…we do not plan to hold in-person events in 2021, including a Fortnite World Cup,” Epic Games said in December.
Epic Games has pivoted back on hosting a series of online tournaments throughout 2020 and 2021. The Fortnite Championship Series is a circuit of regional events with sizable prize pools. Unfortunately, with the money being spread among hundreds of players and the events taking place online without any kind of crowd, it’s a poor substitution for the giant Fortnite World Cup fans saw in 2019.
The 2019 Fortnite World Cup’s solo event was won by Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf, while the duos event was won by the team of Emil “nyhrox” Bergquist and David “aqua” Wang. Bugha took home $3 million for his efforts, while aqua and nyhrox took home $1.5 million each.
Following the Fortnite World Cup 2019, Bugha enjoyed a surge of mainstream visibility. This saw him make a number of media appearances including his guesting on The Tonight Show, and enjoy a sudden jump into the upper echelons of the Fortnite streaming scene.