How Epic Games Can Fix Lack of Fortnite Mobile Esports
Epic Games released Fortnite battle royale and it quickly became one of the biggest games in the whole world. With a strong player base behind it and the cultural icon it has become, it’s no surprise that there is no shortage of esports events to participate in at this time if you play competitively. But there is a lack of Fortnite mobile esports.
Fortnite Has Done Great With Esports But Needs More
Overall, there is no doubt in my mind that Epic Games has done one of the best jobs with the Fortnite esports scene. The battle royale title has a phenomenal selection of competitions that are hosted officially by the developer as well as third-party tournaments that are solid, too.
The exception to this is this year, 2020, but this is understandable as it has been a crazy year thus far for everyone. With that said, Epic Games is making changes as we reach the midway point for the year and is getting ready for some intense competitions leading into the rest of 2020.
This is great and all as players and fans love some of these competitions like the Fortnite Champion Series, weekly competitions, and the like, but they are just the start when it comes to the esports community for this game. Quite frankly, there needs to be more from Epic Games.
There doesn’t necessarily need to be more events overall as Epic is doing a great job already with the number and variety of tournaments that players can watch and/or participate in. But there is one key component that is missing that could complete the game, and that’s more Fortnite mobile esports.
It isn’t far-fetched to say that Epic Games has dropped the ball when it comes to the Fortnite mobile esports scene. The Android and iOS versions of the game are not just popular, they are significantly larger than some of their older counterparts on PC and consoles.
With this being the case, it does seem rather strange and, honestly, ridiculous that the mobile Fortnite players don’t get as much love when it comes to the available competitions. Sure, there are “plenty” but these are all made mostly irrelevant by one main factor that I will get into.
History of Fortnite Mobile Esports Thus Far
Before we dive more into the how and why of what the future of Fortnite mobile esports could look like, it’s important to note how Epic Games has handled mobile tournaments in the past. With all honesty, there hasn’t been a shortage of competitions available to mobile players.
This is true and it is worth being honest and admitting this from the start. If you want in on a particular cash cup or Champion Series event, well, you can on Android and iOS. This is very much the case and has been for most major events in Fortnite.
But when it comes to exclusive events that are only available to mobile players (which is quite important as I’ll get into later), there is only one. Epic Games has hosted a single Fortnite mobile esports event that was exclusive to Android and iOS users.
That event was hosted late last year in December 2019. And the worst part about this was that it was a one-off partnership between Twitch and Epic Games for a Fortnite mobile Twitch Rivals event. This was great at the time for those players, but it only started and ended there.
Worse still, the problem with this event is that it was only available to the most popular Twitch Fortnite mobile players, which amounted to 12 squads in total. That is it. None of the other millions of players who play on mobile every day had the opportunity to compete in this event.
Sure, the prizes were impressive overall for that one particular event on mobile, but it started and ended there. Since then (at the time of publishing this article), Epic Games has yet to host or even support another mobile-exclusive Fortnite competition. This needs to change and I am going to dive into the many reasons why this is the case and how Epic can change Fortnite mobile esports forever.
Why We Need Fortnite Mobile Esports: Similar Games Do It Better
First and foremost, one of the things that Epic Games should consider is the fact that other battle royale and online multiplayer games out there do mobile esports much, much better than Fortnite does. The list could go on for days, but I’ll just make sure to hone in on a couple of relevant examples.
For starters, there is a direct competitor to Fortnite on mobile: PUBG Mobile. For clarification purposes, it is worth pointing out that this version of the battle royale game is separate and different from its big brother version on PC and consoles.
In this way, it does stand out from Fortnite on mobile, which is the same version of the game you will find (at least for battle royale) on other platforms, complete with cross-platform play and progression. But even still, that doesn’t excuse the lack of exclusive support for mobile players.
PUBG Mobile has one of the most thriving mobile esports scenes in the entire world. This is likely because it is much bigger on mobile than it is on PC and consoles. But it has thrived on the platform, much like Fortnite has, and PUBG Corp. has been gracious to grant those mobile players plenty of opportunities to compete online against one another.
The same can’t be said for Fortnite. On the other hand, another direct competitor is Call of Duty Mobile. Worse still than PUBG Mobile is the fact that this game is much newer than the mobile version of Fortnite, but it already has a healthy and growing mix of competitions to participate in.
Sure, there have been one-off competitions and the like thus far in the history of this game that only launched in the fall of 2019, but it also now has the Call of Duty Mobile World Championship. This is something that makes it more on par with the mainline series games.
Any qualifying mobile player is capable of participating in this event and earning their right to compete for a share of the massive $1 million prize pool and fame as the world champion of Call of Duty Mobile. It is worth pointing out, though, that this is specifically for the multiplayer portion.
Admittedly, this isn’t for the battle royale portion, in particular, but it is a great first step that we wouldn’t be surprised to see this extend to battle royale in the future. And more importantly, this is a great example that Epic Games should follow with its own mobile game.
Why: Fortnite Mobile Players Are at a Severe Disadvantage
Earlier, I mentioned how there are a plethora of Fortnite competitions that are compatible on mobile and this is true. There are weekly events and the like that players on Android and iOS have access to. The reason that exclusive events are so important, though, is because these players are at a severe disadvantage.
Sure, you could jump into a competition for that week on mobile and you would be more likely to probably match up with fellow mobile players, but this isn’t always guaranteed. There is the likelihood that you are going to eventually go up against PC and console players.
It is here that this way of handling things falls apart for the mobile players. Unless you are among the elite of the elite when it comes to touchscreen controls, you are likely to be crushed by the keyboard and mouse, and even controller players.
Sure, you can alleviate part of this problem by using a controller yourself on mobile to lessen the gap but this has a problem on its own. I’ve used a controller myself on mobile with Fortnite and found that it was very, unfortunately, easy to crush opponents this way; much more so than using touchscreen.
This is a problem, too, and it doesn’t even slap a bandaid on the issue. Instead, this is why the Fortnite mobile version needs its competition that has no controller support allowed and no other platforms intervening so that the competition is fair and open.
How to Do This: Its Own Competitions/League
The way that Epic Games can do this is by hosting more events that are exclusive to Fortnite mobile players. The Twitch Rivals event was just the start, but we need to see more than just that. There need to be more events where mobile players can compete and only use touchscreen controls.
One way to do this is by hosting weekly or monthly events that aren’t necessarily tied to anything specific. These could be just the “monthly mobile tournament” or something like that where players could jump in, complete 10 or so matches, and be given a rating or points.
This could be used to earn items, rewards, and possibly earn some cash prizes if high enough. This is a very simple way of handling it where the competition is still relatively relaxed, but there is something for everyone to get involved in, without having to be a ranked player or the like.
At the same time, though, there should also be more serious competitions for those who do take this sort of thing seriously. Maybe these players who play Fortnite mobile competitively prefer the platform or can’t afford a PC or console. Regardless of their situation, they should have an option for them, too.
This could be something like a league of sorts, similar to the Champion Series and the like that already exists but for mobile players only. For this one, it could be fine to only let the best in like those who have qualified through other events or have reached a certain tiered rank.
They should be able to compete weekly or often enough to move up and down through the league or ongoing competition until a champion is crowned. This is where the more cash-based prizes can be available and the best mobile players could, perhaps, make a living out of esports.
How: Fortnite World Cup Should Return With a Mobile-Exclusive Tournament
The other way that mobile players could enjoy a new form of competition for Fortnite is by seeing the popular and beloved World Cup tournament be expanded to mobile as well. What I mean by this is having a mobile-exclusive part of the World Cup.
This would be similar to how there is a duos and solo version of the competition. And how there is a Creative tournament as well. Though the World Cup has only happened once in the history of Fortnite, it is something that the community as a whole looks forward to happening again.
Unfortunately, we will have to wait until next year for the second World Cup to happen for Fortnite but it is something that we look forward to nonetheless. One way to bring back the World Cup next year with a bang is to have a dedicated mobile competition.
While it might not have as huge of a prize pool as the other competitions, it would still be welcome to see this happen, so that the players who have come to be experts at touchscreen controls can have their time to shine as well as the other players who use controllers and keyboard and mouse.