Does your sub count matter in esports?

If you play competitive Fortnite, there is an argument you have more important things to do, mainly getting back to your time machine before the present works out you aren’t from around here and Trump administrations you into a causal cage that means you can never return to your wife and pet robot chicken. However, in the circumstances where you are an aspiring Fortnite star, the sort that might be picked up by an org like Rogue, there are certain rules you want to follow to put yourself in a good position should the dream come true.

That was clearly on the mind of Dr Lupo, today employed by Rogue but once of Destiny stream fame, among other things, but are his list of priorities realistic for any game, let alone Fortnite? It'd be nice to think skill is all that matters, but in epsorts there is not enough money being generated to support that alone, not just yet.

The first thing that should be mentioned is that while Twitch viewership is not something that wins events, it will do a massive amount for your ability to not only make money from a game, but also sign with an org. The entire ecosystem of Fortnite has grown around Twitch streaming, and organisations are happy to have players that do not win if that player has good marketing metrics on many occasions, and not just CoD ones either. So, it is fair to say that your numbers on twitch will definitely help if they are considerable.

No Fortnite esports yet

Lupo is probably on to something when he talks about the win % not being that important, in the same way Scump’s K/D on Black Ops 3 overall didn’t make him the best, or worse than a KoreanSavage, who pubstomps for a job. On the other hand, this is a game with no real esports scene yet, a developing meta that is far from finished on an equipment point of view, and no real top level or circuit yet. Plans are being made, for sure, but there are many, many cautionary tales from esports about the distance between plans and fruition.

Apparently, what matters to Lupo and Rogue are your mechanics, play in scrims and ability in VoDs you might send, and that is admirable. Obviously having good fundamentals is going to help in any game, but the disconnect between how Fortnite got to where it is, and the way it is being presented is jarring to those who have followed it this far, and realise how far it has to go before it is a sustainable, skill based game that can survive on its own.

One day, all esports could be a meritocracy, where you can be a millionaire like Cristiano Ronaldo, all perfect and pretty, or you can be like Messi and not give a toss. However, today there are too many investors, sponsors and interested parties to be in a situation where ability is all the matters, and players don’t have to be marketable in the way they previously have. Even games like CSGO, Dota and League are made to respect these market forces, and ‘the game Ninja plays’ is a long way from their levels of strength.

As for Fortnite, there still seem to be some large problems that are not being addressed in terms of the viewing experience, and the balance of the game is still being worked out. We wish any aspiring pros good luck, but at this point Fortnite can’t even offer the ‘security’ a CSGO can, and it’s going to be a risk to put all your eggs in one shopping trolley in the hope that one day you too can be Ninja.