Popular video game Fortnite could attract huge interest in real money Esports wagering.

On April 21st, hundreds of casual video game players flocked to the Esports Arena at Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas to witness the Ninja Vegas ’18 eSports charity event hosted by high profile player Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins.

Fortnite is billed as a “ridiculously cartoonish” take on a popular Battle Royale mode that has been around for years, but was recently popularized by PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) — whose studio is ironically suing Fortnite publisher Epic Games over alleged copyright infringement.

Roughly 667,000 concurrent viewers watched the Twitch live stream as the 26-year old superstar began his day by landing just south of Retail Row, grabbing a jump pad, and quickly launching towards the prison northwest of Moisty Mire to pick up a weapon and supplies from a chest in a common spawn location.

Ninja Vegas 18 YouTube Ratings: 8,748,686 Views – 231.7k Likes, 3.7k Dislikes

If that play-by-play of the first 60 seconds of the April Fortnite exhibition matches at Luxor’s Esports Arena just went completely over your head, you’re not alone. Gamblers who grew up playing nickel-and-dime Seven Card Stud poker games typically find competitive e-Sports gaming to be less approachable than a six-max poker tournament final table with lot of money on the line.

However, it may come as a surprise to longtime gamblers that a younger generation of skill-based gamers would be equally perplexed by poker hand commentary explaining how a player “looked up” his opponent on “fourth street” before “hitting a two-outer on the river” and “winning a showdown.”

The April 21st Fortnite charity event at Luxor’s Esports Arena was viewed by a capacity in-house of 700 fans, some of whom will likely be on-hand as the World Poker Tour begins its “delayed final table” format for Season 17.

Fortnite Competition and Esports Wagering

Fortnite has a lot going for it when it comes to competitive Esports wagering.

  • It’s free to play (micro-transactions are cosmetic only).
  • It requires an enormous amount of skill to master, but is fun to play for beginners.
  • Young adults are embracing the game over popular traditional Esports titles like League of Legends.
  • Fortnite could continue its popularity streak if Epic Games follows through on its consistent updates.

The fact that you can view just 5 seconds of a competitive Fortnite game and often-time immediately distinguish a player’s skill level demonstrates just how many “Actions Per Minute” are possible in the real time shoot ’em up video game.

Could High Skill Level Eventually Turn Off Beginning Players?

Much of Fortnite’s eventual success (or failure) in the realm of Esports wagering could come down to how approachable the game becomes for beginning players who are just now learning about the game.

Although Fortnite is easy to grasp, a low-skilled player has virtually zero chance when faced against a superior opponent — even if the casual player has experienced a bit of “RNG run good” to pick up items that could make such a battle interesting.

Could Fortnite Tournaments Work in Tandem with Esports Wagering?

One of the main roadblocks to bringing competitive Esports wagering to young adults is licensure.

Although Fortnite itself is a “free to play” video game that is enjoyed by millions worldwide, setting up a regulatory structure for booking real money bets on tournament action could require states to enact laws that specifically deal with the issues of monitoring and safeguarding wagers placed.

There is also the issue of video game “life cycles,” which could expose Fortnite to a wide range of “Triple A” competition now that major publishers are planning to release their own versions of Battle Royale gameplay in upcoming months.

For now, Fortnite is the undisputed king of competitive video gaming, and could very well spark interest in licensed Esports wagering across the United States.


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