I’ll fess up to occasionally half-watching something on my second screen while playing competitive games, but I’m not sure how I feel about Epic Games planning to show players competitive Fortnite while they’re already playing Fortnite. When the Fortnite World Cup Finals kick off on Friday, see, people who are already playing Fortnite will get to fill a corner of their screen with a World Cup video stream. Weird. We are building a weird future.
The picture-in-picture will show the official English stream while you play, large enough for you to follow what’s going on and probably also large enough to distract you. It’ll be enabled for all players by default during the World Cup Finals, for your inconvenience.
“Unfortunately for this version, we will not have subtitles or captions available,” Epic say in the announcement. Which might suggest it’s something they’ll consider for future PiP broadcasts?
I can’t tell if Epic think A) that the Fortnite World Cup is so gripping that people will want to watch it even if they’re literally playing the same game, or B) that the World Cup is so bland that people won’t watch it unless they occupy themselves with another task too, or C) that both Fortnite and the World Cup are so amazingly good that fans will be unable to pick between watching and playing. I’m deep in camp B myself.
What I’ve seen of Epic’s attempts to turn their mega-hit battle royale shooter into a mega-hit digital sport has been well rubbo. A $1 million tournament in winter was ruined by overpowered swords and irritating planes that Epic had blithely added shortly before the competition. They’ve eased up on adding big things right before big competitions, at least. They still have not solved the problems of seeing battle royale as a spectator, of clearly showing important information, of giving a sense of a match’s flow, of… I find it boring to watch.
But hey, Epic are trying to make it take off, one way or another. They put $100 million up as prizes for various tournaments and competitions in the first year of competitive play. They do have, perhaps you’ve heard, so very much money.