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Epic and YouTube’s Keemstar are butting heads over weekly Fortnite competitions

It’s hard to ignore Epic taking the time slot of Fortnite’s most popular tournament

Epic Games
Austen Goslin (he/him) is an entertainment editor. He writes about the latest TV shows and movies, and particularly loves all things horror.

Friday Fortnite has been the premier weekly Fortnite tournament online over the last six weeks. Regularly drawing almost 600,000 viewers, the tournament, run by YouTuber Keemstar and UMG, is a wildly popular staple among fans and players. This week for the first time since its launch, however, Friday Fortnite won’t be happening, because Epic has a tournament of its own.

Epic Games — the developers of Fortnite — have started a weekly competitive series for the game known as Summer Skirmish. The competition’s first week pit 100 well known players against each other in custom games, and took place on Saturday meaning it wouldn’t conflict with Friday Fortnite. That event didn’t quite go as Epic had hoped. Now it seems the publisher is switching things up in week two, and that means the addition of Friday nights to the schedule.

Technically, Keemstar could still have hosted Friday Fortnite, but it would have forced players to choose between Epic and the unofficial event. Not to mention the difference in prize pools, which was quite significant.

According to a tweet from Keemstar, “they capped FF [Fortnite Friday] at $20k & are doing events for $500k. I’m not holding the players back.”

Rather than make players choose between his tournament and Epic’s, Keem has elected to cancel Friday Fortnite for the week. Keem is also planning to move Friday Fortnite to Sunday in the future to avoid conflict with future Epic events, according to a video Keem tweeted on Wednesday.

Epic’s second Summer Skirmish week might appear quite a bit like Friday Fortnite in format, but that isn’t exactly the case. The first week of Summer Skirmish simply awarded each match to the duos team that won. Week two will be feature solo competition — unlike Friday Fortnite’s duos — based around points. Friday Fortnite uses a bracket format for its competition, but Epic will allow everyone to compete in an open field style tournament with players queuing for public matches separately and acquiring points in each match they play, and the point total after 10 matches will determine the winner.

The way points are handled is another huge departure from Keemstar’s Friday Fortnite format. In Keemstar’s tournament, teams compete against one another simply to see which team can get the most kills. In this week’s Summer Skirmish, players are awarded five points for a win, one point for each kill and an extra 10 points — not to mention $10,000 — if they get over 20 kills in a single match. It’s a fairly good format, and a very good experiment that can help steer how future events. All these differences might seem small, but they add up to something important: There are a million ways to hold a Fortnite tournament, which means that most of them can exist alongside each other.

It was always likely that Epic might pull down some of the smaller, non-official tournaments in its wake when the publisher first came into the Fortnite competitive space with its own official tournament. Still, it’s disappointing to see a tournament that has quickly become a community mainstay pushed aside so Epic can host it own competition on a second day. With the community and streamers’ good will — not to mention Keem’s social media power behind it — UMG’s Fortnite tournaments are likely to stick around for quite a while, but Sunday Fortnite just doesn’t have the same ring to it.