- The US dominates in overall earnings by country, raking in more than $35,000,000.
- France are second with over $5,000,000, followed by the UK, Canada & Sweden.
- Austria leads the way in average earnings per player at over $112,000, 65% higher than nearest rival Belarus.
- The average Fortnite pro in Austria earns nearly 550% more than in the US, whose average is only $17,338 due to the high number of pro players.
The game first appeared in July 2017 in a cooperative play iteration known as Save the World. But it was the arrival of Fortnite Battle Royale later that year that saw the game skyrocket in the popular consciousness. This version, where up to 100 players fight it out for supremacy, garnered over 10 million players within its first few weeks, confirming the popularity of the battle royale format. In March 2018, Fortnite was the focus of a much-watched Twitch stream where music artists Drake and Travis Scott, along with Pittsburgh Steelers player JuJu Smith-Schuster, played the game alongside superstar streamer Tyler Blevins, aka Ninja.
The record-breaking viewing figures for Ninja’s stream was instrumental in Fortnite’s evolution as an esport, with Epic Games quickly announcing a Fortnite tournament at that year’s E3 industry event which would bring together 100 celebrities and professional gamers. Not long after that, Epic broke the news it would be ploughing $100 million into prize pools for Fortnite tournaments during its first year as an esport alone.
The first Fortnite World Cup finals took place the following summer at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, New York, where 16-year-old Pennsylvanian gamer Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf won the $3 million grand prize. Bugha remains the top-earning Fortnite player by some distance. According to the latest data, Bugha has earnt almost $3.2 million so far, while the number two spot is taken by Austria’s David “Aqua” Wang, who’s not quite broken the $2 million mark.
These two star players’ nationalities reflect two key Fortnite metrics which see the United States and Austria respectively reign supreme.
First, in terms of total Fortnite esports earnings by country, the US is by far the biggest winner. It has raked in more than $35 million, a figure that towers over the second highest-earning nation, France, which has made $5.2 million. The UK comes in at third place, with revenues of $4.5 million, while Canada and Sweden round off the top five with around $3.9 million and $2.9 million in respective earnings.
The dominance of the US with regards to total earnings is partly rooted in the nation’s number of professional Fortnite players – well over 2,000. For that same reason, the US ranks fairly low when it comes to average earnings per player. Europe dominates here, with Austria coming top of the pile. Its far smaller contingent of 25 Fortnite pros earn on average $112,500 each. Belarus, which has only three Fortnite professionals, takes third place with average player earnings of around $67,900 each.