Epic has put a $1 million prize pool on the table for the Fortnite Winter Royale Tournament, "a test event that will emulate the World Cup Qualification process" that's scheduled to get underway later this month. Open qualifiers will run over the weekend of November 24-25, followed by the European finals on November 30-December 1, and the North American finals on December 11-12.
"Several chances" to earn a high score will be offered during the qualifying period, Epic said in the announcement, with the top eligible players invited to take part in the finals for their region. The Winter Royale is restricted to North America and Europe, but Epic said that other region-specific tourneys will be held in other regions "in the near future."
The Winter Royale will use the same rules as the currently available "Pop-Up Cup," a newly-added feature that enables online tournaments built around different game settings, that will appear in the Fortnite Events tab.
"Think of these as the equivalent of Competitive LTMs where we can test large adjustments in a more competitive environment," Epic said. "We plan to iterate and explore different in-game adjustments by closely monitoring competitive play in these Pop-Ups."
Epic also announced fixes and changes to the recently-launched in-game tournament system, including one that was preventing players' point totals from impacting matchmaking, an obvious problem when you're trying to keep things competitive. The fix means that the further you advance in a tournament, the more challenging your games will become, which is as it should be; the bad news is that longer wait times are probably going to result, too.
"Please note that players with many points may have to wait more than 5 minutes to find a suitable match," Epic warned. "We will continue to explore the best fit for competition by adjusting the matchmaking process over time as needed."
The Winter Royale event schedule, and a list of other online tournaments, will be available via the Events tab.
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Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.