When Epic Games revealed its first, albeit limited-time, Fortnite ranked play mode last week, it promised more details on competitive play would arrive soon. We now know a little more on Fortnite's future in the professional ranks -- Epic is pumping $100 million into tournament prize pools in the game's first year as an eSport. The official Fortnite competitive scene will kick off this year. Details on how pro play will work are forthcoming, though Epic said in its announcement it is seeking a different approach to eSports: "We plan to be more inclusive, and focused on the joy of playing and watching the game." Grab your gear, drop in and start training.
As Fortnite continues to suck in gamers by the millions, Epic Games has worked hard to keep the game fresh and entertaining, whether players are dropping in for the first or thousandth time. Last month, it committed more than $100 million into Fortnite tournament prize pools and announced its first official esports event: the Fortnite Pro-Am. Popular streamers and YouTubers -- with backgrounds in PUBG, League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Call of Duty and, of course, Fortnite -- joined actors, sports stars and musicians at E3 for a 50-team, 100-person battle royale. Tyler "Ninja" Blevins, the biggest personality in competitive esports right now (helps when you stream with hip-hop megastar Drake), buddied up with EDM DJ Marshmello, YouTuber Ali-A joined Fall Out Boy singer Pete Wentz, while professional gamer Gotaga was accompanied by UFC fighter Demetrious Johnson in a bid to win a $3 million charity prize pool. Before now, enterprising organizers had hosted their own Fortnite eSports tournaments just using the default game.
The Mirai botnet caused serious trouble last fall, first hijacking numerous IoT devices to make a historically massive Distributed Denial-Of-Service (DDoS) attack on KrebsOnSecurity's site in September before taking down a big chunk of the internet a month later. After his site went dark, security researcher Brian Krebs went on a mission to identify its creator, and he thinks he has the answer: Several sources and corroborating evidence point to Paras Jha, a Rutgers University student and owner of DDoS protection provider Protraf Solutions. About a week after attacking the security site, the individual who supposedly launched the attack, going by the username Anna Senpai, released the source code for the Mirai botnet, which spurred other copycat assaults. But it also gave Krebs the first clue in their long road to uncover Anna Senpai's real-life identity -- an investigation so exhaustive, the Krebs made a glossary of cross-referenced names and terms along with an incomplete relational map. The full story is admittedly lengthy, clocking in at over 8000 words, but worth the time to understand how botnet wranglers make money siccing their zombie device armies on unsuspecting targets.
The Japan eSports Association, which promotes the competitive playing of video games, is nudging the sector toward professional status. JeSPA uses the term e-sport to refer to video games ranging from shootout arcade games to team-based tournaments set on a virtual pitch. It is hard to put a figure on the number of enthusiasts worldwide, but around 100 million are thought to play regularly and seriously. The tournament wound up with finals in five games on March 12 and 13 in Toyosu, Tokyo. The finale was a round of the fighting game "Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign-," which attracted 350 players and roughly 1,000 spectators, while more than 10,000 people followed it on Dwango's Nico Nico Live website.