Fnatic’s CEO Sam Mathews saw most of his Fortnite roster depart the legendary esports organization on February 14. After wishing the players well, he turned his sights toward Epic Games and how they’ve handled the competitive scene.
It may be Valentine’s Day, but that doesn’t mean that love has to be a given. But depending on how you view them, the statements from one of Fnatic’s founders could be viewed as a form of “tough love.”
After saying goodbye to three members of the organization’s active Fortnite roster, Fnatic CEO Sam Mathews addressed the team’s commitment to the game, but indicated his belief that Epic’s commitment to the competitive scene is lacking.
Guys we still massively believe in the potential of Fortnite competitive. But I'm not sure Epic always feels the same way. We speak with all publishers, work with them on driving esports. Epic doesnt feel it needs us. We're here, open, & ready to help drive @FortniteGame. Use us.
— Sam Mathews (@sammathews) February 14, 2020
Mathews touts Fnatic’s commitment to competitive Fortnite, but argues that Epic doesn’t “always feel the same way.” He also implies that there’s a lack of communication between even top teams and the developer, arguing that they speak with other publishers to help them drive esports forward.
Just hours before, Mathews and Fnatic said goodbye to Derman "MOTOR" Özdemir, Theo "Pr0vokd" Guillemenot, and Jacob "verox" Gilbert. All three Fortnite players had decided to let their contracts run out and not re-sign.
Pr0vokd indicated on his announcement tweet that he is looking to now represent and organization that is “supportive, and wants to take the next step with me.” MOTOR’s initial tweet appeared like he was taking shots at FNATIC, but he clarified in a follow-up that the team’s vision for the game differed from reality.
Fnatic didn't kick us because there was no "money". That message was for orgs paying people and kicking them as soon as they see no value in them. Fnatic had a different vision for Fortnite in 2018/2019. I loved a lot of people there but bussiness is bussiness.
— ATLANTIS MOTOR (@FNATIC_MOTOR) February 14, 2020
In a reply to verox’s tweet, Mathews revealed that the “team’s plans around Fortnite are toned down.” After the departures, Fnatic only have two active Fortnite players on their roster.
Like many other organizations, the team is likely adjusting to Epic’s focus on individual and personality rather than the competitive scene. With the exception of perhaps the World Cup, few competitive events get the focus that other Fortnite content receives.
The first World Cup was a bit of a blow for organizations fielding Fortnite teams, as only Solos, Duos, and Creative events were announced. Many participants for each event weren’t even representing any sports organizations.
While viewership and gross revenue numbers are certainly doing well, excitement for competitive Fortnite isn’t. Most attention on events is focused more on the personalities attending, whether they be celebrities or streaming stars.
If Mathews is right in saying that Epic feels like it doesn’t need to work with esports organizations, then other teams focused more on competing than content may not be able to hold onto their players either.