Esports is becoming
big business, with leagues, video networks and brands, all looking for a piece of the pie.
Game publishers have a pretty big stake in its success as well. For a publisher, a game that catches fire in the esports world can mean relevance for years, well beyond the lifespan of most titles.
Now Epic Games, the publisher of the wildly popular multiplayer game “Fortnite,” is getting into the fray.
The company has hired Nate Nanzer to lead its esports efforts, which will include professionalizing and building out an esports community around “Fortnite.”
Nanzer had been the commissioner of the Overwatch League, a league owned by game publisher Activision-Blizzard, based on the game ‘Overwatch.’
Overwatch League has been one of the most successful efforts yet by a game publisher to turn a hit multiplayer game into an esports franchise. Coca-Cola,
AB-InBev, Toyota and T-Mobile are among the brands that have signed on as league sponsors.
Overwatch League games have streamed on platforms like Twitch, but also appear on TV thanks to a multiyear deal between Blizzard and ESPN.
“Fortnite” is set to host live competitions later this summer, as it tries to build out its esports presence. With Nanzer at the helm, the company is hoping for similar results to the success he helped build with “Overwatch.”