Fortnite has slapped just over 1,200 World Cup players with week-long bans for cheating.
Epic Games seems to be taking Fortnite’s World Cup Tournament seriously - perhaps even more seriously than Ninja takes the reporting of players whom he believes to be guilty of stream sniping. For those earnestly out to win some green alongside their victory royales, this is obviously a good thing. Yet, Epic claims to have caught more than a thousand cheaters in the first week of the tournament alone, which speaks volumes of its ability to suss out ne'er do wells, as well as the integrity of the competitive Fortnite scene.
Slated to run from mid-April to mid-June, these competitions offer the chance for some lucky single or duo players to earn million-dollar prizes. A massive thirty million dollar prize pool is promised to the winner of the Fortnite World Cup Finals, which are scheduled to take place in New York City at the end of July. Nobody wants to see those who’ve cheated their way to victory take home the prize, and Epic thus far seems to have taken every precaution to deter would-be scammers from participating in the event.
Epic’s site boasts that it has slapped a two-week ban on the accounts of over 1,2000 cheaters so far, with that number due to increase as the days go by. The vast majority of those Epic found to be guilty committed region locking violations. This means that these players likely used VPN software or some other means to participate in several competitions per day in different timezones, which is an obvious unfair advantage over those playing by the rules. It’s important to note that, of the cheaters who’ve been corralled so far, region locking violators were the most common.
A handful of competitors have been caught doing more harmful activities, such as account sharing, teaming, and intentionally disconnecting from matches. The punishments seem to vary on a case-by-case basis, but a vast majority of those caught in the act were slapped with a fourteen-day Fortnite ban.
It’s also important to note that, of the more than one thousand cheaters caught, two hundred-some were prize winners. Of course, they were required to rescind their earnings, but it’s strange to think that so many players managed to corrupt competitions before Epic could intervene.
Perhaps the most notable ban to come from this event happened when Twitch streamer and Team Kaliber member JonnyK was caught using external software to see other player’s locations in-game. Interestingly enough, JonnyK, also known as Jonathan Kosmala, was exposed by the person who made the mod in the first place, an entity known as CBV. While CBV reportedly doesn’t mind selling the software to non-professional players, it took such an issue with its use in a tournament setting that it chose to expose JonnyK’s wrongdoing on YouTube.
JonnyK later stated that he was “looking for a competitive advantage so he could receive the money.” This clearly wasn’t a risk worth taking, as the ex-Fortnite pro player stood to lose quite a lot more than he had to gain in this instance, and it should go without saying that he has since been axed from Kaliber.
Cheating isn’t anything new in the world of gaming, and software manipulation and deceit can be traced back all the way to the days of the Atari 2600. With a tournament as big as Epic Games’ Fortnite World Cup, issues such as these were bound to happen.
While the thirty million dollar prize pool is still theoretically up for grabs, Epic will remain responsible for sussing out dishonest players and maintaining the integrity of its worldwide competition. Nothing could damage the game’s reputation more than allowing a cheater to take home one of the most coveted gaming-related prizes of the modern era.