Epic Games bans Russian players from Fortnite tournaments with cash prizes

The Fortnite team at Epic Games announced today Fortnite players residing in Russia are no longer eligible to participate in Fortnite competitive tournaments that feature cash prizes. The ruling will go into effect on March 11.

Per the announcement, players will still be able to “earn in-game cosmetic prizes.” Any Russian players that have not claimed winnings from previous events will have to complete the prize verification process before March 22. Any unclaimed cash prizes will be “frozen until Epic’s payment service provider is able to resume prizing support for players residing in Russia.”

The wording of the announcement indicates this is not a decision Epic Games is making voluntarily, but rather one they’re being forced to make. It is likely the company or institution Epic does payouts through is unwilling to pay Russian players or is unable to due to sanctions against the country.

The announcement was made exactly two weeks after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began. Epic is the latest in a string of companies, devs, and tournament organizers that have stopped doing business with Russia in the wake of the invasion. Just in the past week, Nintendo, Bungie, Sony, YouTube, Twitch, EA, Apple, Activision Blizzard, AMD, Intel, and numerous others have halted sales or services in Russia. A few days ago, Epic halted sales and commerce for its products in Russia.

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Other companies have taken a more proactive approach to the invasion. Devs Hi-Rez Studios and Riot Games have donated money to the Ukrainian crisis, and Liquid’s WoW guild is raising money during their Race to World First event, among others.