Epic Games has come under fire several times in recent months for failing to pay competitive players for victories and services. In a new blog post, they’ve put forth a new plan to better deliver payments to players.
Let’s be honest. Competitive Fortnite has been having a rough ride lately due to some serious payment scandals. These include accusations from a variety of competitive players including winners from Winter Royale & Summer Skirmish and the Australian Open .
In an attempt to clear things up and admit to their shortcomings, Epic Games has released an extensive new competitive blog post on payments.
Payment Process Improvements
Due to the scandals of players not receiving payment, Epic wants to reassure current and upcoming competitive players that this will not happen in the future.
The first step in Epic’s plan to rethink the Fortnite prize payment system is a series of improvements to help with information gathering and communication.
“Our primary areas of focus for improvements to the Competitive Payment process include: (i) providing players with status updates, via email, on a regular basis; (ii) creating a more intuitive landing page and payment flow that allows players to more easily track the status of their payments; and (iii) enabling players to more easily make changes to their information. Find more details on the upcoming changes below:”
This three pronged plan is how Epic hopes to ensure that players understand what is expected of them. In return, Epic will provide faster, direct updates on payments to the players at reasonable intervals.
“We will now be sending regular email updates on payment status to players.
- Please note that all communication and payment information will be processed via the email associated with your winning EpicID.”
While we want to commend Epic’s obvious efforts to improve, we must point out that these procedures should have been in place from the beginning. The post continues with more information about how Epic will achieve a better future for competitive payments.
- “The tax
information verification process and “Prize Acceptance and Release Form”
segments will now be combined into the same location.
minor players, their parent/guardian will also need to provide their
email and phone number to accept the payment on behalf of the minor.
- Note: The minor is still considered the prize recipient and will be issued a 1099-Misc or 1042-S, as applicable, by Epic.
- Tax verification can take up to two weeks.
- Once the tax information verification process has been completed, players will only need to agree to the consent form for future events.
- For minor players, their parent/guardian will also need to provide their email and phone number to accept the payment on behalf of the minor.
- Future improvements will enable players to more easily update their information without the need for assistance from Player Support. This includes updates to a player’s tax ID, tax country, address, and name.
- On the payment portal, we will also be clearly displaying to players the events they’ve qualified for, the prize (pre-tax) that they’ve won, the amount taxed, the net payout they’ve received, and the status of their tax verification and payment.“
The above information does give a sense of Epic’s genuine regret over their past inadequacies. Detailed information about taxes, player support, and payment amounts should be a no-brainer in all esports leagues.
All these improvements are said to be “coming soon” and no specific ETA has been given.
‘New Payment Flow’ for prize winners
In addition to these procedural improvements, Epic wants to implement a whole new ‘Payment Flow System’ and interface. The new system will show prize winners a clear visual flow of their current payment status.
The new concept is very reminiscent of how UPS and FedEx display their deliveries for customers. The payment flow system will be made in partnership with HyperWallet.
“Once the Tax Interview and consent form process have been completed and approved, you’ll receive an Account Activation email from HyperWallet. After accepting this email, you’ be prompted to follow the HyperWallet process for providing payment information.
After the payment verification process has been completed and approved, players will be able to track the status of their payment on HyperWallet (Created, Pending Action, Processing, Released). More information on this flow will be provided once it becomes available.”
Info for unpaid winners from events before April 2019
Epic Games ended the major blog post with information regarding those players who have not been paid from events before April 2019.
These would include all the players that have complained about being unpaid from Winter Royale, Summer Skirmish, and beyond.
Here’s Epic’s full statement on the matter:
“If you won a prize in a tournament prior to April 2019, you will still need to continue using our existing payment flow. Our Player Support agents have begun actively reaching out to any players who have yet to submit payment information to help them through the process.
To track folks down, we’re sending an email to all accounts associated with a winning EpicID who have not submitted the required information or who have yet to be paid. In this email, we’re including specific instructions regarding payment next-steps, along with contact information for a Player Support agent to help guide you through the process.
We’re also sending in-game messages via the Gift Box system to inform players which email address they need to check to continue the payment process.
Players who became eligible for a prize from an event that occurred after April 1, 2019, will be able to use the improved payment process described above once they become available.“
This new information does seem very positive for both the future of Fortnite esports and the unpaid players.
In all honesty, many of these players should have been contacted and paid long before this. With that said, it’s good to see that Epic has a solid plan for the future.
The end of the post includes some contact information for players that need additional assistance.
“For further assistance regarding the Competitive Payment process, please send an email to email@example.com. A Player Support agent will be assigned to your case once we receive your email, so be sure to keep an eye on your email for a response.“
Original post from Epic Games can be viewed in full on Fortnite.com.
While the post doesn’t immediately take care of every payment problem, it makes it clear that Epic is done messing around with payments. They know they’ve messed up in the past and are seeking to deliver a much improved system for the Fortnite World Cup and future events.