Epic Games and PlayVS announced on Wednesday a partnership to introduce an official competitive circuit for Fortnite to U.S. high schools and colleges. This marks the first time Fortnite will have an official competitive series at the high school level and the first time it will have an officially sanctioned collegiate format with a season-capping national championship.

PlayVS, a software company that builds competitive experiences around games, has previously partnered with Epic-owned Psyonix to offer competitions of the game Rocket League. This marks its first foray into competitions at the collegiate level.

The high school competitive circuit will consist of six conferences assigned to the six time zones of the United States — Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific, Alaska and Hawaii — while the collegiate circuit will feature one all-encompassing conference. Each conference will hold a championship event to decide its winner.

Registration for varsity competition at the high school level is Feb. 17, while collegiate registration starts Feb. 24. An eight-week season commences Feb. 26 for high schools and March 4 for colleges.

Each week, players will compete as duos in private lobbies against other duos in their conference. Over a period of two hours, with a maximum of seven games played, teams will accrue points for the week. The scoring formula is as follows, according to a news release:

Scoring Formula

Victory Royale: 10 Points
2nd - 3rd: 7 Points
4th - 7th: 5 Points
8th - 12th: 3 Points
Each Elimination: 1 Point
Tiebreakers will be determined in the order presented here: (1) total points scored; (2) total Victory Royales in the session; (3) average eliminations in the session; (4) average placement per match in the session; finally (5) total seconds survived across all matches; and finally (6) a coin flip.
Per Epic Games and PlayVS

The top three teams in each conference each week will earn a playoff spot, up to a total of 24 teams, with the remaining 18 teams including the highest-scoring non-automatic qualifiers from the season leaderboard. Each school may have up to three automatic qualifying teams for the playoffs and three more that qualify via the leaderboard.

As Fortnite’s esports existence continues to evolve in the aftermath of its inaugural World Cup last summer, the game’s official push into the college level is notable — likewise for the collegiate introduction of PlayVS — given the NCAA’s inability and/or unwillingness to integrate esports alongside its traditional sports competitions. That has been in part due to esports prize money and sponsorships for top competitors conflicting with NCAA rules regarding amateurism.

As such, collegiate esports have largely been offered through a number of competing organizations either owned by or partnered with game publishers. One such organization, the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) announced in December a Fortnite competition slated to begin in February. That competition was not officially sanctioned by Epic Games, however. Epic is currently in discussions with NACE about that particular competition, according to an Epic spokesperson.

correction

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the top four teams in each conference each week will earn a playoff spot, up to a total of 32 teams.

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