Hugely popular online shooter Fortnite is to offer a world-record prize pot of $100 million.

Publisher Epic Games announced in a blog post that the fund – equivalent to £74m – would be offered for the 2018-19 ‘season’, due to begin later this year.

The biggest sum of money ever offered for a video game tournament, it is seen as an attempt to move the game from simple competitive play and into eSports.

Fornite: Battle Royale is the breakaway gaming hit of 2018, with over 40 million users. One hundred players are dropped into a level and attempt to be the longest to survive by killing each other and building structures out of materials scavenged in the game.

It can be played on consoles or ‘free to play’ mobile devices with in-app purchases.

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"Fortnite Competitors! Grab your gear, drop in and start training. Since the launch of Fortnite Battle Royale we've watched the passion for community competition grow and can't wait to empower you to battle with the best,” read the blog post.

"We're getting behind competitive play in a big way, but our approach will be different – we plan to be more inclusive, and focused on the joy of playing and watching the game."

According to analysts Superdata, Fortnite is the biggest free-to-play console game ever in terms of revenue and monthly active users.

In March it generated $223 million on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and iOS.