Kyle ‘Bugha’ Giersdorf from Pennsylvania dominated the finals at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York, beating many better-known players in the Solos event. 16-year-old has won $3 million (£2.42m) at the Fortnite World Cup finals, beating more than 40 million players around the world to the grand prize.
“Words can’t really explain it. I’m so happy,” Giersdorf said. “Everything I’ve done in the grind has all paid off and it’s just insane.”
In the second place, 24-year-old Harrison “Psalm” Chang — a former professional Heroes of the Storm player — won $1.8 million. Epikwhale took third, winning $1.2 million. He has not publicly disclosed his full name. In fourth, Nate “Kreo” Kou, 18, from Parkland, Florida, won $1.05 million.
At 24, Chang was one of the oldest player competing on Sunday.
Prize money is the most ever offered in an eSports tournament. Every player competing at the Fortnite World Cup finals won at least $50,000 just for qualifying.
For those who’ve never played the game or aren’t aware of its existence. Fortnite is an online video game developed by Epic Games and released in 2017. Fortnite involves dropping 100 players onto an island where they have to find weapons, build bases and try and eliminate the competition until only one player’s left standing. It is among the most popular brand in the world of online gaming.
What makes Fortnite unique is the building aspect of the game. Players can scavenge materials such as wood, metal and brick to create walls, ramps and floors to quickly build their own forts, hence the name. These structures help protect players from bullets and can provide vantage points against opponents. The best Fortnite players are not just good with a gun, but they can also build quickly to defend themselves.
The tournament wasn’t just about solo-play. The company had different rounds for the duos competition featuring two-player teams. That competition, which ended on Saturday, also featured a $3 million prize pool and was won by the European duo of Emil “Nyhrox” Bergquist Pedersen and David “Aqua” W.
The company put in their best effort to make the tournament successful, which pulled in nearly 9 million viewers for the final day of the competition on YouTube alone.
Fortnite’s big moment is also a big deal for competitive esports in the world. The biggest prize pool for an esports event in the U.S. was likely meant to plant a flag and show that competitive gaming is something that can capture the attention of a younger audience.