The highly anticipated and fought for Fortnite World Cup Solo Finals kicked off at 1 pm ET (8 pm EAT) yesterday in New York and after a stiff competition and some of the most unexpected victories ever, it might be safe to say that the popular online survival shooter game, developed and published by Epic Games, has now made its name in the cultural firmament by wrapping up its first “World Cup” which saw the company give away $30 million in prizes.
One of the most notable factors about the tournament was that however big, it was anyone’s game. It didn’t matter how famous a player was nor what large organization was backing each member of the playing field. The main highlight of this was one particular player, Kyle ‘Bugha’ Giersdorf, aged 16, who had gradually been making a name for himself ever since the first round, humiliatingly beating out other pro players and famous streamers. The positive progress then got him this weekend to New York’s Arthur Ashe tennis stadium where he bagged a $3 million grand prize for solo players.
Having secured the largest pay-out ever for a single player in any esports tournament, ‘Bugha’ himself could not believe the milestone he had achieved at such a young age. “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.”
The young player secured a victory in the first round and nine in-game kills. He then went on to rack up dozens of in-game kills each round, until he ended up with 59 points — a huge lead over the second-place winner.
This is the future.
Our 16 year old player just won $3,000,000.
Let that sink in.
— Sentinels (@Sentinels) July 28, 2019
By the time he earned a place in the last round, he had already found a safe spot to scope out enemies and collect a lot of loot to use as ammunition making his championship ‘pretty much sealed from there’. But that never took away the excitement the young lad had as he immediately ran to celebrate with his family that had travelled a long way to cheer and watch him play.
And if you thought the list of winners after him were too old, then think again. In second place, 24-year-old Harrison “Psalm” Chang — a former professional Heroes of the Storm player — won $1.8 million. Epikwhale(who has not disclosed his full name publicly) went home with $1.2million in third place as Nate “Kreo” Kou, 18, from Parkland, Florida, won $1.05 million after he came up in fourth place. And get this, Chang was one of the oldest competitors in the finals at 24.
Even he had to admit that it was good “representing the old dudes” as “experience and composure trump everything.” With Fortnite being a “young man’s game”, he pretty much tried his all to secure at least a second-place against all the other youngsters, an impressive achievement nevertheless.
Congrats to all of our winners this weekend at the #FortniteWorldCup Finals
— Fortnite (@FortniteGame) July 28, 2019
All this comes alongside another victorious young player, Jade Ashman from the UK who split $2.25 million ($1.8 million) with his Dutch partner, Dave Jong, after the team of two won the second place in the duos section of the World Cup.
When asked about his gaming experience, the 15-year-old, who goes by the name ‘Wolfiez’ told of how he had been at loggerheads with his mother as she never understood how it worked and why he spent so much time (eight hours a day) in his room on the game. But he wouldn’t hide the ecstatic feeling he had now that he had proven her wrong by becoming a millionaire through the very thing she had grown to hate.
When asked, his mother said, “If I’m honest with you I’ve been quite against him gaming. I’ve been pushing him to do his schoolwork. I’ve actually thrown out an Xbox out, snapped a headset, we’ve had a nightmare.”
And even with such ‘nightmares’ being experienced all over, it begs the question of whether professional gaming should now be a real sport all over including African countries where parents should be as supportive with their children as the ones that choose to be athletes in other fields. After all, not everyone can be a lawyer or a doctor.