A 16-year-old has won $3 million (£2.42m) at the first-ever Fortnite World Cup finals, beating more than 40 million players around the world to win the grand prize, as brands increasingly turn their budgets to eSports sponsorships.
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.
The 10-week online competition was won by Giersdorf playing under the name Bugha. He scored 59 points, 26 more than his nearest competitor psalm.
Fortnite developer Epic Games said the tournament was the “most participated-in tournament of all time”, and with $30 million on the line for the Creative, Celebrity Pro-Am, Duos and Solos events, it was also the largest prize pool in the history of eSports.
Meanwhile, a British Schoolboy won a jackpot in the duos event, splitting a $2.25m (£1.8m) prize pot.
Jaden Ashman, 15, who goes by the gamer name Wolfiez, will share the cash with his Dutch gaming partner David ‘Rojo’ Jong after the duos event in New York.
They were beaten to first place by Norwegian Emil Bergquist Pedersen and Austrian David W, known in the gaming world as Nyhrox and Aqua.
Nyhrox and Aqua got 51 points to Wolfiez and Rojo’s 47.
More than 250 million people have played the game since it launched two years ago, generating $2.4bn (£1.9bn) in revenue in 2018.
With $30m (£24m) to be awarded in total, the prize pool is the biggest given away at an e-sports event – until the annual Dota 2 tournament in August.
More than 40 million people attempted to qualify for the event, which began today and ends Sunday, and guarantees those competing at least $50,000, with the top prize set at $3 million. The majority of players are between the ages of 12 and 16, with no one older than the age of 20.
Epic Games streamed the tournament through its YouTube and Twitch channels. The teams and players are oftewn sponsored by brands, with GrubHub and Wix among the brands backing players at the event.