A $3-million prize may have just made it easier for a parent to shrug off parenting and allow their child to play a game for 10 hours straight. That is exactly what happened with 16-year-old Kyle "Bugha" Giersdorf, the champion of Epic Games’s first Fortnite World Cup who ultimately took home the $3 million grand prize for individual players, the largest-ever payout for a single player in an esports tournament.
It also tops what Tiger Woods took home at this year’s Masters golf tournament, which landed him a little over $2 million. ‘Bugha’, in fact, took home about as much as the winner of Wimbledon.
The Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City with host next month’s U.S. Open tennis tournament, but this past weekend, it was sold out for the first-ever Fortnite World Cup and packed with players and their parents.
The Fortnite World Cup pulled in nearly 9 million online viewers alone for the final day of the competition. More than 40 million people tried out for a slot in the World Cup finals.
A total of around $30 million in prize money was up for grabs at the tournament. Every competitor who qualified won a minimum of $50,000 in prize earnings, which began to scale up once the player placed better than No. 24 in the competition.
"Bugha" Giersdorf defeated well established Fortnite players such as Turner "Tfue" Tenney, Timothy "Bizzle" Miller, Cody "Clix" Conrod, and others whom no one but a Fortnite lover would know.
Veteran player Harrison "Psalm" Chang came second and won $1.8 million. At the age of 24, “Psalm” was the oldest player at the tournament, while the average age of participants was 15.
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"It's great representing the old dudes: Experience and composure trump everything," Chang told CNN Business.
And where it concerns the $3-million prize money, Epic games, the maker of Fortnite, can certainly afford it.
The game, played by more than 200 million players worldwide, earned an estimated $2.4 billion dollars last year, making it the top-grossing free-to-play game in the world.
Last year, Epic announced that it would provide $100 million to fund prize pools for Fortnite competitions for the 2018-2019 season. Prior to that, the biggest tournament prize in e-sport was Valve’s “Dota 2” game, which paid out about $38 million in total prize money in 2017.
Now back to the beginning ...
Giersdorf’s mother told ESPN that Kyle typically played Fortnite eight to 10 hours a day. “This is life-changing for him…He’s been playing video games since he was 3, so this is his passion. He told us he could do this, he put his mind to it and he did it,” she said.
Despite the accomplishment within the gaming community and financial prize, health experts are warning that youth spending too much time in front of gaming consoles can have serious effects on well-being.
In May, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that gaming could be highly addictive and that "gaming disorder"had been added to the latest version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).
In its 2018 findings, Entertainment Software Association (ESA) reported that more than 150 million Americans are playing video games and 64 percent of American households are home to at least one person who plays video games regularly.
And the phenomenon is not only reserved for the U.S.--it’s worldwide. The UK is actually in the lead in terms of hours spent on average per week, followed by the U.S., France, and Germany.
By Michael Scott for Safehaven.com