American teenager Kyle Giersdorf won US$3 million on Sunday after taking the top prize in a tournament in New York for the popular online video game Fortnite.
Giersdorf, 16, from Pennsylvania, was one of at least 100 players competing for US$30 million in total prize money, as the booming popularity of video and online games has drawn top-dollar investments and fuelled the emerging professional sport.
Playing under the name “Bugha,” Giersdorf won the solo finals portion of the Fortnite World Cup by scoring 59 points, 26 more than his nearest competitor “psalm,” according to the Fortnite World Cup Leaderboard, posted on the game’s website.
“Words can’t even explain it. I’m just so happy,” Giersdorf said in an interview at the event at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, New York, posted by organisers online. “Everything I’ve done, the grind, it’s all paid off. It’s just insane.”
Launched in 2017, Fortnite’s popularity helped Epic Games reach a US$15-billion-valuation last year. It competes with other games like Electronic Arts’ Apex Legends and Tencent Holdings’s PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Tencent also owns a 40 per cent stake in Epic Games.
Global revenues from e-sports, or professional video game competitions, will hit US$1.1 billion in 2019, up 27 per cent since last year, thanks to ballooning revenues from advertising, sponsorship and media rights, according to a report released earlier this year.
Overall, the global video and electronic games market, excluding revenues from e-sports, will generate US$152.1 billion in 2019, up 9.6 per cent over last year, according to a report by gaming analytics firm Newzoo.