What does a 16-year-old do with US$3 million? Kyle Giersdorf, winner of the inaugural Fortnite World Cup, will soon find out.
The popular online first-person shooter game had its first-ever sporting event at New York City’s Arthur Ashe tennis stadium on Sunday.
More than one million viewers tuned in to watch Giersdorf — whose online player name is “Bugha” — become the highest-winning eSport gamer at any single-player tournament.
“Words can’t really explain it. I’m so happy,” he told CNN. “Everything I’ve done in the grind has all paid off and it’s just insane.”
He told the publication that he’s not sure whether he’ll “gamble it all or invest.”
While it could’ve been anyone’s win, the Pennsylvania native knew he’d won in the final round after finding a safe spot to beat his competitors from. He said it “was pretty much sealed from there.”
After holding up his championship trophy in celebration, he turned around to hug his family.
Giersdorf reigned supreme with an end score of 59 points, a huge lead over the second-place winner.
Harrison “Psalm” Chang, 24, took home US$1.8 million in second place, while Epikwhale — whose real name hasn’t been revealed — won US$1.2 million in third place and Nate “Kreo” Kou, 18, won US$1.05 million.
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In the gaming world, Chang explained, he’s already considered near retirement at 24.
“It’s great representing the old dudes. Experience and composure trump everything,” he said. “Fortnite is a young man’s game, though.”
Chang first became known in the online world as a professional player of Heroes of the Storm, an online multi-player battle arena video game.
Even before his big win, Giersdorf had quite the online following and was well-known in the gaming community.
His Twitter account alone boasts over 200,000 followers, and quite a few of his fans celebrated the win along with him.
One follower joked about what his return to school in the fall will look like, while another questioned why he’d even return to school at all.
Another suggested that he might start receiving an influx of messages with his win…
On Monday, the champion visited “The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon”, where he opened up about his gaming routine and what it was like to win the competition’s inaugural grand prize at age 16. Watch his interview below.
More than 30 nations were represented at the Fortnite World Cup, including several game players from Canada.