Last weekend, Epic Games held its very first Fortnite World Cup at the Ashe Stadium in New York City. At the tournament, professional players from all over the world tested their skills in the battle royale game, and they were all vying for a slice of the $30 million prize pool. In the end, it was a 16-year old that bested everyone else and became the first-ever Fortnite World Cup champion, winning the Solo Finals and pocketing a hefty $3 million prize in the process.
Kyle Giersdorf, who’s best known by Fortnite players as “Bugha,” topped the 40 million players who participated in the online tournament. These millions were reduced down to just 100, and these players went head-to-head last Sunday at the Ashe Stadium.
Giersdorf easily dominated the solo portion of this tournament, scoring 59 points. To note, the runner-up, Harrison “Psalm” Chang, only managed to score 33 points. Bugha’s social media accounts, including Twitter and YouTube, have grown miraculously in followers after his Fortnite World Cup win. He's part of the Sentinels, an esports organization from Los Angeles.
“Words can’t even explain it. I’m just so happy,” said Giersdorf in an interview. “Everything I’ve done, the grind, it’s all paid off. It’s just insane.”
The 16-year-old spends around 10 hours a day playing Fortnite, his mother, Darcy Giersdorf, said in an interview. His usual regimen involves having a specific Wawa sandwich and Gatorade before any major online matches.
"Today was pretty much shrimp, Powerade, and also water," Bugha told ESPN.
Bugha’s entire family traveled from Pennsylvania to New York to show their support for the teen.
“I literally feel like I’m in a dream right now,” said his mother. “It’s so surreal. … 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.”
A large number of children and their parents attended the World Cup, while more than a million viewers watched it online via Twitch and YouTube. Fortunately, everyone who took part in the tournament on Sunday took home at least $50,000, even those who didn’t score a single point. This definitely makes the Fortnite World Cup one of the biggest esports tournaments so far. Epic Games also announced that there will be more competitive tournaments throughout the year.
Fortnite is out now in early access for Android, iOS, PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One.