The Fortnite World Cup Finals saw 16-year-old Kyle Giersdorf (screen name: “Bugha”) crowned the first solo champion, taking home $3 million. In an indication of how big and enthusiastic the esports audience has become, the event drew 2 million concurrent live streams on Twitch and YouTube.
Thousands of fans also attended the event live at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, NY, the site of the U.S. Open of tennis. In the pairs competition, European duo Emil Bergquist Pedersen (“Nyhrox”) and David Wang (“aqua”) won the $3 million grand prize.
Fortnite, which was released in 2017, has become a massive moneymaker for Epic Games. According to figures from SuperData Research, its Battle Royale version has brought in $2.4 billion. The game is free to download, with players paying for weapons or other items.
Last year, Epic Games vowed to invest $100 million in growing sector of esports, which has become a form of social networking. Players of Fortnite use headsets and communicate with other players, forming teams and waging battle in a 21st century update of Capture the Flag.
The publisher announced onstage over the weekend that it will be incorporating a new competition element in the Season 10 update of Fortnite. Epic says the update will offer gamers “a chance to compete against the best of the best, where every single result matters.”
About 40 million players competed in the World Cup, with their numbers dwindling over the past 10 weeks. Eventually, 100 solo players and 50 pairs were selected for the finals, which had $30 million in total prize money. Giersdorf cruised to the title with 59 points, comfortably ahead of his nearest challenger, who had 33 points.