Some adolescents supplement their income by mowing lawns or babysitting for others. Kyle Giersdorf, a 16-year-old from Pennsylvania, put them all to shame by winning $3 million in a Fortnite tournament in front of thousands of people.
Budha is Kyle's online Fortnite Battle Royale alias, and he knocked off 99 other players on Sunday to win the solo competition in the first Fortnite World Cup, which was hosted at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York. Kyle is a member of Team Epic Games.
The fact that that venue remained open despite the fact that it is best known for hosting the world's top tennis players at the United States Open, which will begin next month, was a testament to the incredible popularity of Fortnite, a game that allows as many as 100 players to gather on a virtual island and battle it out until only one remains.
According to the game's publisher, Epic Games, the game has over 250 million registered players, with around 40 million of them taking part in the World Cup's online qualifiers this summer. Tickets for the weekend event range in price from $50 to $150.
When asked about his confidence, Kyle said in an interview on Monday that it had increased as the situation played out. “I certainly went into the tournament with the goal of finishing in the top 20, but after that big first game, I knew I had a chance to win,” he added. He claimed he participated in a total of six games, each of which lasted about 23 minutes.
In his statement, he said that he had been playing Fortnite for two years and that his father, Glenn Giersdorf, had introduced him to the game. (They reside in a town west of Philadelphia, but Kyle refused to provide any more information.)
Kyle's sole competitive game is this one, and he enjoys it very much. The moment he saw it, he thought to himself, "This seems like something I'd be interested in playing." “And I simply began playing with my buddies, and it turned out to be very enjoyable. I began to play every day after that.”
He now spends six to eight hours a day, five days a week, in his room, playing video games.
In a statement released by Kyle's management firm, Sentinel, the corporation claimed that Kyle's $3 million payouts were the biggest individual award in e-sports history. This prize money was also comparable to that given by more conventional sports tournaments, like the United States Open, where the singles winners in the men's and women's singles divisions would each take home $3,850,000 in cash.
Comparison to other esports
According to Esports Earnings, a community-driven rankings website, Kyle is one of just a handful of other professional gamers who has made more than he has. According to ESPN, the guy that ranks first on this list is Kuro Salehi Takhasomi, also known as "KuroKy," who has earned a total of $4.2 million since beginning his professional poker career in 2010. (His preferred game is Dota 2, which is another multiplayer online combat arena.)
“I certainly want to save the money and put it toward my future,” Kyle expressed his desire to do so. “Make certain that the money is secure in my possession.”
He has said that he intends to spend on a new desk.
Kyle finished with a total of 59 points throughout the event. According to Fortnite Intel, Harrison Chang, a 24-year-old Orange County, Calif., native who goes by the name "Psalm," finished in second place with 33 points and earned $1.8 million for his efforts. According to the statement that he has pinned to the top of his Twitter account, "There is no friggin way I just earned 1.8 million..."
After the competition, he raced around the room, giggling, for almost ten minutes. “I went insane,” Mr. Chang said on Monday. When he dropped out of the University of California, Los Angeles in 2016, he decided to devote his time to gaming full-time. He has accumulated a total of 19 years of gaming experience.
Mr. Chang, who is presently living with his family but intends to move out in the near future, is unsure of what he would do with his prize money. “I've always been a thrifty person, and I'm not really into spending a lot of money,” he said. “However, I want to utilize it in some way to earn more money.”
Taking third place was Shane Cotton, a 16-year-old from Redondo Beach, California, who goes by the alias "Epikwhale," and he ended with 32 points. It was his first big tournament, and he came away with $1.2 million prize money. He dismissed it as "a couple of hundred dollars" on Twitter.
According to Shane, during the school year, he practices six to eight hours per day, and over the summer, he increases his practice time to about 10 hours per day. It was a huge comfort for him to be able to play well in the World Cup, he remarked afterward. "I've been putting in long hours every day. " It is just a matter of trying to improve and becoming more prepared for this tournament.” He intends to preserve the majority of his earnings, but he also wants to spend part of them on clothing and shoes.
Kyle said that he was acquainted with the other top players in the tournament, but that he did not communicate with them on a regular basis.
His typical training regimen, he said, involves warming up his hands, contacting friends to discuss methods to improve upon, viewing videos of the game, and participating in scrimmages with other players. He will make every effort to combine that demanding schedule with his high school coursework, where he will be a junior this fall.
“It's a little bit more difficult to maintain control throughout the school year,” Kyle said. “It's a little on and off at times. Normally, I strive to maintain consistency, although it may be difficult with schoolwork.”
He said that his family was proud of him and that they were not concerned about the time he spent gaming since he was earning money. It hasn't taken over his life, and it has had a good impact on him, as well as aided in the formation of new friendships, according to him. While not playing Fortnite, Kyle prefers to spend his free time with his family and friends, according to his statement. It's just that I want to keep in contact with them.
According to a study by SuperData, a market research company owned by Nielsen, the success of Fortnite, which was launched in 2017, contributed to a 13 percent increase in income for the video game industry and other interactive media last year, reaching about $120 billion. According to the study, Fortnite was the most popular free-to-play game in 2018, raking in $2.4 billion in revenue and being referred to as "a worldwide phenomenon" by the press.
All of this is encouraging for Kyle's ambitions to build a profession out of gaming. “I want to continue playing and to work on building my brand,” he added.
He intends to attend the Fortnite World Cup, which will take place next year. “For sure, whatever contests that arise out of Fortnite, I will make every effort to participate in,” he said.