Kyle Giersdorf celebrates after winning the Fortnite World Cup solo final at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City, US. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/AFP/MIKE STOBE
Kyle Giersdorf celebrates after winning the Fortnite World Cup solo final at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City, US. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/AFP/MIKE STOBE

New York — American teenager Kyle Giersdorf won $3m 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 $30m 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 on Twitter.

“Everything I’ve done, the grind, it’s all paid off. It’s just insane.”

Giersdorf did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Launched in 2017, the popularity of Fortnite ’has helped Epic Games reach a $15bn-valuation in 2018. It competes with other games such as Electronic Arts’ Apex Legends and Battlegrounds of Tencent Holdings’ PlayerUnknown. Tencent also owns a 40% stake in Epic Games.

Global revenues from esports, or professional video game competitions, will hit $1.1bn in 2019, up 27% since 2018, thanks to ballooning revenues from advertising, sponsorship and media rights, according to a report released earlier in 2019.

Overall, the global video and electronic games market, excluding revenues from esports, will generate $152.1bn in 2019, up 9.6% over 2018, according to a report by gaming analytics firm Newzoo.

Reuters