One of the weekend’s biggest sporting events was the Fortnite World Cup, which came to a conclusion on Sunday when 16-year-old Kyle Giersdorf, better known as “Bugha”, breezed through the competition to win a cool $3 million.
That $3 million is more than the winners of Wimbledon, the Kentucky Derby, and The Open took home.
This is what the earnings of the top 10 looked like, with participants finishing 21-100 all receiving $50,000 each:
The idea of this undoubtedly is making the heads of some elders spin. Not only are they playing video games in Arthur Ashe Stadium — a place of tennis greatness every September — but they’re handing out $3 million to the WINNER? And hundreds of thousands to RUNNERS UP? The AUDACITY, they’ll say.
The War Against Fortnite has been going on for quite some time. A quick search of the internet, and you’ll find numerous hit pieces against the game, the most recently memorable one coming from the Wall Street Journal:
Fortnite doesn’t hold a candle to my boyhood games of ‘fort night,’ writes Mike Kerrigan. https://t.co/lFprXaDOp7— WSJ Editorial Page (@WSJopinion) June 25, 2019
Many sports teams have also blamed the game as a distraction in their locker rooms, or reasons why guys like David Price might not be recovering from injury as they should be.
Some athletes, like Trevor May and Josh Hart, have made it a regular part of their brands. In fact, I would argue May is more famous for his Fortnite abilities than his talents as a Major League Baseball pitcher — and that’s not a slight. Fortnite is just that big of a game, and his influence within the community helps (it also doesn’t hurt playing with somebody like Ninja pretty regularly).
Fortnite is a once-in-a-generation type of game. It has turned non-gamers into gamers, and influenced other games to try and replicate its success. Apex Legends made a valiant attempt at being a superior battle royale, and Call of Duty even added a mode to try and match Fortnite’s excitement. But neither has been able to catch that same fire.
As an amateur Fortnite player myself, I can only describe the game as the closest thing you can get to a drug. Whether playing solo or with a friend or two, the thrills keep you coming back for more.
It’s a game filled with “emotes” that let you be incredibly casual during competition, making the game fun for those who get sent back to the lobby after just a few minutes.
In what other video game can you hit a dab before taking somebody’s soul?
It’s also a game where you have to get smart and make 200 IQ plays, like this one SanchoWest makes to keep himself in the game:
And many times the game just has thrilling finishes. The following clip may not mean anything to you if you’ve never played or watched Fortnite, but this is basically the equivalent of that Steph Curry regular-season dagger three to beat Oklahoma City a couple of years ago:
“They’re screaming? Over a video game?” Yes, those yells are quite valid, let me tell ya.
A good but not perfect comparison for Fortnite is Game of Thrones. People who gave it the time fell in love with it (albeit only to be incredibly disappointed at the end), while everybody else is blindly annoyed with it, or dismisses it as “whatever” since they never gave it any of their time.
That’s not a great way to live, if we’re keeping it a buck. The community that Fortnite has built and the opportunities it has provided many of its players — like King, a 13-year-old from Argentina who won $900,000 — is great and important.
The way Epic Games makes sure Fortnite stays fresh and fun is helping the game stay relevant and aiding the growth of esports. I’ve written before about how Fortnite events have all of the characteristics of the sporting events we all know and love, and I believe in that even more after the Fortnite World Cup.
All that said, congrats to everybody who made a dollar or two in the World Cup, and good luck to those who are now inspired to do just that. Fortnite has had a great run, and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down.
That’s a good thing.