Bugha, a 16-year-old, recently won the Fortnite World Cup Solo Final. He won himself $3 million in prize money as he celebrated his victory in the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York.
The World Cup had a total prize pool of $30 million spread across three separate finals. There was a pro-am, doubles, and solo championship. Each had their winners and runner-ups who took home hundreds of thousands of their own.
Aside from the prize money, the event was a success on a large scale. News outlets talked about a 16-year-old champion the next day. He was compared to the winnings of other major American athletes and in tournaments. Social media reacted in a similar fashion, realizing how much money a kid of that age just won for playing Fortnite. There were people that were impressed as well as those that were fed up, because to them, it’s just a game.
Any way you look at it though, it was a major tournament with major winnings. If eSports was a fluke, an event of this scale wouldn’t have happened. eSports are growing, fast.
It also set a precedent that was quickly surpassed. DOTA 2’s International 2019 prizepool rose over $30 million as people crowd funded the amount over Fortnite’s benchmark. All this means is that it’s not just Fortnite. Other games are accumulating large prize pools to make it worthwhile for the players to excel. The fact that DOTA’s pool was crowd-funded also implies that more people than just one organization wanted to make the event huge. Long story short, the World Cup surprised a lot of people, granting millions to teenagers. But there had to be a disruptor. People aren’t used to seeing that amount of money won by that age group. There has to be a few teenage champions thrown into the spotlight at first, so that it can become a normal thing in the future. In 2019, it may have shocked a lot of people. But at the rate of eSports’ growth, it may be less shocking in 2020, and so on.