16-year-old American wins US$3 million at video-game tournament Fortnite World Cup

NEW YORK (REUTERS) – American teenager Kyle Giersdorf won US$3 million (S$4.1 million) on Sunday (July 28) 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 US$30 million in total prize money, as the booming popularity of video and online games has drawn 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.

“Words can’t even explain it. I’m just so happy,” he said.

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

Launched in 2017, Fortnite’s popularity helped Epic Games reach a US$15-billion valuation last year.

It competes with other games like Electronic Arts’ Apex Legends and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

Global revenues from eSports, or professional video game competitions, will hit US$1.1 billion in 2019, up 27 per cent from last year, thanks to ballooning revenues from advertising, sponsorship and media rights.

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