If you thought that video games were just a waste of time, we’re happy to tell you that you were wrong. Kyle Giersdorf, a 16-year-old from Pennsylvania, recently won a $3 million dollar prize for landing in the top spot during the Fortnite World Cup. At just 16-years-old, Giersdorf has comfortably set himself and his family up for life. For all of his success playing a video game, Giersdorf treats his passion much more seriously than you would expect.
Fortnite is a battle royale video game where players are dropped onto a massive map. Within the map, players can find randomly spawned weapons, resources, and exciting areas to wage cartoon war with one another in. What separated Fortnite from the rest of the gaming industry was the way that it offered gamers the chance to build their own forts and battlements while playing the game. Fortnite is a free game with added microtransactions that offer aesthetic benefits rather than functional benefits. As one of the most popular games in the world, it is easy to learn the ropes of the game. However, Kyle Giersdorf did not simply learn the ropes, he became the best player in the world. With more than 250 million registered players and more than 40 million competitors in the qualifying rounds for the Fortnite World Cup, Giersdorf had to be almost perfect to win the tournament.
When Giersdorf competed, his goal was to place in the Top 20. That lofty goal would be out of reach for millions of gamers, but Giersdorf was more than able to ascend to that height. Throughout the tournament, Giersdorf ended up playing six total games, lasting for an average of 23 minutes during each round. Giersdorf had been playing Fortnite for two years after he had been introduced to the video game by his own father, Glenn. Fornite has been pigeonholed as a kid’s game due to the cartoonish graphics, but it has crossover appeal to older audiences.
For Giersdorf to become the best player in the world, he had to play for up to eight hours per day, five days per week. Giersdorf is a professional gamer who is managed by a company known as Sentinel. Professional video games, or Esports, is a burgeoning industry that has been growing by leaps and bounds over the past fifteen to twenty years. Still, Kyle’s payout at the Fortnite World Cup put him at the top of the list for highest-earning individuals in the industry.