"Everything I've done, the grind, it's all paid off," Fortnite World Cup champ Kyle Giersdorf, 16, said after his win

By Dave Quinn
July 29, 2019 11:07 AM

Kyle Giersdorf’s parents might never complain to him again about all those hours he’s spent online playing Fortnite. 

On Sunday, the 16-year-old Pennsylvania teen was named the greatest solo Fortnite player in the world in the first-ever Fortnite World Cup Finals — an honor that earned him a grand prize of $3 million, the largest-ever payout for a single player in an esports tournament.

By comparison, Tiger Woods took home $2 million for winning the top prize at this year’s Masters. Wimbledon’s winners take home a little under $3 million.

“Words can’t even explain it right now. I’m so happy,” Giersdorf said after his win, according to video shared on competition’s official Twitter page. “Everything I’ve done, the grind, it’s all paid off. It’s just insane.”

“Today was indeed the day…” he wrote on Twitter, with a trophy emoji.

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Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf
Mike Stobe/Getty
Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf
Eric Ananmalay/ESPAT Media/Getty

Giersdorf plays under the name “Bugha” for the Sentinels, an esports organization.

He found victory at Sunday’s solo championship by dominating his 99 competitors from the first round, where he scored nine in-game kills. From there, he racked up dozens of in-game kills each round, ending the tournament with a total of 59 points.

By comparison, second-place winner Harrison “Psalm” Chang, 24, finished with 33 points (winning $1.8 million). Third place winner Epikwhale, whose real name hasn’t been publicly revealed, was close behind at 32 points (winning $1.2 million).

The Fortnite World Cup Finals were held at New York City’s Arthur Ashe tennis stadium.

In addition to the solo tournament, the three-day event also awarded top honors in a duos tournament, an amateurs vs. pros competition, and a creative trials team square-off.

Over 40 million participants entered into the online competition back in April. After 10 weeks of online qualifying competition, the pool of gamers was reduced to the 100 top players, according to the game’s website.

More than 30 nations were represented, though the United States held the majority with 70 players.

The finals were broadcast live on Twitch, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and within the game itself.

Every player who participated in the games on Sunday took home at least $50,000 for playing, CNN reported. In total, the Fortnite World Cup finals offered a total of $30 million in prizes.

Epic Games launched Fortnite in 2017. The game, which is free to play but includes online purchases, currently boasts about 250 million registered users.

Last year, Epic Games was valued at $15 billionForbes reported. According to TechCrunch, the company brought in $3 billion in 2018. 

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