‘Everything I’ve done, the grind, it’s all paid off,’ said 16-year-old solo Fortnite champion, Kyle ‘Bugha’ Giersdorf, after accepting his 3 million dollar bounty.
Ah, that sentence. ‘The grind’ Mr. Giersdorf is likely referring to is the string of weekly qualifying rounds he has willfully endured since April of this year for The Fortnite World Cup. Epic Games, the developer of the wildly popular battle royale video game, first announced news of the inaugural Fortnite World Cup back in June 2018. Over the last four months, players of all ages and nationalities earned points in either single or team tournaments to qualify for the finals.
Then, over the weekend, 100 finalists dueled it out at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York, with Kyle ‘Bugha’ Giersdorf emerging triumphant in the solo tournament and Emil ‘Nyhrox’ Bergquist Pedersen and David ‘Aqua’ W winning the duos championship. Each game was televised on a jumbotron at the venue (where tickets to sit and watch were completely sold out), whilst the event was streamed by over two million people via Fortnite’s social media channels.
For those among us bewildered by this news, strap yourself in for some hard-hitting truths about the world of gaming. The gaming industry is now bigger than the film and music industry combined. In 2018, the video games market generated $131 billion worldwide, with Fortnite raking in $1 billion in revenue despite being free to play. The way it makes its money is through in-game purchases, where you can buy ‘V-Bucks’ that can be spent on customisation items like dance moves and outfits. With over 200 million players across the world (with a median age of just 16), it doesn’t take too many of mum and dad’s stolen credit cards to account for that revenue.
Maaaan did I pick the wrong hobby. Anyway, congratulations to Bugha, and may he never know what it truly means to grind.