I’m still in New York, wrapping up after covering the Fortnite World Cup
at Arthur Ashe Stadium, home of the US Open.
The stats on the ages of the finalists here are amazing. The age window is 14-24, with the average age being 16 years old. A lot of kids here fighting for a US$3M winners ticket, with all the top placed players going home with over a million, and the worst they go home with is US$50K.
From the interviews I’ve witnessed here, both in press conference and as part of pre-packaged interviews, the hallmark of every kid succeeding here is supportive parents who saw their talent for a videogame was worthy.
Some have been home schooled to allow for a heavy training schedule, others are parts of esports teams with coaching staff to support their training, as well as their mental and physical health. Just as kids who pursue elite sports are surrounded by support networks to chase their dreams, those making the Fortnite World Cup are giving thanks to parents who did the same.
One well known pro, Aydan, explained that his parents gave him one year at the end of high school to pursue his dream. He made earning as much as his father his target for the year. And he made that target in one month.
I did a live cross to Weekend Sunrise on Saturday
(Facebook link) and while the segment was mostly positive, some questions were still framed around the antiquated stereotype of gamers locked in bedrooms with no social skills. Rather disappointing in the heat of the moment when I’m over here seeing just how positive it all can be.
Games like this are now inherently social. And even if you’re not playing as part of a team, you need a team and support network around you to become a top tier player.
I never want to see kids chasing videogame dreams if they don’t have the gift to be great. But it takes supportive families around them to find out if the talent is there to be nurtured into becoming one of the best.
The ultimate winner of the Solo tournament, 16-year-old American Kyle ‘Bugha’ Giersdorf, had his family in the room who were cheering and crying as he won the title. It was an absolute top-quality sporting moment.