As Fortnite continues to suck in gamers by the millions, Epic Games has worked hard to keep the game fresh and entertaining, whether players are dropping in for the first or thousandth time. Last month, it committed more than $100 million into Fortnite tournament prize pools and announced its first official esports event: the Fortnite Pro-Am. Popular streamers and YouTubers -- with backgrounds in PUBG, League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Call of Duty and, of course, Fortnite -- joined actors, sports stars and musicians at E3 for a 50-team, 100-person battle royale. Tyler "Ninja" Blevins, the biggest personality in competitive esports right now (helps when you stream with hip-hop megastar Drake), buddied up with EDM DJ Marshmello, YouTuber Ali-A joined Fall Out Boy singer Pete Wentz, while professional gamer Gotaga was accompanied by UFC fighter Demetrious Johnson in a bid to win a $3 million charity prize pool. Before now, enterprising organizers had hosted their own Fortnite eSports tournaments just using the default game.
It was the most prize money a single person had ever won at New York's world-famous Flushing Meadows tennis stadium, but Kyle Giersdorf wasn't playing in the U.S. Open when he won £2.4million last month. Giersdorf, better known as'Bugha' online, is a professional esports athlete who plays the immensely popular game Fortnite. The Fortnite World Cup made the 16-year-old Bugha an instant millionaire, and he's not the only one. Anyone who finished in the top four in the singles tournament won over a $1million (£800k) each, and the top four teams in the duos tournament each shared over $1million too. Kyle Giersdorf, better known online as'Bugha,' won £2.4million at the Fortnite World Cup Jaden Ashman (aka Wolfiez), from London, came second in the duos, sharing £1.8million with his playing partner.
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 12: (L-R) Gamers'Ninja' and'Marshmello' pose together during the Epic Games Fortnite E3 Tournament at the Banc of California Stadium on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. With over a million tuning in online and the hundreds attending in person, Epic Games' Fortnite Celebrity Pro Am was a quite a debut for the company as it begins building spectator events around its massive hit game. Celebrities like Paul George paired up with popular streamers like Ali "Myth" Kabban to compete for a $3 million prize pool for charity. In the end, it was Fortnite's most popular personality, Tyler "Ninja" Blevins, and his partner, EDM artist Marshmello, who were the last standing. So, looking forward to Fortnite competitions to come, what were some takeaways from Epic's broadcast?
On May 14th, the United States Supreme Court eliminated a 26-year-old law prohibiting states from sponsoring sports gambling. Today, states are free to establish their own sports-betting laws, and a few governors are acting fast. New Jersey, the state at the heart of the Supreme Court decision, should have sportsbooks live any day now, while Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware and Mississippi have already passed bills allowing gambling. A handful of other states have legislation in the pipeline, and meanwhile, the NFL, NBA, NHL and other national leagues are calling for some form of federal regulation in sports betting. "In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision, the volume of sports betting in the US is poised to explode -- and esports betting will inevitably follow suit," says Bryce Blum, attorney and founder of Electronic Sports and Gaming Law.
Publisher Epic Games has announced that it will be offering a prize pot of $100m (£74m) for Fortnite competitions. The prize fund has been set aside for the first year of competitive play of the popular game due to start later this year. It is believed to be the biggest sum of money offered for an e-sports tournament. Epic made the announcement in a blog post. Grab your gear, drop in and start training.