In the New York tennis stadium where the U.S. Open is played every summer, Fortnite players — many not old enough for a driver’s licence — are competing for a $40 million prize pool in a first-of-its-kind tournament.
Like many professional sports, video game competition is dubbed the World Cup. Like many professional athletes, the competitors warm up, train and scrutinize their strengths and weaknesses for hours a day.
“I’ve been going over my film,” said Canadian contestant Hayden Krueger, 17. “Going over, like, what mistakes we’ve made, our good plays, making new strategies, applying those into our games.”
Krueger is better known in the gaming world and to his 20,000-plus Twitter followers as Elevate. He beat 40 million hopefuls to become one of 100 contestants in the lucrative three-day finals. The winner will take home $3.8 million, the same amount tennis champions Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep each scored at Wimbledon this month.
Practising eight to 12 hours a day, Calgary-born Krueger, who now lives in the U.S., says he stands to make about $150,000 US in earnings this year from tournaments alone. That doesn’t include sponsorship deals or streaming revenues.
“So it kind of just all adds up and it makes a good job,” he told CBC’s Steven D’Souza in New York.