A teenager named Bugha won $3 million playing Fortnite

The Fortnite World Cup Finals took place July 26-29 at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York.
The Fortnite World Cup Finals took place July 26-29 at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York.
(Eric Ananmalay / ESPAT Media / Getty Images)

A kid who goes by the name Bugha just won $3 million playing Fortnite.

Bugha, whose real name is Kyle Giersdorf, 16, of Montgomery County, Pa., beat out a field that started with some 40 million players to become the first Fortnite World Cup champion Sunday in Queens, N.Y. According to ESPN’s Tyler Erzberger, no other esports player has won more prize money in a single day.

“This could pretty much change my life forever,” Giersdorf said. “It’s just absolutely unreal.”

Giersdorf, who plays for the Los Angeles-based esports team Sentinels, said he planned on putting his winnings in savings. It seems his eight to 10 hours a day of playing Fortnite have paid off — and that the days of parents discouraging such behavior are over.


“He’s been playing video games since he was 3, so this is his passion,” his mother, Darcy Giersdorf, said. “He told us he could do this, he put his mind to it, and he did it.”

Giersdorf was the first to qualify for the four-day, 100-player World Cup Finals at Arthur Ashe Stadium and never relinquished his lead. Still, he’s considered a surprise champion following disappointing performances by some of the biggest names in esports.

Within an hour of claiming the Cup, Giersdorf had picked up more than 100,000 new Twitter followers.

Harrison “Psalm” Chang claimed the second-place prize of $1.2 million. At 24, he was the oldest player remaining on the final day of competition.

“It’s great representing the old dudes: Experience and composure trump everything,” Chang told CNN. “Fortnite is a young man’s game though.”

Two other teenagers became millionaires a day earlier, when Emil “Nyhrox” Bergquist Pedersen, 16, and David “aqua” Wang, 17, won the duo competition.

The World Cup, sponsored by Fortnite manufacturer Epic Games, handed out $30 million in prize money. That’s a record in esports, but it won’t be for long. The prize pool for the International 9, a Dota 2 competition taking place in Shanghai next month, is nearing $31 million, according to Forbes.