NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s like the World Series or Stanley Cup of video games.
The biggest Fortnite tournament to date is coming to the Big Apple this weekend, and there is $30 million in total on the line, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported Thursday.
It’s a video game that is taking over the world, with more than 250 million players registered. Fortnite is an absolute sensation.
“It’s always changing. It’s always new, fresh, every day,” player River Handey said.
“It’s a competitive game,” another player said.
The game is so big it now has its own World Cup. This weekend, thousands will pile into Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, Queens, to watch the competition in person, while millions of others will stream it online. One 14-year-old came all the way from Norway to play.
“I was just hooked instantly. It’s great game, fun,” Endretta Byre said.
In all, 40 million people competed for a chance to play in the Cup, but only 100 made it, including 15-year-old Griffin Spikoski of Smithtown on Long Island. His father said Griffin is now so famous in the gaming world, he has to home school him.
HOW TO WATCH THE TOURNAMENT
“Half the school was running around yelling his name out. It was a big distraction,” Chris Spikoski said.
In a year and a half, the teen made $300,000 playing Fortnite.
“We have his retirement fund set up for him already, so he’s in a good place,” Chris Spikoski said.
If he wins the duo competition, he and his partner, Cody Conrod, will split a $3 million prize. And since Conrod qualified for more spots, he still wins big, even if he comes in last.
“I qualified five times, so that’s a guaranteed $120,000 that I’m going to be making,” Conrod said.
Conrod’s dad said playing video games at this level is just like a professional sport, and he supports his son’s decision to play. It keeps him safe.
“It takes a really special parent to really figure this out. I know where he is all the time. He’s in his room,” said Scott Conrod, of Watertown, Conn.
But now, he is with the best in the world, competing to win it all.
The huge prize pool combined with Fortnite’s popularity, could make this weekend competition the biggest esports event in history.