Q&A: How playing Fortnite can make you a millionaire

The online game's world cup had a prize fund of $30 million

16-year-old Kyle "Bugha" Giersdorf has emerged as the overall winner at the Fortnite World Cup, more than 40 million players entered the competition to try and take home the $3 million top prize. Video: Epic Games


Fortnite is in the news this week as the World Cup in New York draws to a close. The prize pot was $30 million; the winner walked away with $3 million. An Irish teenager, Joshua Juliano (17), finished 58th and walked away with $50,000 (€44,934) in prize money.

Depending on how old your child is, you may already be very familiar with Fortnite. It seems as if the game is everywhere these days, with some of the celebrations and dances even making it out of the game and into the mainstream.

What is Fortnite?

Developed by Epic Games, Fortnite is an online multiplayer game that has more than 250 million players. In most cases, we’re really talking about Fortnite: Battle Royale, which is the game’s most popular mode, and more importantly, it’s free. It’s a multiplayer battle that pits 100 people against each other, and the last player standing wins.

You all pile on a flying bus and jump out over the playing area, meaning everyone gets scattered throughout the map to explore buildings, find weapons and hunt each other. Not only do you have to avoid being killed by other players, but you also have to avoid being taken out by the storm that is descending on the island.

Survive it all and you get the Victory Royale.

Where can I play?

On almost any platform, from games console to mobile phone. It’s now cross platform, so Xbox players can play alongside iOS or Switch, and Sony is now getting in on the act too. So you don’t need to have the same console as your friends to play with them.

While players love it, parents may be less than enthusiastic. In the past, there have been numerous reports of parents discovering their children are being groomed, and the finger was being pointed at Fortnite as the medium. Understandably, there are concerns about the game and its effect on younger players.

So how did the World Cup work?

Like most competitions, there were weeks of qualifiers. About 40 million people tried to qualify for the World Cup, a figure that was whittled down to 100, representing 30 countries including Ireland.

The World Cup was a six-round competition, with players awarded points for staying alive for a length of time or eliminating other players. You didn’t have to win every round, just rack up enough points to put you ahead of the competition. There was an event for solo players and one for duos, with 50 teams going head to head in Battle Royale. The “creative” tournament had teams of four aiming to complete different in-game trials.

$30 million is a lot of money

E-sports is growing in popularity, although Fortnite is relatively new to the competitive arena. The Fortnite World Cup set a record for the prize pool, but it will be a short-lived one; The International, which takes place in August, held the record previously and is expected to eclipse the Fortnite prize pool. The International is an annual Dota 2 esports tournament hosted by developers Valve Corporation.

There’s a lot of money floating around in e-sports, and it is estimated to be worth a billion dollars this year.