A 16-year-old Just Won 1.1 Billion Naira. For What? Playing Video Games.

July 29, 2019

If your parents ever beat you for ‘visiting’ a game centre or seized your console for so long that you both forgot it existed, you might want to read this with an open mind. In the immortal words of Ice Prince, “let bygones be bygones, no need to buy gun.”

Yesterday, in front of thousands at the Arthur Ashe Stadium, 16-year-old pro-gamer, Kyle Giersdorf (or @Bugha, as he is known online) won the solo title at the Fortnite World Cup and with it, the biggest individual prize in competitive gaming history, or 3 million dollars.

That’s 1.1 billion naira, if you want to cause unnecessary chest pain for yourself. Bugha didn’t ‘manage’ to win; the commentators described his final game as a “ridiculous victory lap”. He had a smile on his face as he beat his rivals.

If you’re wondering how a teenager gets paid so much for playing video games, here’s the abridged version of the story: There’s an entire world of competitive video gaming or e-sports out there. It’s estimated to be a billion-dollar industry, complete with players, teams, agencies and media platforms. The biggest players, like Bugha have millions of fans who watch them play video games solo, or against each other in competitions.

These competitions are annual highlights. The Fortnite World Cup finals saw 100 players clash in the hit computer game, Fortnite on enormous computer screens. Altogether, winners took home a total of 30 million dollars.

I want to rant plis.

Everything your parents told you (and you’re probably telling your kids) about video games is a big lie. Shame on you. If you watch the footage of the moment Bugha was announced as winner, you’ll see him grin and shrug like he’d just achieved world peace.

I’ve not thought about that kind of money before, but 1.1 billion naira sure feels like world peace to me. It’s hard to not hate this world when you realise that someone just got rich for the same reason you have a high threshold for beatings and daddy issues. I could have been Bugha too.

END OF RANT

The world of competitive gaming is growing. The prize pool for the Fortnite World Cup may be the biggest in history but that record’s about to be broken by another competition, The International, set to happen in August.

You want to hope that one day, Nigerian gamers can get in on the action too. But it’s a long way between here and there. We do congratulate Bugha though; a freshly-minted, deserving champion.


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