Kyle Giersdorf, who goes by “Bugha,” said he planned to buy a new desk with the money. He has played the game for two years.
Two weeks ago, a kid with no more than two years of experience at Fortnite, won $3 million and global fame.
Not only did he win a staggering amount of money that is competitive with the prize pools of professional physical sports (and a lot more than what the average hard-working American can reasonably expect to make during a lifetime), it could have been anyone. At least that’s what it feels like. The same article above mentions that 40 million people competed for a spot in the championships.
This is nothing short of a tidal change (and a generational change) in what young people globally consider a sport. And interestingly, this is a trend that I think continues to get less attention than it deserves.
While esports likely continues to fly under the radar for now, especially with older audiences, the next 5-10 years will likely see esports become more mainstream. The Asian Games are on track to include esports as a competitive category. And the ecosystem around esports is flourishing. Whereas games used to be confined to desktop PCs, games are increasingly becoming cross-platform and playable on mobile with global install base of 3-4 billion devices. Whereas games used to be primarily a niche entertainment category for mostly boys, games are becoming much more gender inclusive. And the most important thing of all, to the young people of this world, games seem much more egalitarian than traditional physical sports. Most people will never be good at basketball simply because they were not born tall, but anyone can potentially be good at games with practice. Like traditional sports, the video/streaming ecosystem is also maturing, giving the industry much more mainstream visibility. With this visibility, kids see that some of the best players are just like them!
From an investing perspective, the options are still quite limited. There are limited ways to invest at the team level or at the competition level. There are streaming players like Twitch (Amazon) and Huya / Doyu but the monetization models still seem like a work in progress. Still many unanswered questions but if the future gets anywhere close to where I think it is going, there will be lots of opportunities to revisit this topic in the future.
Disclosures: I have no direct interest in any names mentioned at the time of publishing and have no intention to trade in any name mentioned within the next 48 hours.