This summer, Novak Djokovic beat Roger Federer in Wimbledon’s longest and possibly most dramatic singles final to win his fifth title, matching tennis legend Bjorn Borg. In light of his monumental victory, the 32-year old tennis player reunited with his wife and two children in their stunning new £5.3million pad high in the sky on the Miami beach front.
Meanwhile, approximately 35 miles from Wimbledon (and 444,7 from Miami Beach) 15-year old Jaden Ashman is celebrating an achievement of his own in the South-East county of Essex. Alongside his Dutch teammate Dave Jong, Ashman has just finished second behind Emil ‘Nyhrox’ Bergquist Pedersen from Norway, and David ‘Aqua’ W, from Austria in the Fortnite World Cup finals.
What connects an online gaming event with the biggest fixture on the tennis calendar, you ask?
Between them, the Fortnite World Cup’s winning duo earned £2.4 million. To put that into context, that’s just a fraction more than Djokovic’s prize of £2.35m for winning Wimbledon.
Thrilled to have finished so high, runner up Jaden Ashman still earned a cool £1.8 million.
If you’re wondering how the teenage winners of an online gaming competition have managed to earn more than a five-times title-winning Tennis champion, you aren’t alone. And, if you’re now seriously contemplating packing in your professional career to become an e-sports champion, you’re crazy, but again – you are just one of many who had their heads turned by the staggering profits made by the winners this weekend.
With a prize pool of $30m, this is the biggest financial reward in the history of e-sports competitions. But it isn’t only the Wimbledon winners whose prize money is dwarfed by the winners of the Fortnite World Cup finals.
This year, Tiger Woods collected £1.58 million for his win at The Masters – an eye-watering sum by any measure – any measure, that is, except from Fortnite. Even the rider who earns the coveted yellow jersey at the Champs-Élysées after spending gruelling weeks on the saddle in the Tour de France earns less than half of a Fortnite World Cup final runner-up.
Unless you’re familiar with Fortnite, you might be thinking one of two things:
- What is this apparently incredibly lucrative game and how easy is it to reach the finals? Or,
- What will a 15-year old do with £1.8 million?!
To answer the first, Fortnite is a survival game where 100 players fight against each other in player versus player “deathmatch” to be the last one standing. Think Hunger Games
with less mutated wolf-dogs. Since its release in 2017, the game has fast-become a global phenomenon with an estimated 200 million players worldwide. At the point of download, it’s free to play – yet has made at least $1.2 billion on the sale of the V-Bucks, the in-game currency.
For a teenage gamer with the time to commit to becoming a champion, the challenge is a no-brainer. However, the Fortnite craze has raised serious concerns as to whether the tournament glamorises the darker side of online gaming. Considering the average player has spent 432 hours on Fortnite, that’s a lot of time for anyone to spend glued to a screen. And, according to British behavioural specialist Lorrine Marer, who works with kids battling gaming addiction, it’s not a simple case off flicking the off-switch:
“This game is like heroin. Once you are hooked, it’s hard to get unhooked.”
There’s truth to this statement. Earlier this month, a GP told an 11-year-old boy that he was “prescribing” a two-week ban from computer games such as Fortnite and Minecraft. Dr Amir Khan said that he was concerned about the impact gaming was having on the boy’s life.
But it’s not just high-schoolers who are spending their lives in a virtual deathmatch simulation. Research shows that 200 divorces in the UK from January to September 2018 mentioned addiction to Fortnite and other online games as one of the reasons for relationship breakdown.
However, none of that matters when you’re 15 years old and you’ve just won £1.8 million. Try telling a teenage millionaire the game that has just won them more money than most people will earn in their entire life is dangerous and they’ll laugh in your face – and maybe they would be right to.
Considering Jaden Ashman’s mum tried to throw away his Xbox in the past, he’s probably having the best “I Told You So” moment he will ever experience. But rest assured, she will benefit from his victory too, as the teenage millionaire has promised his mother “more than a few” Chinese takeaways from Uber Eats from his Fortnite earnings.
If there’s one true winner in this story, perhaps it’s her.