I live in a small town in Pennsylvania. I’ll be going into my junior year of high school. (laughs) Yo! Hey, act like I’m not a baller! You’re not. When I’m with my friends, I’m usually playing basketball, something like that. I got it! Guys, dinner’s ready! Alright! Wait, who do you have for–what’s your science? Not Hughey! (laughs) What? Not Mr. Hughey! Oh, (laughs) who do you have? Collin has just been one of my, like, long life friends. He pretty much helps me just realize that everything’s still the same. There’s some real organic burgers there, how ’bout it Glenn? All yours, Pop. My dad played video games for, like, his entire life. He first introduced me to the game because he played Save the World. But I kinda found the Battle Royale. So, I started playing that with some of my friends, and eventually got to competing. Sometimes when I’m walking upstairs at night and I can hear him in his room and he’s talkin’ with, ya know, these friends he’s made, and they’re laughin’. I just think it’s so special. (laughing) Kyle! That’s a big–that’s a big piece, man! (laughing) (suitcase rolling) Dun da da duh! What’s this? (clapping, cheering) Kyle! Bugha! Bugha! One, there’s one. There’s two… There’s three… And four. You wanna grab the other side? Oh, alright. I’m just tryin’ to balance it. I got it. Wow! (suitcase shuts) So cool! Does it beat your little league trophy? (laughing) Whoa! (Reading together) Fortnite World Cup Solo Champions, Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf. Pick it up! Alright, buddy! (clapping, cheering) Bugha! Bugha! Bugha! I was a regular 16-year-old kid. I was kinda like a nobody. I was at the very bottom and I had to work my way to the top. (Announcer) Fortnite World Champion, Bugha! Winning has changed my life drastically. I wanna be you so bad dude. I’m really–I’m so jealous! (laughing) I know you’re still basking in the glow, but what do you do with this? You’re famous now, you got some money in your pocket… (keyboard clacking) A lot of people look at me differently now which is kind of overwhelming. I still feel the same inside. It’s crazy to think that he was able to win $3 million. He was competing against 100 of the best players in the world. Life for him has changed… Whether he wants it to or not. The dreams I had were to be playing video games as a job. I’m just gonna take advantage of this and make as many opportunities as I can. (on headset) Alright, I’m live. (keyboard clacking) I woke up that morning and I was pretty excited. It was the first time I’ve ever been on a train. I was just thinking about how I’d meet everyone that I’ve been playing with for over, like, a year and a half now. What people would look like. I’ve never been to New York City before. When he walked in to the hotel lobby, players started to recognize him. Your whole family’s here, this is wild. This is Kyle’s sister, I’m his mom, this is his best friend. And he started to meet the people that he conversed with online. (chatting) Is that Mongraal? It was definitely different to see all these new people in the Esports scene. I was talking to people from West, Europe, anywhere around the world actually. It was just kinda crazy to finally, like, talk to these people in person and I’ve never like played with them before either, so the friendship I made was pretty real. Okay, real quick… Practice areas. So, going out right where you came from, instead of turning right, you turn left. We have a ballroom there with about 76 PCs. You can go whenever it’s open, you can slot in. (shouting on headset) That night, he started practicin’ in the lobby of the hotel they had set up for players and kept that schedule from there on out. No, no, no, you just box up, box up. We pretty much just went in, practiced for about like 2 to 3 hours at a time. And then from there on out, it usually hit nighttime. You could just see everyone was trying to get in the zone. (shouting on headset) I was a little bit nervous just because I didn’t really have a drop spot or a location. So I just kept practicing, playing scrims. (keyboards clacking) We didn’t know what to expect. To be dead honest, I didn’t believe he would be first place. It was his first tournament, all these other hundred great players from around the world, that you haven’t even seen play. You don’t know the strategies that those people have. So, I think he was getting a little bit nervous. But he was determined to prove to everybody that he could do this. (airplane whooshing) Alright guys, come on! When we actually do the full run throughs, the lockers, you can put anything in there, you cannot take drinks or food on the stage. You cannot bring any peripherals, anything with you. No pictures, nothing like that, okay? So we’re gonna start, we’re gonna walk down through like we would on player day. We’re gonna walk from here, we’re gonna walk down, and then through the hallways, onto the stage, and we’ll give you a tour of everything, okay? (whistling) This is sick! Yeah, it’s like a tennis thingy. It was kind of surreal to walk down to the stage. Everyone was crowded around, just really excited. The arena was huge, the stage was big. I could just tell that the crowd would be crazy. Holy…this is unreal. You could just see everyone’s bottled up excitement. Did you look up? That’s a lot of faces looking back at you. My seat was at the very top of the stage, I was kinda just sitting there like thinking about everything I was gonna do. All the hours I put into the game, 6 hours a day practicing, going over videos, making sure that I’m doing the best of my abilities. I was just going in confident. (people chattering) On game day, everyone was in the lobby. Hi, so you’re a player guest? You two are good to go. They took us out to the bus and then we took the bus over to the event. When we took the shuttle bus over, it was eerily quiet for everyone. It was dark. And everybody was focusing. One of the things I leaned over and whispered into Kyle’s ear “Close your eyes, picture yourself in the event, picture yourself doing good, picture yourself winning. Focus on the big day.” The morning of the tournament…I was a nervous wreck. I didn’t want to make Kyle nervous, I knew he was already on the shuttle bus on his way, so… umm… I literally s- (laughs) -it’s gonna make me cry. (choking up) I literally sent one text, I just said “I love you”. And I didn’t want to make him nervous, and he just wrote back “I love you too heart”. So…I didn’t want to make him nervous, and that was the only thing I said that day until I saw them. We get off the bus at Arthur Ashe Staduim. I was the first one off with my dad. It made me feel, like, confident in a way. I really just felt like I was ready to play. (Announcer) Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, welcome to the Fortnite World Cup Finals. We are here to crown our first ever World Solo Champion. (crowd cheering) 14 million players competed to try to qualify for this day right now. Only 100 players remain. We were so nervous that we just wanted to get straight to our seats. So, we literally just made a beeline. When we walked in, we were just like, “Wow”. (air cannon exploding) (crowd cheering) You can’t even imagine like, your son’s going to be apart of this amazing production. (Announcer) History will be made, lives will change. When we first walked in, you could just see everyone, it was kind of overwhelming because there were so many people. That’s crazy! (laughing) (Announcer) At the top of the list is Bugha, a lot of people are looking forward to see what he can do. The Fortnite World Cup Solos competition is about to begin. I need you to get as loud as you possibly can. (crowd cheering) 100 of the best players in the entire world. The Battle Bus is loaded, ladies and gentleman, here we go! (bus whooshing) I was kinda just sitting there, like, thinking about everything I was gonna do. (air swooshing) I figured out that I was just gonna go to my normal spot, Lucky Landing. In Game 1, my strategy was just kinda survive and get out there, and understand the playing field that I was on since it was my first LAN tournament. (grass crunching) So, I pretty much made it to midgame… but I didn’t really have too many materials and I was kinda shambles on my loot. So, I went in with my Heavy Sniper… And then, from there on out, I kinda just popped off. (crowd cheering) (Announcer) Oh, what a shot! Bugha to 5. Big hit, Bugha picking up a 6th elimination. (crowd cheering) Back to back, Bugha picking up another elimination. I remember watching and going, “Is this real?” (Announcer) Bugha is insane now! (crowd cheering) It was a 1 vs. 1 and I was lowground. (Announcer) Can he find the 9th elimination and the first Victory Royale of the World Cup Solos? It might be time for the shock wave play. I impulsed up. Hit him once, then I took out my AR and I just finished him. (crowd cheering) Let’s go baby! Let’s go! (cheering) We literally jumped out of our chairs. I’m surprised we didn’t jump over the people in front of us, we were so excited. (Announcer) That is a statement Game #1 for Bugha. A 9 point lead out of Game 1. He was doing phenomenal in his first world event, ya know, first land event, first major tournament. (bus hissing) But one game doesn’t mean anything. It’s a great start, but there’s a long way to go. (Announcer) Let’s get back into the action, Game #2. (air swooshing) After last game, I have a feeling we’re going to see players vying for those points. (smashing materials) Game 2, I came out of Lucky Landing. I didn’t really have any shield. (air swooshing) I saw a supply drop on a mountain… and turns out there were two other players going for it as well. (smashing materials) (crowd exclamation) (Announcer) Bugha, eliminated. To start off this game in 90th place. Our Game 1 winner out early on, which means that that 9 point lead will surely be cut down. That actually–I sunk, my chest sunk. I honestly did, because I was like, all of that momentum left. We’re gonna be down at the bottom of the board because everybody else is gonna jump up now. (Announcer) The end of Game 2 right before your eyes, folks. Skite, lunges on up! Game 2 goes to Skite. And now our crazy 9 point lead is down to just 1. 1st through 10th within arm’s reach. The momentum hit him when he won and he was so confident. And I feel like he was a little overconfident, maybe. Maybe? I was watching him, and I know that he knew what he did was wrong, and he just sat there at first, and then I saw a seriousness get on his face. And I said “I think he’s gonna be good now.” (Announcer) Game 3, like, what are we even gonna get? There’s just so much on the line. Going into my 3rd game, I was gonna do the same thing I did in the first one. I made it endgame and got like top 10. (air swooshing) In Game 4, my materials were very low. He had like nothing left, but he was using strategy the entire time. Just maneuvering himself right in between everybody. (Announcer) Oh, huge elimination! Bugha does get another one! A massive elim here! Bugha still holding onto his first place position. And now, Game 5 underway of the Fortnite World Cup Finals! Can anyone catch Bugha? (headphones slamming) BenjyFishy goes down. King gets taken out! Mr. Savage. (slamming desk) Tfue eliminated. When he got to the 5th game, someone came to get us, and they actually took us out to the seats closer to the Winner’s Circle. I just remember going up the stairs, I was literally shaking. (Announcer) One more match left, it all comes down to this. The sound around me kind of just evaporated. It made me get into the zone. Everything at that point seems like a blur. And I just remember sitting there like, thinking, “I can’t even believe this is real”. Come on Kyle! (Announcer) Bugha on top, nobody nearby. No threats. Bugha is looking for shots on everybody flying around. (family cheering) Bugha sits atop his throne. Far and away in first place. There is a big shot. What a beast! (family and crowd cheering) We’ve gotta watch this man continue to dominate. A statement is being made! Bow down to Bugha! There’s no way anyone beats him! (crowd cheering) Your Fortnite World Champion, Bugha! Oh, my God. (family screaming and cheering) Welcome to the Winner’s Circle, your Fortnite World Champion, Bugha! (air cannons exploding) (crowd cheering) My hands are literally shaking. (crowd cheering) Oh, my God! Give me a hug! Oh, my God! Oh, my God! You did it, buddy. You freakin’ did it. (excited cheering) (crowd cheering) How do you feel right now? Ah… Words can’t even explain it right now. (laughs) I’m just so happy. Everything I’ve done, the grind, it’s all paid off. And…it’s just insane. (crowd cheering) (clapping and cheering) To see him succeed at the highest level, and accomplish his dream… That’s one of the proudest moments I’ve ever had. Oh, my God! (thumping back) You’re not superstitious, right? As I was going through, watching you just… (Fan) Bugha! (chattering) After he won, it was a whirlwind. He did numerous interviews that day, he did pictures. He had fans there waiting for pictures and autographs. It was amazing. (chanting) Bugha! Bugha! Bugha! Bugha! Bugha! The next day, he did the Tonight Show, that was really exciting. I wanna be you so bad dude. I’m really–I’m so jealous! (laughing) After that, he did the Today Show. First thing’s first, Kyle or Bugha? What do you prefer? Probably Bugha. The feeling of being on all these shows and wanting people to interview you is kinda unreal. What has the last 48 hours been like for you? Honestly, the last 48 hours has been, just like…amazing, honestly. 16-year-old Kyle Giersdorf took home the title, he netted $3 million in the process. I know you’re still basking in the glow, but what do you do with this? You’re famous now, you’ve got some money in your pocket. What do you want to do? Honestly, I’ll probably just get back home, get some rest, and then start my stream up and play Fortnite again. (laughing) When I first got home, I pretty much sat down and let everything sink in. The hype around all of this is a pretty crazy feeling, just because it’s never been there before and it’s something new to me. Now I have to like look for an agent and do all these other things that I don’t think I would’ve ever done beforehand. It’s been hectic from that standpoint of trying to get our lives back together. But I believe that he’s got a strong future in streaming and gaming, and… as long as he wants to do that and he’s happy, we’ll be supportive of it. I feel like a lot of people have these very high standards for me. But at the same time, I’m still gonna be true to myself, and so I’m never gonna change who I am. (keyboard clacking) I think I’m gonna handle this by just playing the game, making sure I stay competitive. Take advantage of the opportunity that I have… and just do what I love. (talking on headset) uhh, do you want me to come back and grab? You can literally… Wait for Dubs in… So, the Homer Grind. It’s…a dance move that the kids got from Homer Simpson. It’s kinda caught on and everybody in the family seems to be doing it. (off-screen) Let me see it! Okay… (laughing) My son will hate me now! (laughing) It’s better than the sprinkler!