Big money in Video games, as warriors battle it out in Poland

Top video game players gathered in the Polish city of Katowice on 3 March to fight it out on the shoot-’em-up survival game Fortnite, with prize money totalling US$500,000 at stake.

Competitors lined up in front of their screens on an enormous platform at the front of the hall, with giant screens showing highlights for the thousands of fans attending.

After Friday’s solo player tournament, the weekend was devoted to two-player teams.

In a Battle Royale format, they fought until just one team was left standing, as the fans watched the action play out live.

The winning duo, identified only by their online monikers, were NRG Zayt from Canada and US player Ghost SAF. They won US$80,000, the runners-up US$64,000 and the third-placed team took home 48,000.

There were also cash prizes for the top 20 placed teams.

Many of the fans got into the spirit of the event — the latest in a series of tournaments that Fortnite’s creators, Epic Games, have organised to promote their product — by dressing up Cosplay style in costumes inspired by the game at the Intel Extreme Masters gaming tournament.

Fortnite, launched in July 2017, quickly became a gaming phenomenon. One of the most popular games, in May last year it had more than 150 million players worldwide, playing on a range of different gaming platforms.

In July 2018 it broke US$1 billion turnover, making its money from online sales, game-related costumes and other merchandise.

Last year Epic Games announced it was putting US$100 million towards a year of tournaments for players of Fortnite.

The winner of the finals in New York in June will walk away with US$3 million.

Chinese technology giant Tencent, the world’s biggest game company, has invested heavily in Epic Games.

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