Popularity of esports helping young gamers make money and start careers

Johnston County News

CLAYTON, N.C. (WNCN) — Video games are a big business and young players are raking in the cash, turning games into careers.  

Fortnite, developed by Cary-based Epic Games is hugely popular among teens and young adults.

Over the weekend a 16-year-old took home three million dollars of prizes in the Fortnite world cup. That’s more than the prize money in the Masters, the Indy 500, or Wimbledon. 

“A lot of people they see the finals, and they see someone win three million and say, ‘Well he’s just playing video games,’ but a lot of practice hours, thousands of hours of practice goes into it,” said Bernie Igba, the team captain of the Fortnite Club at NC State. “I think it should be respected as a sport,” he added. 

Igba practices as much as ten hours a day.  He isn’t making millions, but he is bringing in cash.

“Mostly I’m just trying to pay off student loans, but I think if it takes off and I could make a career out of it I definitely would,” he said. 

Some kids are already making careers out of the game, even making tens of thousands of dollars a year.  

Some colleges offer scholarship money for esports. There’s no Fortnite Scholarship at NC State, but Igba hopes the esports team will soon receive more recognition.  

“We’re talking to marketing and they’re trying to get us branded as an actual sports team,” he explained.  

With big prizes bringing more publicity to esports, he thinks the popularity will keep growing. 

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