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At Fortnite World Cup, Winner Will Take Top Prize Of $3 Million

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

You may not know it, but there were huge battles in New York this weekend. Hundreds of people armed with mice and keyboards descended on the city for the Fortnite World Cup. The video game has become a global phenomenon, particularly among teenage players who eat, sleep and breathe the game, players like 11th-grader Logan Eschenburg, who plays under the name Bucke. In May, he live-streamed the moment he found out he was in the tournament. His mom was there to celebrate.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

LOGAN ESCHENBURG: I'm pretty sure I qualified. I'm going to cry.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Don't cry. It's happy. That's awesome.

ESCHENBURG: I know.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Come here. Baby.

ESCHENBURG: Happy Mother's Day. You're the best, Mom.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: You're fine.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It's a big deal for him - the glory, yes, but also a shot at the $3 million grand prize that will be given out tonight. I spoke with him earlier and asked how he's feeling about the big day. He answered with all the pithiness of a 16-year-old.

ESCHENBURG: Super psyched. I'm so excited.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: In Fortnite, players log in to battle each other in a cartoon-like environment with walls and platforms they can build and destroy.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: I'm in. I'm max, I'm max, I'm max, I'm max (ph).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Eschenburg says he started playing about two years ago.

ESCHENBURG: And I got on it and I just ended up being super good at the game, and I started playing it a lot more. And then I started getting on teams and stuff like that. And it kind of - now I'm just here.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Here is as one of the top players in the world. Tens of thousands of people watch him play online, and he's now part of a professional esports team, Team Envy. But how'd he get his parents onboard? Eschenburg says it took months of convincing that esports are worth going all in on.

ESCHENBURG: You know, over the past year or two, they became a little bit more supportive of it just because it's like, it's what I love to do. And they realize that it's very hard to do without your parents' support to be a pro, so they - you know, they caved in, and they support me pretty much full time now.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And if he wins the $3 million grand prize...

ESCHENBURG: I'd give some of the money to my parents probably and then invest the rest of the money.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: An answer that would warm any parent's heart. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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