The wildly addictive multiplayer game Fortnite has taken the world by storm ever since it launched its Battle Royale mode in September 2017. In fact, the game has become so popular, some parents are hiring gaming coaches for their kids with the high hope their Fortnite skills could land them a college scholarship.
According to the National Association of Collegiate eSports, there are currently more than 80 schools in the United States that have e-sports teams, with a coach, daily practices and league matches against other schools. What's more, some are even offering scholarships. Ohio's Ashland University is one of the first to offer a scholarship specifically for Fortnite. Based on player skill level and academic requirements, Ashland's e-sports scholarship can be as high as $4,000. The National Association of Collegiate eSports offes $9 million in e-sports scholarships.
The cross-platform game is available on computers, gaming consoles and smartphones. Pretty much anyone can play — 125 million people around the world have already done so, with more than 40 million people logging in to play every month.
Besides being free, the game lacks the realism of many of the other popular games and therefore appeals to a broad audience. The concept is simple: Players sit in a flying bus and can drop down onto a map at any time to enter a battlefield. The player then has about 20 minutes to build fortresses, find supplies and take-down other players until the last man is standing.
E-sports gaming platforms, such as Gamer Sensei and Varsity Tutors, connect players with top gamers to get them to the next level. Coaches can range anywhere from $10 per hour to $30 per hour. Yet Fortnite coaches can get anywhere from $28 an hour to $140, based on how qualified they are.
"We get a lot of parents who ask to be coaches so when they have playing time with their kids, it's productive and they have fun together," said Gamer Sensei's CEO, Jim Drewry.
Professional gamer and top Fortnite coach Harry Darwin walked CNBC through a Fortnite session. The 22-year-old turned his passion of gaming into a lucrative business, teaching tactics he's learned from top-tier scrimmages and tournaments he's played in.