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Fortnite World Cup finals turned these teen gamers into millionaires

Kyle "Bugha" Giersdorf celebrates winning Fortnite World Cup at Arthur Ashe Stadium on July 28, 2019 in New York City.
Eric Ananmalay | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

A teen phenom won $3 million at New York City's Arthur Ashe tennis stadium over the weekend and he didn't even have to pick up a racket.

The stadium will host the world's best tennis players at the U.S. Open in August, but this past weekend, the site was filled with thousands of fans of Fortnite, Epic Games' massively popular online multi-player survival game. Those fans watched some of the world's best gamers, many of them on summer break from high school, compete in the first-ever Fortnite World Cup with $30 million in total prizes on the line.

The biggest winner at the event turned out to be Kyle Giersdorf, a 16-year-old from Pennsylvania, who triumphed in a field of 100 finalists to win the whopping $3 million grand prize and become the first Fortnite World Cup singles champion. (By comparison, the male and female winners of this year's tennis U.S. Open will each receive $3.85 million.)

"I know that this could pretty much change my life forever," Giersdorf, who plays Fortnite under the name "Bugha," told ESPN after winning the competition on Sunday. "It's just absolutely unreal."

It was undoubtedly a huge win for the teenager, whose fame appears to be on the rise after reportedly adding more than 100,000 followers to his Twitter account since winning the tournament. But Giersdorf, who is also set to appear on NBC's "Tonight Show" with Jimmy Fallon on Monday night, has no plans to let his huge cash prize go to his head. In fact, he told ESPN that he plans to invest his winnings rather than putting it toward any major splurges.

"I'm just going to save the money and invest it and not do anything dumb with it," he said in a streaming interview with ESPN.

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Meanwhile, Giersdorf is far from the only teenager gamer to walk away with a large payday from the Fortnite World Cup, where the average age of competitors was reportedly 16 years old. In fact, the runner-up to Giersdorf in the singles competition, 24-year-old Harrison "Psalm" Chang, joked that it was "great representing the old dudes" after he won $1.8 million for finishing second, according to CNN.

Here are some of the other teen gamers who won big at the Fortnite World Cup over the weekend:

David "Aqua" Wang and Emil Bergquist Pedersen, also known as "Nyhrox," won the tournament's duos competition on Saturday. Wang and Pedersen — who are 17 and 16, respectively — split the $3 million top prize in that category.

Nyrhox (l) from Norway and his team mate Aqua from Austria show their trophies.
picture alliance | picture alliance | Getty Images

Jaden "Wolfiez" Ashman, a 15-year-old from the U.K., finished second in the duos category with his teammate, who plays under the moniker "Rojo." The pair split $2.25 million, and Ashman told The Sun that he plans to use his winnings to buy his mother a house.

Players "King" (l-r), "Xown", "Rojo" and "Wolfiez" sit behind screens at the Fortnite World Cup.
picture alliance | picture alliance | Getty Images

Shane "Epikwhale" Cotton, a 16-year-old from Redondo Beach, California, finished third in the singles competition and won $1.2 million.

Nate "Kreo" Kou, an 18-year-old from Parkland, Florida, finished fourth in the singles competition and won $1.05 million.

Thiago "King" Lapp, at 13 years old, was one of the youngest players on the leaderboard over the weekend, as 13 was the minimum age for players to compete in the Fortnite World Cup. Still, the Argentinian Lapp finished in fifth place in the singles competition and won $900,000. "I'm still shook. At such a young age, I can really say I'm living the dream," Lapp told CNN.

Epic Games launched Fortnite's popular battle royale gaming mode in September 2017, and the game quickly became one of the most popular video game titles on the market. Today, nearly 250 million people play Fortnite each month and it reportedly pulled in roughly $2.4 billion in revenue for Epic Games in 2018.

Disclosure: CNBC and NBC are owned by NBCUniversal.

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Kyle "Bugha" Giersdorf celebrates winning Fortnite World Cup at Arthur Ashe Stadium on July 28, 2019 in New York City.
Eric Ananmalay | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images
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