The Fortnite World Cup didn’t just make one young player very rich. Gamers in other events also bagged huge cash prizes during the contest in New York City last weekend.
Among them was 15-year-old Jaden “Wolfiez” Ashman, a gamer from London who, together with his playing partner Dave Jong, picked up a tasty $2.25 million for finishing second in the duo event.
But the route to victory clearly wasn’t an easy one.
In comments likely to elicit knowing nods from parents of young kids around the world, Jaden’s mom revealed that in recent years she’d been battling to keep him away from his games machine in an effort to get him to focus more on his schoolwork.
“If I’m honest with you, I’ve been quite against him gaming,” Lisa Dallman, Jaden’s mother, told the BBC in an interview, adding: “I’ve actually thrown an Xbox out [and] snapped a headset. We’ve had a nightmare.”
But with the World Cup win, the nightmare has turned into a dream come true for Jaden and his mom.
Asked what he’s going to do with his huge cash prize, Jaden initially said, “I haven’t got a clue.” After a short pause, however, he said a new house for his mom was likely, with the rest saved for his future. His mother suggested there was a good chance he’d spend it on “a lifetime of Uber Eats,” so fond is he of the meal-delivery service.
Jaden told the BBC he’s been playing video games since he was 6 years old, and started playing Fortnite as soon as it came out two years ago. He soon became the best Fortnite player among his buddy group, so his attention was immediately grabbed when he heard about the upcoming Fortnite World Cup.
“I started to think, maybe I’ve got a shot at this,” Jaden said, adding that he started to play the game up to eight hours a day to hone his skills in preparation for the contest.
The 100 or so Fortnite World Cup finalists who participated in the New York City event came from 30 countries, with each player having made it through an online qualifying period involving around 40 million hopefuls.
The experience for Jaden and his mom has clearly been something very special.
“Coming to New York has been amazing, not just because Jaden won — it’s been a life-changing experience for both of us,” Dallman said. “We’ve met some wonderful people and made lifetime friends.”