How a 15-year-old beat the pros and won $3 million in a 'Fortnite' tournament

Epic Games

The Fortnite World Cup took place over the past weekend, with 50 duo teams and 100 solo players each competing for a piece of the massive $30 million prize pool – one of the largest in the history of esports (second only to Dota 2 tournament The International's burgeoning treasure trove). Though the aim was to find the most skilled player out of the myriad of hopefuls who applied, something else actually ended up happening: Fledgling esports careers were launched, especially for a few teens who were doggedly determined to make it big.

One of the tournament's big winners, behind overall prize winner 16-year-old Kyle "Bugha" Giersdorf, was a 15-year-old British teenager named Jaden Ashman. The aspiring Fortnite pro took second place at the Fortnite World Cup finals, which attracted over 40 million players to compete for the title of "best Fortnite player in the world." It all went down at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City over Saturday and Sunday, where a massive spectacle featuring celebrities like Marshmello and prominent Fortnite personalities like Ninja and Tfue came out to play.

But while many of the competitors in the tournament were seasoned pros practicing up for one of the biggest events of the year, Ashman had difficulty getting where he is, given the fact that he and his mother would often clash over his dedication to the craft.

Ashman told the BBC he had been playing Fortnite ever since the main game debuted in 2017 (Fortnite Battle Royale debuted a bit later), noting that he'd been playing in his room around eight hours a day to hone his skills – even though it meant angering his mother, who didn't quite understand. His mother, Lisa Dallman, even admitted that she had once snapped his headset in two and threw out his Xbox in an effort to keep him focused on his schoolwork.

A love of gaming had been ingrained in Ashman, which was likely for the best. He noted he actually got his first Xbox when he was six years old, which undoubtedly allowed him to sharpen his general gaming skills to the point where he could emerge victorious in a larger-scale tournament such as this one. It's likely he and his mother had been at odds throughout much of his life when it comes to gaming but her son's perseverance paid off – a $2.25 million cash prize (which he's splitting with teammate Dave Jong) is a life-changing amount of money for anyone, let alone a teenager. With that said, though, Ashman has yet to plan out how he'd like to spend his winnings. His mother estimates he'd likely spend it all on a lifetime supply of Uber Eats, which sounds on par for a 15-year-old. He might, however, invest that cash, save it up, and join a professional team – that seems like it'll likely be next on the agenda for him.

In the meantime, since he and his family are now set financially for the foreseeable future, he'll have plenty of time to practice. And after this prize check clears, his mom might start singing a different tune about his devotion to the game – and any others he might decide to go pro with in the future.