A new generation of gamers is flocking to “Fortnite,” the battle royale-style online shooter title quickly becoming the most popular video game on the internet.
With its vibrant, cartoonish visuals and slick controls, the free-to-play game is surging in revenue and popularity — and enabling younger gamers to gain prominence.
One of them is 13-year-old Kyle Jackson, the youngest “Fortnite” player to become a professional gamer.
A resident of Kent, England, Jackson has joined a team of other professionals who compete against other teams in tournaments for money. Prize pools for some video game tournaments can reach millions of dollars.
“What’s special about us is that we have good chemistry, and that’s why we do so well in tournaments and matches,” Jackson said Tuesday on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.”
“If you’re playing with a team and you think of them as just teammates and not friends at all, I think that has a big effect on the team and it doesn’t make you play or talk to each other as well,” Jackson said.
The game has racked up tens of millions of downloads, and has enjoyed consistent growth in popularity since its launch last year. “Fortnite” recently pulled ahead of its biggest competitor in the genre, “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds,” in revenue and player count, according to a March report from SuperData Research.
The growth of “Fortnite” has dovetailed with the rise of video game streaming platforms, such as Twitch. Some of the top personalities on the site, which allows viewers to watch live games, chat with each other and donate money to the players, have said they net thousands of dollars every month from streaming.
Jackson streams on Twitch under the name “Mongraal.” He plays while talking to his audience through a webcam microphone.
But he can only play until 9 p.m., when his curfew kicks in. That, plus the chunk of his day dedicated to school, limits Jackson’s game time significantly.
Even as a pro gamer with a cramped schedule, Jackson said he’s not glued to his computer when he has free time.
“Obviously I don’t play from [4 p.m. until 9 p.m.] every day. I will get home, and if we have something arranged, I’ll go outside to a museum or something like that.”
Jackson added: “I still go outside. I don’t game every day 24 hours.”