REDONDO BEACH (CBSLA) — A Redondo Beach teenager won more than $1 million this past weekend in New York after placing third in the Fortnite World Cup finals.
A Fortnite YouTube video introduced 16-year-old Shane Cotton, whose player name is Epikwhale, to the gaming world last week. Cotton was recently in New York City competing against the best Fortnite players at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens.
More than 40 million people tried out for a spot, but only 100 players made it to the finals.
“I mean, it’s definitely a lot to process,” Cotton said. “I’m still kind of taking it in.”
Fortnite is a free online video game that has captivated teenagers around the world, but it has also drawn a lot of criticism. The World Health Organization announced last month it was deeming “gaming disorder” a mental condition. Fornite, specifically, has been called out for its violent and addictive content where players fight it out to become the last one standing.
But the game also offers a chance for teens like Cotton to win big. For placing third this past weekend, Cotton walked away with $1.2 million. The winner of the competition received $3 million.
“It’s crazy, I’m only 16,” he said. “So, I mean I don’t even know. It’s unheard of.”
Cotton is part of a booming billion dollar industry known as E-Sports.
“It’s very clear that gaming is going to be the future and it’s a growing industry,” Cotton said. “It’s crazy.”
Cotton is already taking college courses to get his associate’s degree, and he said he wants to pursue competitive Fortnite.