16- year old Kyle "Bugha" Giersdorf has risen to the top of esports and gaming headlines everywhere since winning the 2019 Fortnite World Cup Solos Finals just over a month ago at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, NY. The recently-made millionaire has had his fair share of celebrity acclaim in the form of a break into mainstream media, as well as some close shaves with the dark side of fame.
Bugha appeared with his fellow teammates on the Sentinels Esports Fortnite team Nick "Aspect" McGuire, Cayden "Carose" Bradford, and Owen "Animal" Wright for a meet and greet on the last Tuesday of August at Universal CityWalk in Universal City, CA. Before heading to his next scrim block, Bugha spoke with Inven Global's Nick Geracie about winning Fortnite World Cup Solos, adjusting to fame, and recent changes to Fortnite since the start of Season 10.
I'm here with Bugha, the crown jewel of the Sentinels organization. How are you doing, and what's going here at Universal CityWalk?
I'm doing well. I came down here with my organization to do a meet&greet, as well as do some other things with the team.
You've become an icon in gaming and esports in the past month. Do you feel a responsibility as an ambassador to the mainstream?
I think the Fortnite World Cup brought a lot of relevance to esports and gaming in general, and of course, especially for Fortnite players. However, I think through streaming, you can also garner a lot of relevance.
You've had quite a month since becoming the 2019 Fortnite World Cup Solos Champion — The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon; throwing out the first pitch at the Philadelphia Phillies game — what have those experiences been like?
Before winning, I had no clue what would come with it because I wasn't really thinking about that. After all of the interviews and everything, it was kind of overwhelming at first, but I got used to it and just flowed with it.
You mentioned fame can be overwhelming, and there are unfortunate drawbacks to it that you've experienced. Did you expect these type of things to come with your rise, and how have you been able to adjust to having to deal with those types of situations?
Yeah, I mean, these are things you should be aware of in general, so after they happened, it gave us a lot more information on what we need to do to stay safe and be good.
I'm glad to hear that you're doing okay. Regarding the game of Fortnite itself, how do you feel about the recent updates?
The new updates haven't been the best, but I'm still going to enjoy playing the game because it's my passion. I really love it.
There was a very new update came out that was very shortly reverted regarding Epic Games nerfing '90's', that was then reverted Can you explain to the average Fortnite player or fan what 90s are in layman's terms and why it was such a controversial change for top players?
So 90s are a building technique that can get you elevated, and with Epic nerfing the speed required to do this, it makes it much slower and harder for professional players. It could be harder later in the game to get up mountains or other things like that.
At the World Cup, Epic made good choices for the competitive integrity of the game by removing the Storm Scout Sniper from the Solos and Duos tournaments and allowing players to compete on the previous patch that they were familiar with practicing on. Do the Season 10 changes come as a surprise to you after the World Cup?
I think the changes Epic is doing are fine if they're removed from the competitive playlist. They did that for the World Cup by removing the Storm Scout Sniper since it had only been out for a few days before the start of the tournament. Not everyone was fully adjusted to it, so I thought this was a good move by Epic. But yeah, as long as the changes are removed from the competitive playlist, they're okay.
If you were starting your career today, what are the top 3 priorities you would focus on, knowing what you know now?
Make connections; trying to get your name out there by making videos or self-promoting; and overall, practice a lot and get very good at the game. Do all of those things and you have a great chance at success.
What advice would you give a younger player who knows what they want to focus on, but does not have the support of their parents or guardians?
For me, it was pretty much about school with my parents. They were skeptical because of the amount of time I put into gaming, so what I had to do first is get really good grades to eventually focus more on gaming. As long as you're getting good grades or doing well in whatever your parents want, you'll be good to go.
Has your parents' opinion of your time spent on gaming changed in the past 30 days or so?
They're pretty hopeful with everything that's been going on, and they really approve of it.