The average age of competitors at the Fortnite World Cup was 16 years old. It's the exact age of the big winner Kyle 'Bugha' Giersdorf, who destroyed the competition, nearly doubling the second place point total. He's a Fortnite prodigy, and by all appearances a happy, healthy young person with a supportive family. The kid's got a good work ethic, no doubt, but he also clearly has plenty of natural aptitude for point-and-clicking on heads and throwing up wild constructions in competitive Fortnite. Supernatural reflexes and game sense.
It's possible that you could raise a healthy, happy child who does well in school, has great friends, a vibrant personality, and somehow manages a wildly successful Fortnite career. But that's pure luck, the cosmic lottery delivering unto you a mouse and keyboard adept Lebron James. There's no way to guarantee that kind of success. So before getting any big ideas from the headlines flashing that $3 million prize above the face of a young teen much like your own, let's make sure your kid is capable at all.
Here's a few big signs that your kid isn't cut out to be an esports prodigy.
They're 18 years old
It's too old. Retirement age. Those reflexes aren't what they used to be. It's a lifetime shackled to a desk for them, sorry. Now's the right time to tell them what bills are.
You've seen them in the last week
That's not gonna work. The only time you should see your child is as a shadow flitting by the crack in your bedroom door as they head to the fridge for food at the devil's hour.
Their brand sucks
Ask your kid who edits their highlight reels, who makes their YouTube thumbnails, who their audience is. Demand that they show you their logo. If they don't point to their t-shirt, they've already failed. They should be far beyond the merch stage by the time you even realize they play Fortnite.
They have no reaction to the phrase 'Faze up'
See also 'gamers rise up' or talking about clapping another player's cheeks. They can't make the little F with their hand anyway.
They haven't needed any mysterious rides to the airport
Any esports kid hero is gonna be a globe-trotter by the time they hit 16, and if they've yet to take a ride on the big boat in the sky, chances are they're not out there competing. I suggest leaving your kid at the airport once a week until they get the idea.
You're paying for a basic internet package
No one's winning anything with that ping. But don't swing too hard in the other direction. We don't want a zero ping situation here. Every gamer god needs to blame lag sometimes, or otherwise they will be forced to confront their own ego. This cannot happen.
They're not already paying the mortgage with Twitch income
Streamers between the ages of 13 and 18 need a parent's permission to use Twitch, so you'll know if the cash is coming in or not. Best case scenario: You have five houses in a few years. Worst case: You pay off one before death.
They aren't recognized for their esoteric skin, pickaxe, and backbling combo alone
No one's gonna recognize your kid at the mall, but they better draw crowds in the lobby. Benjyfishy has the Fishstick skin on lockdown and Myth's been on the Skull Trooper beat since the beginning. Dig deeper and find an untapped look. My suggestion: Sky Stalker with the Carapace backbling. Pair a bright WW1 look (threatening and warm, nice inherent tension) with a cape designed to resemble a caterpillar (dumb as hell, looks like a sleeping bag). The more upsetting the look, the more memorable.
They play more than one game
No commitment. If you see them playing Divinity: Original Sin 2 even once, they're long gone. That kid is going to a liberal arts school. Metal Gear Solid? One cutscene is an entire scrimmage's worth of practice, gone. The Witcher 3? It's rated M for mature and I'm pretty sure they'll go to jail if they're caught.
They only say 'Let's go' and 'pog' forty times a day instead of 650,000
If you can have a complete conversation with your kid and understand more than half of what's said, it's too late for them.
There's still no Jet Ski in the garage no matter how many times you open and close your eyes
Keep them closed. It's better this way.