At first, it seems like any other sporting event. Parents sip beer from clear plastic cups. Children eat overpriced soft pretzels and pizza, holding giant red styrofoam hands I recognise from baseball games. But instead of a grassy field, today the Arthur Ashe stadium in Queens – best known for hosting tennis stars for the glitzy US Open – is anchored by a massive 3-tier purple stage attached to the roof by cables. Tens of thousands of spectators are here to witness 200 players fight to the death on a virtual island. In reality, this translates to watching teenage boys – and they are all boys – pound their keyboards for roughly four hours. The last boy standing will be crowned a millionaire. I am at the first-ever Fortnite World Cup. At this 3-day, Disneyland-esque festival, the virtual monsters and online memes of Fortnite, the global gaming phenomenon, have been transposed into the real world. This is Woodstock for a generation raised on smartphones and iPads. Fortnite is technically a video game, and one with a simple premise. At the start, players drop on to an island and shoot each other until only one person is left standing. Each match… Read full this story
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