GLEN BURNIE, MD(WUSA9) - What the heck are E-sports?
Basically, they are competitive video games.
Teams get paid to play fighting games in front of thousands, and they sometimes win millions.
That's right. People get paid to sit on their butts and play games.
One of the top players for competitive gaming is right here in Glen Burnie, Maryland.
His name is Casey Fowler, and he's only 17 years old
I asked him how much he made and he said, "probably somewhere in the $20,000 range." I couldn't believe it.
"But that's not considered much," he added. A lot of people play and make millions."
Casey's a star for Astral authority.
Astral is the sponsor that pays his team $300 a month.
Casey ranks as one of the top players at his position, for the game called SMITE.
SMITE is a battle arena game where people play as Gods from all over the world.
Imagine Zeus fighting Oden. That’s what it like. Teams of five go at it in combat style.
The end goal of the game is to destroy the opposing team’s Titan.
Fowler isn’t even out of high school, and the twenty grand he’s made is more than majority of people have made through 4 years of high school.
"To me it’s just another perk," Casey comments.
"Everybody considers me one of the best or better jungler," he adds. "I’m like the best in a certain role. And MJ is considered the best so they just came up with thumble Jordan."
They call him Thumble Jordan because he’s so good with the controller.
Casey started playing video games when he was five years old, thanks to seeing his brother play battlefield games on Xbox.
"I saw him playing and was like ooh what’s that?"
His nickname for the SMITE game is Khaotic Purpose, and he spends more than 40 hours a week playing games on top of his school work.
"How much sunlight do you get," I ask him.
"I don’t really go out I guess so probably not a lot," he laughs. "My skin is pale."
His parents certainly did not expect all the time spent in the room would lead to this.
"You know you're thinking he’s just playing online," his dad Eric Fowlers says.
"You're thinking its not that level. The first tournament he comes out screaming, '500 bucks! 500 bucks!! I qualified.' We are like qualified for what?"
So how exactly did he get on a professional team to even get that type of money?
Well in the gaming world you play online, and each win you get, gets recorded.
The more wins you have the better your ranking is.
His team won two tournaments the past two years to help fatten his bank account.
One of those tournaments wasn’t easy and not because of the competition.
He played in Spain at a digital festival, just after his grandmother passed because from brain cancer.
"So right before when she was at hospice, we walked in and we thought it wasn’t gonna be as bad, but it was awful," Casey said with a sad face.
"So I made a promise to her. I said I'm gonna win DreamHack for you so it was a more motivation thing for me. I held true to promise and won for her. If I wasn’t able to do that I wouldn’t be ale to look at her I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself if I wasn’t able to win."
He keeps winning though. For his late grandma and parents.
Casey’s parents are without question his biggest supporters.
"She’s weird in good way," Casey said in referencing his mom. Well most would say, ‘Oh you play e-sports like what is that? that is weird that’s not even a real thing.’ They are like, ‘Oh yea oh yea lets goo lets goo. My boy is winning.’"
This past November Casey kept the successful run going.
His team flew to Atlanta for the World qualifying tournament.
The squad won won first and Casey aka Khaotic Purpose dominated.
What did he get for a first place finish?
"They treat us like rockstars," Casey added.
So next up for this incredible 17-year-old is the SMITE World Championships in Atlanta starting January 4th.
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