A couple of nights ago, I had the opportunity to interview Rafik Bryant a.k.a. LoSt CaUzE -- a kid (at least to me) that makes an insane amount of money at professional video gaming. I caught up with Bryant at a CES after hours press event known as Showstoppers. Bryant is one of the world's top gamers. But the top gamer of all time (the one who has one the most championships, tournaments, and probably money) is Johnathan Wendel, otherwise known as Fatal1ty.
So big is Wendel that he spends time with periperhal manufacturers such as Creative Labs to give them feedback on how their products can be better built to serve the gaming market and then, if that's not enough, those manufacturers build Fatal1ty-branded gear that conforms to his design. Wendel told me that he's been all over the world to manufacturing facilities to help perfect the gear. The money isn't too bad either. In addition to the income he gets from Fatal1ty-branded products, appearances at special tournaments and events, and endorsing products the way professional athletes endorse sporting goods, Wendel cleared $200K in prize money in 2005 alone (what am I doing cranking these blogs and videos out?!)
Wendel got his start in professional gaming when he was 18 (he's 25 now) and in my video interview of him, he spoke fondly of the day he won his first prize money at a tournament and brought it home to show his father. For all you gamers of parents of gamers who are reading this, he also showed us his Fatal1ty-branded gaming equipment, told us what games he's into right now, and offered some advice to those like my own son who have an interest in professional gaming. Here's the video:
For a complete round-up of my CES 2007 coverage, click here.