Noted professional video game player Jonathan Wendel, known more famously as Fatal1ty, has won the $1500,000 grand prize in the Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL) World Tour Finals. The prize is the largest ever awarded for a professional games playing tournament.
Wendel, aged 24, beat Dutch player Sander Kaasjager, known as Vo0, in four straight maps on PC first person shooter Painkiller
. A total of $1,000,000 in prize money was available for the whole tour, with Wendel pocketing $231,000 in winnings himself.
“It took a lot of practice coming into this tournament, training about eight hours a day for the last two to three weeks,” Wendel told AP Television News after the event. “To win $150,000 playing a video game - that's the best.”
Wendel has been playing games since the age of five, when his father gave him a NES with a copy of SNK’s Ikari Warriors
. He began winning local competitions at the age of fifteen and entered his first professional tournament in Dallas, Texas at age eighteen.
Professional video games playing has been steadily increasing in popularity and visibility in recent years, as evidenced by the recently completed World Cyber Games in Singapore
The CPL World Tour 2005 has encompassed five stops around the world, with the final on Tuesday taking part at the Nokia theatre in Times Square, New York. The tour was also covered in detail by MTV, with live highlights and a half hour special due to air on Saturday, November 26th.