ORLANDO, Fla. – A 24-year-old Central Florida man was crowned the world champion in virtual reality at the World Cyber Games last month after beating out international competitors for the title.
Bradley Lynch traveled to China for the week-long tournament of esports and came home a world champion.
"It was literally a huge convention center event, tons of people," Lynch said.
Lynch played 'Final Assault' by Phaser Lock Interactive. The objective of the game is to destroy the opponent's home base.
Lynch destroyed competitors from other countries, including Poland, South Korea and China.
Competing under his YouTube name, "Sadly it's Bradley," he brought home the gold medal.
"Becoming a winner has just been a great experience mentally for me," Lynch said. "It's finally paying off."
Three years ago, News 6 reported on Lynch after he scored an HTC VIVE, a virtual reality gaming system, before it hit the market.
Lynch posted videos of the game on YouTube.
When he first started, he had fewer than 20,000 subscribers. Three years later it's more than 80,000.
Lynch was selected to compete in the competition because he's considered a virtual reality, or VR, influencer.
"I mean, three years ago, I didn't even know that VR would be at the point where I can even compete in esports for it," he said. "That really shows how virtual reality has grown."
Esports is expected to be a billion-dollar industry this year, and it could mean opportunities not just for gamers but for Central Florida's economy.
Josh Mora is executive director of Strategic Partnerships at Full Sail University.
"It’s so great to see someone like Brad getting attention for being a champion in VR gaming and to know that he comes from Central Florida," Mora said.
"There are careers in this; there are new industries that are blossoming from this," Mora said.
Full Sail recently made a major investment in esports by building The Fortress, the largest esports arena on a U.S. college campus, according to Mora.
It's home to Armada, the Full Sail esports team.
However, the university is hoping to attract professional esports teams and capitalize on the emerging billion-dollar industry.
"The goal is that Central Florida and the greater Orlando area becomes an epicenter for esports. Full Sail is taking a lead road in that," Mora said. "I'd love to see Amway Arena host an esports event where every ticket is sold out. That would be the dream for sure."
Lynch also won a $10,000 prize.
Moving forward he says he plans to continue to promote virtual reality on his YouTube channel and wants to continue working in the gaming and virtual reality industries.