ESPORTS EARNINGS: This is the era of professional gamers, teams, and competitions. With it, comes the big bucks — playing games for a living is now a full-blown reality.
TOP ESPORTS GENRES: Some of the most common pro-video game genres associated with eSports are first-person shooters (FPS), multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), battle royale, beat em ups, card battles, and real-time strategy (RTS) games.
Simply put, eSports are here to stay. And these are the pro-gamers with the biggest eSports earnings so far:
10. Lee ‘Flash’ Young Ho – Earned $668,000 from playing Starcraft: Brood War
Starcraft: Brood War is known to be one of the most famous and prestigious games from the first era of eSports:
The game is almost exclusively played in South Korea, and over the years, the level of competition has risen to extreme levels. With Lee ‘Flash’ Young Ho setting the benchmark for how to play the game.
9. Bradley ‘Frosty’ Bergstrom – Earned $684,000 from playing Halo
This U.S. Halo star is known for this performance across all four of the franchise’s titles. Most of his earnings were from Halo 5: Guardians – he also won the 2016 Halo Championship.
8. Park ‘Loki’ Jeong Yeong – Earned $705,000 from playing PUBG
Park ‘Loki’ Jeong Yeong is a 22-year-old South Korean PUBG player who has come to the forefront in recent years.
He has multiple finishes in the top three and won the PUBG Global Invitational in 2018. He was also a prominent player in the MET Asia Series in 2019.
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7. Cho ‘Maru’ Seong Ju – Earned $889,000 from playing Starcraft 2
Another player who has firmly established his dominance in the world of Starcraft 2 is Cho ‘Maru’ Seong Ju. He is today one of the top players of the game, in terms of winnings.
Maru further increased his overall earnings by winning a whopping $200,000 at the World Electronic Sports games in 2018.
6. Feg – Earned $1 Million from playing Shadowverse
Japanese Feg became a champion at the Shadowverse World Grand Prix in 2018.
However, not much is known about him. He entered various digital card game tournaments as an underdog but went on to win several tournaments and is today considered to be the champion of Shadowverse.
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5. Ian ‘CrimSix’ Porter – $1.2 Million from Call of Duty
Also known as C6, this U.S. eSports star has been at the top of his game for several years.
He has gone on to win three world championships and nearly 40 tournaments over the span of his career – earning an estimated $1.2 million in winnings.
4. Lee ‘Faker’ Sang-hyeok – Earned $1.3 million from playing League of legends
Faker is perhaps one of the most celebrated pro gamers in eSports of all time:
He has been a constant name on the rosters of T1’s world championships and at just 23-year-olds, he won the world championship in his very first season.
To this day, he is still regarded as one of the greatest players to ever play in LOL (League of Legends).
3. Peter ‘Dupreeh’ Rasmussen – Earned $1.9 Million from playing CS:GO
Popularly known as the Danish frag master, Astralis rifler “Dupreeh” won his fourth Valve Major as part of the greatest CS:GO team of all time in the year 2019.
Dupree was credited as having played a massive role in his team’s rise to fame, helping them get their act together, and pushing them to the top of the league standings in modern-day Counter-Strike. He has estimated earnings of $1.9 million to date.
2. Kyle ‘Bugha’ Giersdorf – Earned $3.2 Million from playing Fortnite
The game Fortnite exploded onto the scene of eSports in 2018 and quickly went on to become one of the most played games in the world.
Epic Games, the company behind the building-frenzy, children-friendly game, invested millions of dollars into establishing various tournaments for this game.
Across all the tournaments, the one player who consistently came out on top was ‘Bugha.’ He was noticed for his excellent performance at the Fortnite World Cup and ultimately rose to become the top player in this Esports category in 2019.
He has earned a whopping $3 million from Fortnite.
1. Johan ‘N0tail’ Sundstein – Earned $6.9 million from playing Dota 2
Another Danish veteran in eSports, N0tail, has gone on to become the biggest earner in all eSports categories in 2019.
He led OG to a grand victory at The International for the second year in a row. Apart from his spectacular payday during TI8 and TI9, N0tail has also enjoyed immense success with both Team Secret and OG before TI, which is one of the biggest reasons behind seeing him top this list.
eSports Earnings Conclusion
In the last decade, the popularity of various eSports championships has risen like crazy. In fact, fans have started tuning into these events at a never before seen rate.
The growth of eSports has been so impressive in the last few years that in 2019 alone, there was over $215 million awarded to players in more than 4,600 tournaments. This growth shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon, as the growth of viewership and sponsorships have also witnessed a massive growth.
Some of the most popular eSports franchises of 2020 remain League of Legends, Dota, Counter-Strike, Street Fighter, Overwatch, StarCraft, and Super Smash Bros, among others.
Amongst the most popular eSports tournaments, some of the ones with the most winnings are the Dota 2’s International, League of Legends World Championship, Intel Extreme Masters, and Evolution Championship Series (EVO).