Esports Could Make You Rich

Esports Could Make You Rich
Dota 2 The International is one of the biggest esports events in the world.

Gamers are earning millions of dollars in Esports

Gamers aren’t the first people you think of when the mega-rich cross your mind, but maybe they should be!  Imagine getting paid a huge amount to do what you love all day?  It’s hardly a job if it’s actually play.

Have you ever considered going pro?  Your parents probably told you to get a haircut and get a real job, but if you’re really, really good at gaming, you could start making big bucks.

There's a lot of earning potential.  As this graph shows, competition payouts for e-sports have risen massively over the past five years:

Esports tournament prize amounts, 1998 – 2014

It won’t come as any surprise to know that Dota has the most money in esports currently. 25% of all Compendium sales go to The International overall prize pool. That’s a lot of sales, given that Dota 2's combined prize pool for 2014 was $10,887,235. Last year, this total pool was shared among 14 teams, each with 5 players a side. The China team won last year, getting  $5,008,128 in total. Split between the five of them, that makes $1,001,625.60 each. 

Who is making the big money?

According to esportearnings, these same five players who won the International in 2014 are now the richest gamers in the world.  Figures at 14 May 2015 put Chen, Zhihao at number 1, Jiao, Wang at number 2, Wang, Zhaohui at number 3, Zhang, Pan at number 4 and Zhang, Ning at number 5. These guys are all making more than US $1M a year in prize money alone.  The figures on esportearnings don’t even count sponsorship and promotions income!

 I could be wrong, but I don’t see any women among them. Esportsearnings has also listed the top 100 biggest earning female gamers.  The top earner is Katherine Gunn aka Mystik.  She made under half what the top guys are earning.  I’ll have more to say on this topic, I’m sure!

Katherine Gunn aka Mystik

I was also disappointed to see that the oldest big earner was only 51.  This was Chris Bond, aka Fatal. (I couldn't find a photo of him). People – you need to get your grandparents gaming!

The largest prize pools

The top 3 largest overall prize pools are from Dota 2.  The International 2014 comes top, with over $10M in play in 2014, and almost $3M in 2013.  This year’s pool could be $15M.  DAC 2015 comes second with $3,057,521.00 worth of prizes.

The next biggest earning tournament is the Smite World Championship 2015, gathering $2.5M worth of prizes.  League of Legends is up there among the biggest earners too, with the LoL 2014, Season 3 and Season 2 World Championships each netting a total pool of around the $2M mark.

Call of Duty Championships have a $1M total prize pool, but Counter-Strike’s biggest pool is a mere $0.5M for CGS 2007 and the Starcraft II WSC Global Finals netted only $0.25M total.

Which are the most played games in esports?

As you’d expect, the games earning top money in the prize pools are among the most played, but there’s not an exact correlation.  League of Legends isn’t the top prize earner, but it’s by far the most popular game according to Statista. Of course they are only measuring their own online gaming platform, Raptr, but even taken with a pinch of salt, we can see a clear trend here.   Statista records that as of March 2015, almost 22% of all the time spend gaming on their platform was on LoL.  Second in was World of Warcraft with 8.16% of total gaming time, and Counter Strike came in third with almost 6% of gaming time. 

Of course, multiplayer online battle arena games are among the top esports games, but competitions are around for a huge variety of game titles and genres, you just have to look around.


Gamer Since: 2012
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Cities: Skylines
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn, Call for Heroes: Pompolic Wars,

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