Highest Paid eSports Players in the World

Many people still think of video games as a diversion for children. But the reality is that eSports is the fastest growing segment within the entire sporting world, and revenues are skyrocketing.

As of 2017, the estimated total value of eSports at over $1.5 billion. The richest tournament in eSports history, the 2018 International, featured a total prize pool of over $25 million, with a first prize of more than $11 million. At present, 69 players spanning across four different games have become millionaires due to their eSports winnings. By the end of 2019, that number may well be over 100. The biggest esports live events rival the Super Bowl.

Colleges are realizing that eSports are a serious enterprise, with more than 120 US universities and colleges offering eSports programs. Increasingly, becoming an eSports competitor is a viable career path for the best of the best.

What’s especially exciting about the eSports industry is how much growth potential yet remains. Currently, the vast majority of fanbase for eSports are people in their teens, twenties and thirties. These are the first few generations to grow up with ubiquitous online gaming. As time goes on, a greater and greater percentage of the overall population will be within the potential audience pool for eSports.

Young people with talent at online games can seriously consider pursuing a career in eSports. Like any ruthlessly merit-based occupation, competition is fierce and hard work and dedication are required to succeed. But for the first time, revenue, prize pools and sponsorship opportunities make eSports a hugely lucrative opportunity.

Overall Top 10 Highest Paid eSports Players

1. Kuro Takhasomi

1st GuyCountry– Germany
Nickname– KuroKy
Overall Earnings– $4,165,926.95
2018 Earnings– $37,000.00
2018 Earnings– $647,150.40
Highest Paying Game– Dota 2
Age– 26
Biggest Prize– $2,172,536.60 – The International 2017, Dota 2

Takhasomi, known as KuroKy, plays as a support for Team Liquid at the highest levels of Dota 2. A mainstay in the sport for years, KuroKy’s pinnacle came in 2017 when Liquid won The International 2017, the sport’s annual biggest tournament.

2. Johan Sundstein

Johan (liquipedia)Country– Denmark
Nickname– N0tail
Overall Earnings– $3,752,055.59
2019 Earnings– $17,000.00
2018 Earnings– $2,282,716.63
Highest Paying Game– Dota 2
Age– 25
Biggest Prize– $2,246,831.60 – The International 2018, Dota 2

Sundstein, known as N0tail or BigDaddyN0tail, is a support currently playing for Team OG competing at Dota 2. N0Tail and OG are the defending champions of The International, the most prestigious and lucrative Dota2 tournament in the world, having captured the crown in 2018.

3. Amer Al-Barkawi

Amer Al-Barkawi (Wiki)Country– Jordan
Nickname– Miracle-
Overall Earnings– $3,730,337.28
2019 Earnings– $29,000.00
2018 Earnings– $640,150.40
Highest Paying Game– Dota 2
Age– 21
Biggest Prize– $2,172,536.60 – The International 2017, Dota 2

Al-Barkawi, known as Miracle-, is a carry who has played for both Team OG and Team Liquid in the professional ranks of Dota 2. After emerging from the pub ranks, Miracle has been a part of some of the strongest professional teams, including the 2017 The International winning Liquid.

4. Ivan Ivanov

IvanIvanov (liquipedia)Country– Bulgaria
Nickname– MinD_ContRoL
Overall Earnings– $3,521,411.76
2019 Earnings– $37,000.00
2018 Earnings– $662,150.40
Highest Paying Game– Dota 2
Age– 24
Biggest Prize– $2,172,536.60 – The International 2017, Dota 2

Ivanov, known as Mind_ControL, is an offlaner who plays for Team Liquid at the top ranks of professional Dota 2. Long acknowledged as one of the best players on the Dota 2 scene, MinD_ControL’s greatest triumph to date has been his win as part of Team Liquid in 2017 The International.

5. Lasse Urpalainen

LasseUrpalainen (liquipedia)Country– Finland
Nickname– Matumbaman
Overall Earnings– $3,505,116.04
2019 Earnings– $37,000.00
2018 Earnings– $646,150.40
Highest Paying Game– Dota 2
Age– 24
Biggest Prize– $2,172,536.60 – The International 2017, Dota 2

Urpalainan, known as Matumbaman, is a carry who currently plays for Team Liquid as a Dota 2 professional. Previously a member of Team Veni,Vidi,Vici, Matumbaman was recruited to Team Liquid in 2015, and was part of the squad which took down The International in 2017.

6. Jesse Vainikka

dotablast.comCountry– Finland
Nickname– JerAx
Overall Earnings– $3,323,463.82
2019 Earnings– $17,000.00
2018 Earnings– $2,290,631.60
Highest Paying Game– Dota 2
Age– 26
Biggest Prize– $2,246,831.60 – The International 2018, Dota 2

Vainikka, known as JerAx, is a support who currently plays for Team OG at the top flights of Dota 2. JerAx has been a part of some of the strongest Dota 2 professional teams, including Team Liquid, although he left Liquid before their 2017 The International win. JerAx would capture his own The International title with Team OG the following year.

7. Sumail Hassan

SumailHassan (luquipedia)Country– Pakistan
Nickname– SumaiL
Overall Earnings– $3,313,914.94
2019 Earnings– $28,000.00
2018 Earnings– $646,175.80
Highest Paying Game– Dota 2
Age– 20
Biggest Prize– $1,326,932.14 – The International 2015, Dota 2

Hassan, known as SumaiL, is a solo midlaner who plays for Evil Geniuses in the ranks of professional Dota 2. SumaiL, originally born in Pakistan, moved to the United States in 2012, where he quickly drew attention for his precocious Dota 2 skills. Winning the 2015 International with Evil Geniuses, SumaiL became the youngest player to ever win $1 million plus in eSports.

8. Maroun Merhej

MarounMerhej (liquipedia)Country– Lebanon
Nickname– GH
Overall Earnings– $3,124,344.84
2019 Earnings– $37,000.00
2018 Earnings– $646,586.06
Highest Paying Game– Dota 2
Age– 23
Biggest Prize– $2,172,536.60 – The International 2017, Dota 2

Merhej, known as GH, currently plays as a support for Team Liquid as a professional Dota 2 player. GH originally rose to prominence on the Dota 2 scene as a solo midlaner, but he found his place as a support in the professional ranks. His joining Team Liquid was a huge part of the reason they won the 2017 International.

9. Saahil Arora

SaahilArora (imgur)Country– USA
Nickname– UNiVeRsE
Overall Earnings– $3,038,737.67
2019 Earnings– $5,500.00
2018 Earnings– $95,934.20
Highest Paying Game– Dota 2
Age– 29
Biggest Prize– $1,326,932.14 – The International 2015, Dota 2

Arona, known as UNiVeRsE, is an offlaner professional Dota 2 player, currently a free agent but formerly a member of Dota 2 powerhouses like Evil Geniuses and Team Secret. UNiVeRsE is a Dota 2 veteran, having competed in all major tournaments in the sport’s existence, including a 2015 International win with Evil Geniuses.

10. Peter Dager

PeterDager (luquipedia)Country– USA
Nickname– ppd
Overall Earnings– $2,943,166.36
2019 Earnings– $46,900.00
2018 Earnings– $251,480.80
Highest Paying Game– Dota 2
Age– 27
Biggest Prize– $1,326,932.14 – The International 2015, Dota 2

Dager, known as ppd, is a support pro Dota player currently part of Team Ninjas in Pyjamas. Dager is a long time professional, with notable stints with OpTic Gaming and Evil Geniuses. As captain of Evil Geniuses, ppd led the squad to a win at the 2015 Internation, a personal career highlight in an overall decorated resume.

Highest Paid Player from USA

Saahil Arora

(See Above)

Highest Paid Player from Philippines

Djardel Jicko Mampusti

Djardel (luquipedia)Nickname– DJ
Overall Earnings– $653,007.11
2019 Earnings– $36,000.00
2018 Earnings– $104,932.20
Highest Paying Game– Dota 2
Biggest Prize– $290,786.40 – 4th Place at The International 2016, Dota 2

Highest Paid Player from China

Lu Yao

LuYao (luquipedia)Nickname– Somnus M
Overall Earnings– $2,263,924.22
2019 Earnings– $16,000.00
2018 Earnings– $1,091,935.92
Highest Paying Game– Dota 2
Age– 23
Biggest Prize– $817,029.60 – 2nd Place at The International 2018, Dota 2

Highest Paid Player from Canada

Kurtis Ling

KurtisLing (liquipedia)Nickname– Aui_2000
Overall Earnings– $1,973,978.04
2019 Earnings– $0
2018 Earnings– $6,000.00
Highest Paying Game– Dota 2
Age– 26
Biggest Prize– $1,326,932.14 – The International 2015, Dota 2

Highest Paid Player from Australia

Anathan Pham

Anathan (luquipedia)Nickname– ana
Overall Earnings– $2,853,875.76
2019 Earnings– $0
2018 Earnings– $2,249,136.18
Highest Paying Game– Dota 2
Age– 19
Biggest Prize– $2,246,831.60 – The International 2018, Dota 2

Highest Paid Player from Russia

Alexei Berezin

AlexeiBerezin (luquipedia)Nickname– Solo
Overall Earnings– $1,536,281.21
2019 Earnings– $89,833.33
2018 Earnings– $843,291.60
Highest Paying Game– Dota 2
Age– 28
Biggest Prize– $229,789.60 – 5th/6th Place at The International 2018, Dota 2

Highest Paid Player from Germany

Kuro Takhasomi

(See Above)

Highest Paid Player from South Korea

Lee, Sang Hyeok

SangLeeNickname– Faker
Overall Earnings– $1,193,853.15
2019 Earnings– $17,926.00
2018 Earnings– $6,213.80
Highest Paying Game– League of Legends
Age– 24
Biggest Prize– $338,000.00 – LoL 2016 World Championship, League of Legends

Highest Paid Player from Brazil

Gabriel Toledo

GabrielToledo (Skgaming)Nickname– FalleN
Overall Earnings– $928,226.44
2019 Earnings– $31,100.00
2018 Earnings– $174,400.00
Highest Paying Game– Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Age– 27
Biggest Prize– $100,000 – ESL One: Cologne 2016, CS: GO

Highest Paid Player from Sweden

Gustav Magnusson

Gustav (liquipedia)Nickname– s4
Overall Earnings– $2,226,343.71
2019 Earnings– $40,000.00
2018 Earnings– $605,375.80
Highest Paying Game– Dota 2
Age– 27
Biggest Prize– $536,175.80 – 3rd Place at The International 2018, Dota 2

Top 10 Highest Paid Players in Dota 2

Rank Name Nickname Total Earnings
1 Kuro Takhasomi KuroKy $4,165,926.95
2 Johan Sundstein N0tail $3,752,055.59
3 Amer Al-Barkawi Miracle- $3,730,337.28
4 Ivan Ivanov MinD_ContRoL $3,521,411.76
5 Lasse Urpalainen Matumbaman $3,505,116.04
6 Jesse Vainikka JerAx $3,323,463.82
7 Sumail Hassan SumaiL $3,313,914.94
8 Maroun Merhej GH $3,124,344.84
9 Saahil Arora UNiVeRsE $3,038,737.67
10 Peter Dager ppd $2,943,166.36

Top 10 Highest Paid Players in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Rank Name Nickname Total Earnings
1 Andreas Højsleth Xyp9x $1,453,191.80
2 Peter Rasmussen dupreeh $1,448,322.74
3 Nicolai Reedtz dev1ce $1,416,945.97
4 Lukas Rossander gla1ve $1,287,509.07
5 Emil Reif Magisk $1,041,881.97
6 Gabriel Toledo FalleN $928,226.44
7 Epitácio de Melo TACO $924,481.85
8 Fernando Alvarenga fer $915,567.48
9 Marcelo David coldzera $908,673.42
10 Olof Kajbjer olofmeister $792,869.01

Top 10 Highest Paid Players in League of Legends

Rank Name Nickname Total Earnings
1 Lee, Sang Hyeok Faker $1,193,853.15
2 Lee, Ho Seong Duke $952,953.95
3 Lee, Jae Wan Wolf $913,084.7
4 Bae, Jun Sik Bang $910,451.46
5 Bae, Seong Ung Bengi $810,683.00
6 Song, Eui Jin Rookie $562,582.36
7 Kang, Sun Gu Blank $559,518.75
8 Kang, Chan Yong Ambition $553,234.2
9 Gao, Zhen Ning Ning $518,744.53
10 Jian, Zihao Uzi $516,448.39

Top 10 Highest Paid Players in StarCraft II

Rank Name Nickname Total Earnings
1 Cho, Sung Choo Maru $745,639.35
2 Lee, Shin Hyung INnoVation $679,125.07
3 Joona Sotala Serral $648,253.91
4 Lee, Byung Ryul Rogue $622,954.35
5 Kim, Yoo Jin sOs $596,412.82
6 Jun, Tae Yang TY $567,566.3
7 Eu, Yoon Su soO $553,055.73
8 Kim, Dae Yeob Stats $542,222.96
9 Jang, Min Chul MC $509,807.06
10 Park, Ryung Woo Dark $497,637.49

Top 10 Highest Paid Players in Fortnite

Rank Name Nickname Total Earnings
1 Turner Tenney Tfue $517,050
2 Timothy Miller Bizzle $509,550
3 Dennis Lepore Cloak $417,875
4 Jake Brumleve POACH $347,600
5 Nate Hill NateHill $342,475
6 Thomas Mulligan 72hrs $313,200
7 Noah Wright Vivid $308,375
8 Dmitri Van de Vrie Mitr0 $285,323
9 Austin Etue Morgausse $269,000
10 Ryan Chaplo Chap $239,825

Images Sourced From: https://liquipedia.net/, https://dotablast.com/, https://www.sk-gaming.com/, https://www.prolink.gg

  
Sam Shefrin is the founder of Lineups.com, Inc. Before Lineups, he started Daily Fantasy Cafe, Inc. in 2014. Armed with a passion for sports and every Atlanta team, his journey continues with the goal of making Lineups a premier sports analytics destination. He has been quoted on Forbes.com for industry insight and his websites featured on NBATV, Yahoo! Sports, Fantasy Pros, Bleacher Report and SB Nation.

Hot eSports News Stories