Sports fans who are getting into esports for the first time are likely to be keen to learn more about the personalities at the top of their game.
The best esports players are now celebrities in their own right, especially in some parts of the world such as South Korea, where they are household names and feted almost as icons.
With esports continuing to become more and more popular, the industry is set to anoint even more stars in the coming months and years.
But, right now, who are the famous faces at the helm of the top teams in the eSports world?
Each esport has their own elite talents
It goes without saying that esports stars tend to focus on one game, rather than trying to become masters of multiple titles. As a result, each esport has its own set of elite players, though leading esports teams are also likely to compete across a number of different games.
Dota 2, for example, has been dominated by the OG team in the last couple of years. OG has won the leading Dota 2 eSports event The International two years in a row, which has led to members becoming some of the richest players in the whole esports world.
Johan Sundstein, who is known by his gamertag N0tail, captains the OG team in Dota 2 and has become the top-earning esports player globally as a result. His career earnings are closing in on the $7 million mark, with OG and Sundstein expected to be the team to beat at TI in 2020.
This is despite the fact one of their leading players, Jesse ‘JerAx’ Vainikka announced earlier in the year that he would be stepping back from competitive Dota 2 play. JerAx cited a lack of passion for Dota 2 as his reason for retirement, with his future remaining somewhat uncertain.
Dota 2 dominates the list of the richest esports players in the world as its tournament prize pools are the biggest in the business.
But Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is not too far behind with Andreas Hojsleth – Xyp9x – arguably the best CS:GO player in the world. Hojsleth, who previously played for Team Solomid and Team Dignitas, now represents team Astralis.
Hojsleth’s team-mate and fellow Dane dupreeh – real name Peter Rasmussen – is another leading CS:GO star. Together, they have won top CS:GO events such as IEM Katowice 2019.
League of Legends remains one of the most popular esports in the world, despite its age. Faker, a South Korean whose real name is Lee Sang-hyeok, has won the League of Legends World Championship three times. He is now a part-owner of T1 Entertainment & Sports.
‘Bugha’ leads the next generation of esports stars
The world of esports is remarkably fluid. One big win can catapult a gamer right to the top.
A good example of how this can happen occurred at the Fortnite World Cup last year, the first time the event was held, with some 40 million people having entered the esports event.
Coming out on top and claiming the $3 million grand prize for solo players was a 16-year-old American, Kyle ‘Bugha’ Giersdorf, who is a player for esports team Sentinels.
Bugha came out on top after fierce competition at the Arthur Ashe Stadium, which usually hosts US Open tennis.
New esports emerging offers fresh opportunities for players to make a breakthrough too. During 2020, Riot Games is set to unleash its new tactical shooter, Valorant, which is expected to become one of the top esports.
Valorant is in closed beta mode right now but will be released in the coming months, with the top players in the game likely to become the next big esports stars.