Sports fans taking an interest in esports for the first time are likely to be surprised by how much money can be earned by the very best esports players.
In fact, many of the top esports players are now multi-millionaires thanks to the increasingly large prize pots that are up for grabs at the largest esports tournaments in the world.
Winning a single event can now make an esport player an instant millionaire. It is little wonder so many people are starting to devote themselves to improving in their chosen eSport.
So who are the richest esports players in the world right now?
Dota 2 stars lead the way
First up, it is important to note that some esports have more lucrative tournaments than others. As a result, all of the top 10 esports players in the world are known for playing Dota 2.
Dota 2 tournaments are known for having the top prize money in the world of esports, so it is no surprise one of the game’s leading players has banked the most money in esports so far.
Johan Sundstein, a Danish gamer who plays under the name N0tail, has won more money out of playing esports than anyone else, at the time of writing. He has earned almost $7 million to date, with the vast majority of that amazing amount having come in the last two years.
This is because N0tail is part of the OG esports team for Dota 2 – the team that has won the top event in the eSport, The International, in each of the past two years.
Sundstein captains the OG team and one of his colleagues, Topias Taavitsainen, is also in the world’s top five richest esports players having earned close to $5.5 million from playing esports.
Second to Sundstein in the overall list of the richest esports players right now is Jesse Vainikka. The Finnish Dota 2 specialist retired from professional gaming after OG’s back-to-back wins at The International.
Tournament wins can propel players into the elite
Prize pots for esports events are growing all the time, so some of the world’s richest esports players have earned their places in the list from a single success.
For example, out of the 40 million players who entered the Fortnite World Cup last year, the player who came out on top of the lot was Kyle Giersdorf, who plays under the name Bugha.
Giersdorf was just 16 when he claimed the $3 million top prize, changing his life for good. The American, a player for the Sentinels esports organisation, instantly became a household name thanks to his win, which also earned him an appearance on The Tonight Show.
Bugha is now able to add to his esports income from winning the Fortnine World Cup through his 2.2 million subscribers on YouTube, while he has almost 1.8 million followers on streaming site Twitch too.
Away from Dota 2 and Fortnite, the world’s richest esports player is Andreas Hojsleth. The Dane, who games as Xyp9x, is a leading Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player for Astralis.
Having previously featured for Team Solomid and Team Dignitas, Hojsleth has so far earned more than $1.7 million from esports, placing him just above his Astralis Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team-mate Peter Rasmussen (dupreeh) in the list of the top richest esports players.
League of Legends is another eSport where the leading players have been able to make a fortune. The world’s richest esports player from League of Legends right now is Lee Sang-hyeok – known as Faker – who has earned $1.25 million.
He amassed this mainly thanks to his trio of wins at the League of Legends World Championship between 2013 and 2016.Making cash out of esports is challenging, but the world’s top players are millionaires.