Over the past decade, Esports has exploded in both popularity and profitability. Esports is a multi-billion dollar a year industry with hundreds of millions of viewers worldwide. With Esports rapid and continued growth, it is obvious that it is here to stay.
The impact of Esports is also growing, as more and more professional competitions are being held across the globe. The number of earnings and competitions in Esports is at an all time high. Below we are going to highlight the most popular professional Esports games, as well as the current highest professional Esports earners.
Number one on my list is the multiplayer battle arena game Dota 2. Mostly popular in North America and Europe, Dota 2 consists of teams of five who are given designated areas on the map to defend or, if the opposing team holds them, attack.
Released in 2013, Dota 2 isn’t the most popular Esports game, but still boasts around 4,500 athletes with 1,700 professional tournaments and competitions around the world. Dota 2, however, is the highest earning professional Esports game ever and has awarded over $300 million in competition prizes all-time.
The top Dota 2 earner of all time is Danish Esports athlete Johan Sudstein. The 29 year-old has accrued over $7.1 million in winnings across 121 Dota 2 Esports competitions. Sudstein, nicknamed “N0tail”, is the highest earning professional Esports athlete of all time.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Often referred to as CS:GO, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the fourth edition of Valve Corporation’s Counter-Strike Series. This first-person shooter game, released in 2012, has become massively popular in both North America and Europe.
CS:GO is one of the most participated in professional Esports games with well over 15,000 players and 6,500 competitions and tournaments worldwide. It is also a very profitable game, as just under $150 million in competition prizes have been awarded all-time.
Peter Rasmussen holds claim to the most CS:GO winnings of all time. The 29 year-old Danish gamer has won over $2 million across 177 professional tournaments.
Fortnite’s popularity exploded soon after its release in 2017. Hundreds of millions of people enjoyed this battle royale style game. Its popularity in professional Esports have grown just the same.
There are more than 6,000 Fortnite Esports athletes with around 1200 global professional competitions and tournaments. Fortnite has exploded over the past few years in Esports and has awarded more than $150 million in competition prizes all-time.
Kyle Giersdorf, a 20 year-old American, is the highest earning professional Fortnite athlete of all time. Giersdorf has competed in 83 professional competitions and has won just under $3.5 million in competition prizes. It is also worth noting that over $3 million of this was earned in 2019 across 35 professional competitions.
League of Legends
One of the most popular Esports games of all time, League of Legends is a strategy and fantasy game that has found extreme popularity in Asia. Released in 2009, League of Legends popularity has continued to soar over the past decade.
League of Legends has extremely high professional Esports participation. There are roughly 8,700 League of Legends athletes with around 2,700 professional competitions and tournaments a year. League of Legends is also extremely profitable, as approximately $100 million in competition prizes have been awarded all-time.
The all time League of Legends earner is South Korean Sang Hyeok Lee. The 26 year-old has competed in 60 League of Legends professional competitions and has earned $1.4 million in competition prizes all time.
Arena of Valor
A relatively new game, having been released in 2015, Arena of Valor is an online multiplayer battle arena game, which has gained massive popularity in recent years. Although it is not as widely participated in as the other entries in this list, it boasts some of the highest cash prizes in the world.
Arena of Valor has approximately 1,800 Esports athletes and 150 professional competitions and tournaments around the world. Despite its somewhat low participation, compared to other popular Esports games, Arena of Valor has awarded more than $70 million in competition prizes over the years.
Arena of Valor has been dominated by Chinese gamers, as each of the top 50 all-time earners are from China. The all-time top earner in Arena of Valor is Chinese gamer, Siyuan Luo. Luo has won $1.6 million in competition prizes across 14 professional tournaments.
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