Highest Earning eSports Players: The Richest Pros in Gaming

Highest Earning eSports Players: The Richest Pros in Competitive Gaming

The popularity of eSports has skyrocketed in the past few years. Today, more than 200 million people watch eSports, while tournament prize pools can reach up to $40 million.

Safe to say that gaming and eSports can be a profitable career. 

Scroll down below to see who made it on the list of highest earning eSports players. 

1. Johan “N0tail” Sundstein

  • Age: 28
  • Game: Heroes of Newerth, Dota2
  • Status: inactive 
  • Earned: £5.4 million 

Johan Sundstein from Denmark, nicknamed N0tail, is the most famous and highest-paid eSports player on the planet. He originally started playing Heroes of Newerth, becoming the youngest professional player at just 15, before switching over to Dota 2. 

The currently inactive member of Team OG played in four iterations of The International Tournament and lifted the prestigious trophy not once but twice (in 2018 and 2019). He has also won four Major championships between 2015 and 2019. 

Featured in Forbes 30 under 30 category when he was just 25, N0tail is worth over 7 million dollars today. 

2. Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka

  • Age: 29
  • Game: Heroes of Newerth, Dota 2
  • Status: Active 
  • Earned: £4,771,687

An Esports legend, mostly remembered for his time playing at OG, N0tail’s former teammate is not far behind when it comes to stacking up cash. His earnings combine to a whopping $6.5 million.

JerAx is the first player to make an appearance in 4 consecutive Major Finals, and also the first two-time TI-Winner, winning two TIs (TI8 and TI9) back to back.

Despite a successful career, the Finn took a much-needed break from the sport in 2020. However, he couldn’t stay retired for long and made a comeback in 2021, but this time as a member of Evil Geniuses. 

3. Sven Magnus Carlsen “DrNykterstein”

  • Age: 31
  • Game: Chess
  • Earned: £735,000

DrNykterstein might not sound familiar to you at all, but the name Sven Magnus Carlsen hiding behind the alias sure does. This Norwegian chess grandmaster has landed a spot on this list as one of the top eSports earners of 2020

Magnus turned to gaming in 2017, upping his online presence during the coronavirus pandemic. He has participated in a total of 54 tournaments on Chess24, Lichess and Chess.com, beating his opponents and earning himself more than $500 thousand in a single year

In 2022 DrNykterstein played only in one tournament, Airthings Masters 2022, where he remained undefeated, taking home the first prize of $31,250. 

4. Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf

  • Age: 19
  • Game: Fortnite
  • Earned: $3,175,211.72 (around £2,419,590)

Kyle Giersdorf is an American teenager who became a millionaire simply by doing what he loves most—playing his favourite video game.

Kyle started his eSports career with team No Clout and then with Sentinels. In 2019, he won the first-ever Fortnite World Cup, playing 6 matches against 99 other qualifying players. He ended the tournament with almost twice as many points as the second-place winner, taking home $3 million in prize money

Bugha is still the highest-earning Fortnite player. In fact, he is so popular on the multiplayer game that he even got an in-game skin in his likeness in 2021. 

5. Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok

  • Age: 25 
  • Game: League of Legends
  • Earned: $1,342,521.14 

Playing as T1’s mid laner since 2013, Faker is widely recognized as the best professional League of Legends player

His squad dominated this eSports discipline from 2013 to 2016, helping him become one of just two players to win the League of Legends World Championship three times. He is also the first player to take part in 600 games. 

These achievements have helped the South Korean champion earn over $1.3 million over 57 tournaments. In addition to playing League of Legends, Lee also co-owns T1 Entertainment & Sports, bringing his net worth to about $4 million

6. Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen

  • Age: 29
  • Game: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
  • Earned: $1,946,281.07 (around £1.5 million)

Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen is one of the highest-earning eSports players of all time, CSGO stats reveal

His winning streak started in 2017 when his team won the ELEAGUE Major: Atlanta 2017.

With no intentions of stopping, Peter continued with consecutive wins at the FACEIT Major 2018, the IEM Katowice 2019 and the StarLadder Major: Berlin 2019, becoming the first player to win four majors in CSGO. His biggest monetary win, though, came in 2018 when his team won the Intel Grand Slam and got $200,000 each

In addition to Astralis, Rasmussen played for several other teams, including Team Dignitas and SoloMid. Currently, he is playing for Team Vitality.

7. Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth

  • Age: 26
  • Game: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
  • Earned: $1,933,650.13 (around £1,472,357)

Andreas Højslet’s has managed to climb his way to the CSGO pros and become one of the top eSports earners in the last 10 years. 

Just like the previous entry on our list, Xyp9x played for Team Astralis when the Danes won the record-breaking $1 million prize pool, as well as when they conquered three consecutive Majors in CSGO. 

Highly praised in the gaming community, Andreas is known for his success rate and clutch time performances. These abilities landed him the honour of being selected as MVP in the 2017 Major and helped him bag a total of $1.9 million in eSports earnings

8. Ian “C6” Porter 

  • Age: 29
  • Game: Call Of Duty
  • Earned: $1,333,092.80 (around £1 million)

It is time to switch platforms and take a look at the highest-paid eSports player in the world of console gaming. We are talking about none other than American Ian “C6” Porter. 

The 28-year-old professional gamer is the winningest player in Call of Duty, and the first (along with Clayster) to reach the one million dollar prize pool in console esports history. 

C6 clinched a title in 2014, 2017 and 2020 packing up a sum of $1.3 million. He has changed many teams over the years, playing with Evil Geniuses and Optic Gaming, but is currently part of the New York Subliners. 

9. Tyler “Ninja” Blevins

  • Age: 30
  • Game: Halo 3, Fortnite, LoL, PUBG & others
  • Earned: £22 million

Richard Tyler Blevins, known as Ninja, is an American professional Halo 3 and Fortnite gamer, YouTuber and one of the best-paid Twitch streamers. He is also the richest eSports player on our list, boasting a mind-blowing net worth of $25 million

Blevins started gaming in 2009 but did not rise to fame until 2018 when he played Fortnite with Drake and Travis Scoтt. Since then, he has garnered over 17.5 million followers on his Twitch channel, making it the most-followed channel on the platform.

Ninja has taken part in several eSports, but it was Fortnite that gave him the biggest win— $73,750 in the Fortnite World Cup Finals 2019.

10. Joona “Serral” Sotala

  • Age: 24 
  • Game: Starcraft II
  • Earned: $1,143,488.55 around £870,697

Joona Sotala or Serral is a 24-year-old professional Starcraft II prodigy, currently playing for team ENCE.

Despite his success in the gaming world, Serral kept a low profile at the beginning of his career. But all of that changed with an impressive run at the 2013 DreamHack Open. Since then he has continued to make a name for himself in eSports, becoming the first non-Korean player to win the WCS when he took part in the 2018 WCS Global Finals.

Jonna collected his last paycheck of $171 thousand not too long ago, by winning the IEM Katowice 2022 last month. 

Bottom Line

Playing eSports is becoming more rewarding than ever. In fact, some of the highest earning eSports players are on their way to overshadowing the biggest earners in traditional sports

And with numbers of viewers set to go up to 577.2 million by 2024, there will be even more lucrative tournaments and opportunities for gamers to earn a lot of money.

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