It comes to no surprise that professional athletes all over the world are earning salaries in the millions. However, did you know that professional gamers are earning close to those figures as well? Yes, that’s right, there are people who are currently getting paid a crazy amount of money to simply play video games.
Don’t get me wrong, some gamers dedicate their whole lives to developing gaming skills and strategies. Zhou Yang, a professional gamer, admits to spending up to 12 hours a day practicing for competitions.
Professional gaming all started In 1997 when The Cyberathlete Professional League was founded It was around this time that avid gamers started to make a name for themselves.
Gamers make the majority of their money by winning tournaments.E-sports is a video game competition between professional gamers from all over the world. Throughout the year there are different tournaments such as League of Legends Championship Series, Call of Duty World League and the Overwatch League where professional gamers have a chance to win millions of dollars in prizes.
Sumail Hassan, a professional Dota 2 gamer, comes from humble beginnings. He grew up in an extremely small apart which he shared with eight other family members. However, things started to quickly change for Hassan when he and his family moved to America to help him pursue his gaming career.
After getting recruited to join E-sports EG he started making the big bucks. Hassan was the youngest player to earn $1,000,000 as a professional gamer. In 2016 he was even featured in Time Magzine as one of the most influential teenagers in the world. Hassan has earned around $2,676,991 in prize money.
Peter Dager, Ceo of Evil Geniuses and professional gamer, is originally from Indiana but now lives in San Diego, California. Even though Dager has earned $2,646,776 in prize money over the years he admits that his parents weren’t fond of his career choice. Dager no longer actively plays Dota but he still has his competitive spirit when he coaches his team.
Maroun Merhej is a professional gamer from Lebanon where is currently ranked as the #1 player in his country. Since it is very expensive for people to have the internet in their homes Merhej would have to spend hours driving to an internet cafe in order to paly. Over the years he has earned $2,507,653 in prize money and has played for top E-sports teams like Team Liquid.
Clinton Loomis is currently a retired professional gamer but is still considered to be one of the best gamers in North America. Over the years he has earned $2,457,351 in prize money and has been a key player for teams like Evil Geniuses and PLuG Pullers Inc. Even though Loomis is retired he still enjoys playing video games and coaching other young professional gamers.
Before Li Peng started gaming professionally he was a pubstar, a gamer who is constantly winning but is playing against not so skilled competitors. Peng got his big start when he asked to join team Big God. However, just two months later he switched to Wings Gaming where he went on to win The Summit 5. Peng has earned around $1,998,867 in prize money.
SK Telecom T1
SK Telecom T1, also known as SKT, is a Korean E-sports team founded in 2002. Unlike many of the other E-sports teams, their top games consist of League of Legends and StarCraft 2. SKT has played in 212 tournaments earning them a total of $8,572,612 in prize money. They won the League of Legends World Championship in 2013, 2015, and 2016.
Kurtis Ling was just 9-years-old when he started his Dota gaming career. He supported himself through university by working as a supermarket stocker and a preschool janitor. Now Ling is currently ranked as the #1 best E-sports gamer in Canada and has earned $1,971,548 in total prize earnings. Over the years he has played for over 14 different teams before getting signed by Iceberg Esports in 2018.
LGD Gaming is an E-sports team sponsored by Guizhou Laogandie Food. They have competed in 122 tournaments and earned $8,721,597 in total prize money. LGD Gaming’s top-earning games are Dota 2 and League of Legends. In 2014 they partnered with Paris Saint-Germain, a French football league, to create a new squad called PSG.LGD.
Zhang Yiping is one of the most popular E-sports players in his country. He is currently ranked #2 on China’s list of professional gamers. Yiping has led his teams to victory multiple times. He was as captain for Team Wings, Team Random and EHOME. Yiping has competed in 23 tournaments and has won $1,962,747 in total prize earnings.
Vici Gaming, a professional E-sports team, was founded in 2012. They originally decided to build their team with only the highest skilled Chinese Dota gamers. While they initially focused on Dota games they have now expanded to other games like League of Legends, FIFA, and WarCraft III. Vici Games have played in over 255 tournaments and won around $9,391,057 in total prize earnings.
Zhang Ruida, a professional Dota 2 gamer, rose to stardom at an early age. He won around $10,000 from three different tournaments before his 18th birthday. Ruida currently plays for the E-sports team EHOME. Over the years he has earned $1,962,687 in total prize money and has played for top teams like Team Random.
Team Random, is currently ranked as the seventh-highest earning E-sports teams. They were founded in 2014 by a group of Chinese pubstars under the name Wing Gaming. However, after struggling with money management and losing valuable team members they decided to start over as Team Random. They’ve only competed in 22 tournaments but they have earned around $9,718,637 in total prize money.
Chu Zeyu is a 22-year-old professional gamer from China. He currently plays for the Esports team Eclipse which was founded in 2017. So far, Zeyu has earned around $1,955,458 in prize money. His highest paying prize was earned at the 2016 International where he won $1,827,800. Over the years Zeyu has competed in 27 tournaments.
Virtus.pro is one of the larger E-sports teams. They have around 50 different players from all over the world who specialize in different games. They were founded in 2003 and are based in Russian. In 2012 they announced the addition of their all woman’s team. Virtus.pro highest earning games are Dota 2, CS: Go, and Counter-Strike. The team has earned around $11,745,195 in total prize money and has played in 438 tournaments.
Zhou Yang was only 22-years-old when he started gaming professionally. His first Esports team was made up of five new professional players, who were all younger than him. Despite their young age and being new to the career they were determined to make a name for themselves. Yang admits that they spent more than 12 hours a day training and strategizing. The practice must make perfect because Yang has earned around $1,955,318 in prize money in the past few years.
Zhang Ning, originally from China, is a professional Dota 2 player. He really started to take his gaming career seriously after he realized he could make a lot of money in the industry. Ning has earned around $1,824,534 in prize money and has competed in 55 tournaments. The most he has ever earned in one tournament was $62,311 in the 2016 International Dota 2 Championships.
Fnatic is one of the top ten best E-sports teams in their category. The London, England organization was founded in 2004 by a son and mother duo, Sam and Anne Mathews. After building a team of incredible gamers from all around the word they won the 2011 Leauge of Legends World Championship. Over the years the team has earned around $11,908,332 in total prize money and has competed in 788 tournaments.
Chen Zhinaho, also known as General Hao, is a 29-year-old avid Dota 2 player. He is originally from China and rose to stardom after he won 1st place at the 2014 International. Hao has earned over $1,761,647 in total prize money. He is known for his aggressive and sometimes even risky playing habits. Hao has competed in over 263 matches and has won most of them.
Newbee, an E-sports team based in China, made it into the Guinness World Record books when they won $5 million at the 2014 International. At the time, it was the most prize money ever earned by a team. In total, Newbee has won around $12,820,195 in prize earnings from over 130 tournaments. Their top-earning games are from Dota 2 and Hearthstone.
One of the more recent E-sports teams, Team OG, was originally founded in 2015. They are based in Europe and are most commonly known for their multimillion-dollar wins in the 2018 and 2019 International. Team OG has earned around $17,563,028 in prize money and has participated in over 50 tournaments.
Zeng Honda, also known as Faith, is a 27-year-old professional Dota 2 gamer. He has earned around $1,751,177 from over 100 tournaments. Honda is originally from China and is currently apart of the Newbee Esports team. When he isn’t competing Honda enjoys traveling and taking walks in the countryside.
Clement Ivanov, also known as Puppey, is a 29-year-old founding member of Team Secret. He has earned around $2.65 million during his E-sports gaming career. Almost half of his total earnings were won at The 2011 International, an annual Esports world championship tournament for video gamers. The first-place prize was one million dollars.
Evil Geniuses is an E-sports team based out of San Francisco, California. The organization was founded in 1999 by Alexander Garfield. Over the last 20 years, it has grown to become one of the world’s best video game teams. Their top games consist of Dota 2X, StarCraft and Call of Duty. Evil Geniuses have earned around $20,751,172 in prize money from over 737 tournaments.
Gustav Magnusson, also known as s4, is a 27-year-old professional E-sports Gamer originally from Sweden. He has earned around $2,502,654 in total prize earnings from over 116 different tournaments. Magnusson is highly recognized for his gaming skills in Heros of Newerth and Dota 2. Both games are a multiplayer online battle arena video game.
The professional gaming organization, Team Liquid, was originally established in 2000. Almost 19 years later they have grown to become one of the leading E-sports teams in the gaming community. Team Liquid has over 60 championship-caliber athletes from all over the world. They are also known for earning the highest amount of prize money, around $24,448,847, in the history of E-sports.