How To Become AnEsportsChampion

Looking to become the next Most Valuable Player? With competitive gaming continuing to rise in popularity and tournament prize pools increasing year on year, there’s never been a better time to start earning with eSports.

Click to see what’s really worth playing in 2019 and beyond...

View the highest-earning eSports players

Hover over each charted average to see the top five highest-earning players of each year, how much they made, and how much eSports champions could earn in the future.

Profile of a Winner

By comparing historical eSports data from the last 20 years, we looked at the highest-paying events, game genres and game titles, along with the highest-earning countries, players and teams, to establish what’s really worth playing in 2019 and beyond.

Highest-Earning Player

JerAx, or Jesse Vainikka, was the highest-earning eSports player in 2018 with a yearly gain of $2,290,631.60. The professional Dota 2 player from Finland made his name in the MOBA Heroes of Newerth and currently plays for Team OG - the highest-earning team of 2018. And it’s not just JerAx who had a good year, as the top five players of 2018 have made an impressive $11,352,543 between them.

Based on the average amount won by the historical highest earners, the highest-earning player is set to win an impressive $3,293,996 in 2019 - $1,000,000 more than JerAx. Players change every year, so it’s impossible to truly predict who will claim the top spot in the next five years - could it be you?

Highest-Earning Country

The United States made the most money playing eSports in 2018, with the country’s 3,189 players taking an impressive $28,194,895 from the total $151,948,381 prize money paid out during the year. Although the US were the top earners in 2018, China has amounted the most in winnings over the last five years, making $78,855,812 since 2014.

China is set to regain the top spot in 2019 with predicted earnings of $45,750,768 while the US follows closely behind with $34,369,132. eSports prize pools are expected to keep rising for the next five years, meaning China could claim a whopping $278,473,644 of winnings by 2023.

Highest-Paying Game

Dota 2 has been the highest-paying game since 2014, awarding a total of $164,520,337 in prize money over the past five years. The MOBA is a sequel to Defense of the Ancients, which has awarded $857,421 in winnings since 1998. Battle Royale game Fortnite has risen in popularity since its release in 2017 to become one of the highest-paying games in 2018, awarding $20,074,787 to eSports players.

The average amount made from the highest-paying games is predicted to decrease in 2019, dropping from $21,118,833 to $15,771,323. Despite this, the top game will see a $1,536,780 increase in winnings for 2019 and a total prize pool of $55,562,196 in 2023.

Highest-Earning Team

Formed in 2015, Team OG are best known for winning The International 2018, where they claimed the top prize of $11,234,158. While European Team OG took the top spot for highest earnings in 2018 with an income of $11,465,456 from 20 tournaments, Dutch runners-up Team Liquid have claimed an impressive $23,470,019 from 853 tournaments since 2016.

The top team of 2019 is set to make $6,465,348 more than Team OG took last year, with the average win increasing from $6,385,718 to $9,173,858. Although Team OG and Team Liquid have had good runs over the past few years, it remains to be seen whether their success will continue - or if it’s time for a new team to reign supreme.

Highest-Paying Event

The International has been one of the top three highest-paying eSports events for the last eight years, paying out a total of $106,525,653 since it was founded in 2011. Hosted by Valve Corporation, the annual Dota 2 tournament held the record for offering the largest eSports prize pool for a single tournament in 2015 with $18,429,613, before being surpassed by the 2016 and 2017 Internationals.

The International will remain the highest-paying event for the next five years, with the prize pool predicted to be around $46,779,332 for the 2019 tournament. Given Fornite’s rise in popularity over the last year, it’s not surprising that the Fornite Fall Skirmish Series is also expected to be a rewarding event for 2019, with a predicted prize pool of $11,265,746.

Highest-Paying Genre

Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) has been the highest-paying eSports genre for the last seven years, handing out a total $266,126,445 in prize money since 2012. Defined as a real-time strategy subgenre, popular MOBA games include Dota 2, League of Legends and SMITE, with Dota 2 remaining one of the top three highest-paying games since its release in 2011.

The average amount made by players is set to dip in 2019, dropping from $29,738,058 to $25,486,368. Despite this drop, MOBA games are predicted to remain the highest-paying genre with an expected payout of $83,768,792 in 2019. This represents a $12,800,000 increase on the year before.