The Top 10 Highest Earning ESports Players in the World

The International Starcraft 2. © Wikipedia

I grew up watching a good friend play video games on a semi-professional level and I can still recall his mother’s words, telling him that he’ll never make a living playing them. To some extent she was right and there are probably many more mothers who were spot on in their assumptions. However, for the professional eSports players today, these forecasts couldn’t be further from the truth as they are making small fortunes every year.

The number of people playing video games for a living is on the rise and the numbers will keep growing, at least if the trends are sustainable. The market is rapidly expanding and each year, more players pick up the keyboard and mouse hoping to play professionally. As the popularity of video games surges, these competitions are broadcasted live worldwide and more people watch them than regular sports.

The most successful players collect hundreds of thousands of dollars every year, not to mention the sponsorship deals and the income they generate. A significant stream of revenue is produced by services such as Twitch that players use to stream their practice games on a daily basis. The top 10 players are in a league of their own in terms of profits, with these e-athletes winning in excess of $10 million.

1. Saahil “UNIVeRsE” Arora

Saahil is the one topping the best earning players in the world, with nearly $2 million, won from 39 tournaments. Immensely talented and experienced enough to thrive in major competitions, he is an essential member of Evil Geniuses. His contribution to his team’s success in the International 2015 was tremendous and under his command, the five players won the biggest tournament in the world.

For their performance, the winners took home the lion’s share and Arora collected a hefty paycheck of $1,326,932. He and the Evil Geniuses are also credited with the first chance to win the tournament in 2016, although the competition is steep. Whenever Saahil broadcasts a match live over Twitch fans, but also aspiring Dota 2 professional players, swarm the channels and watch the practice games.

2. Peter “ppd” Dager

Until recently, Peter was the best earning videogame player in the world with $1.9 million. Even though he lost the lead, he is still the best known and liked American player and the one that every kid hopes to emulate one day. Unlike other players, he was versatile enough as to play different games belonging to the MOBA and before embracing Dota 2, he was a very successful Heroes of Newerth player.

Making the transition to the latest iteration of Defense of the Ancients proved to be a lucrative decision. His winnings in this arena dwarf the money made playing Heroes of Newerth and he turned Evil Geniuses into the most successful Dota 2 team worldwide.

3. Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling

The Canadian player won $1.8 million which is impressive on many levels. He is only 22 years old but already played and finished in the money in 47 tournaments, while showcasing an impressive style of playing. Well liked in the Dota 2 community he is the most successful player of his generation.

4. Clinton “Fear” Loomis

A very successful American player in terms of money made is Clinton, who won $1.73 million in a combined 44 tournaments. He’s an essential member of Evil Geniuses, a highly successful Dota 2 team that fascinated the audience at the International. Only the most talented players get the chance to play in this huge Dota 2 tournament, the largest in the world at the time of writing.

5. Zhang “xioa8” Ning

One of the most experienced Dota 2 players in the world, he is also the Capt. of Newbee, a team bringing together some of the best eSports athletes. He made deep runs in 44 tournaments and for his achievement he was awarded $1.66 million, with a significant chunk being collected at the TI4 Grand Finals in Seattle. Zhang “Mu” Pang, Wang “SanSheng” Zhaohui, Jiao “Banana” Wang, and Chen “Hao” Zhihao were all in the team that won the tournament.

6. Sumail Hassan

Sumail is the most successful Pakistani eSports player of all time and he managed to win more than $1.6 million in only eight tournaments. The yield is spectacular and the performance is even more impressive if you realize that he is just 16 years old. He started playing Dota 2 professionally one year before and quickly rose to stardom, while being sought after by top teams.

7. Chen “Hao” Zhihao

He is commonly referred to as Gen. Hao by the fans and he has plenty of followers in the Chinese community. A member of the celebrated Newbee team he is one of their most aggressive members and frequently leads his teammates in the fight. In addition to the cash collected in 47 tournaments, he also made a small fortune by streaming his aggressively played games over Twitch.

8. Jiao “Banana” Wang

The Chinese player finished in the money in no fewer than 42 tournaments and for his performance he collected $1.211 million. He is a key member in the Dota 2 team that goes by the name of Newbee, after playing the first Warcraft mode for many years. He was very successful at making the transition from one game to the other and won the vast majority of the cash in the first years.

9. Wang “SanSheng” Zhaohui

He is a Chinese player who recently crossed the psychological threshold of $1.2 million and he is also a professional Dota 2 player. Compared to most of the aforementioned players, he won less last year and was more successful in the previous years. This is the consequence of the eSports industry getting more competitive, with new players posing a real threat to established veterans.

10. Chen “Hao” Zhihao

Chen “Hao” Zhihao has won nearly $1.2 million exclusively from tournaments and his game of choice is Dota 2. He was also among the first professional Dota players, a game mode inspired by Warcraft and captivating players worldwide.