Seeing as we covered some of the biggest and most influential eSports games in our previous article, I thought we’d delve a little deeper into the financial details of the competitive world. Of course, anybody who’s ever attended or so much as heard of a gaming gig is aware of the amount of money that sinks into each prize pool. If you aren’t in the know, however, then I can only describe a single win as being enough to buy out a multi-million dollar mansion in Dubai. And yes — that is possible from playing video games. Who’d have thought, right?
The world of gaming dished out millions in prizes last year, and we’re only expecting even more to fill the bucket this year, too. It’s because of this, that gamers from all corners of the world are stepping up and honing their skills in the competitive market. I mean, can we really blame them? One glance at the award money at any major event is enough to make us blush.
5. StarCraft II
Placing at number five is StarCraft II, the sci-fi role-playing strategy hit from Blizzard. Since its 2010 release, a record-breaking 6,062 tournaments have been held all over the globe, with $34 million tallied in overall prize pools. So, the average amount of money a gold medalist will take home is just shy of $300,000. Although not reaching anywhere near as high as the following entries, we can’t deny that one single tournament win is enough to essentially buy-out a neat townhouse in most cities around the world. That’s enough of a reason to start playing StarCraft, alright. Just be ready to submerge into a pit with 2 million players hungering for a win.
4. League of Legends
Hosting a total of almost 2,500 tournaments worldwide since its 2009 launch, League of Legends has become one of the most critically-acclaimed competitive games in the eSports world. Boasting around 115 million players and a 50 million daily average, League of Legends has continued to escalate numbers into admirable heights with mouthwatering sums of money backing the empire. Although not placing amongst the top three in terms of financial stats, League of Legends has still tallied a total of $82 million in prize pools over twelve years of hosting events. But to put you in a more well-defined picture — the winning team of the 2020 World Championship took home just over half a million in prizes. So yes — a worthy game to feature on our list.
After climbing the ranks in the battle royale world and becoming an international trend, Fortnite quickly adapted to the eSports stage. Even after four short years of treading the competitive waters, the Epic Games phenomenon has gone on to dish up a grand total of $100 million in prizes — and that’s from less than 700 global tournaments, too. Admittedly, the player base has only continued to skyrocket since the game launched in 2017, and even today, new players are locating the source of the cash flow and knuckling down to grind for the leaderboard. I mean, who are we to blame the ambition? After all, a single tournament win could lead to a $3 million prize packet.
2. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Arguably one of the best eSports games to ever grace our online presence — CS:GO has only continued to take our breath away with its impressive rise in stats. With almost 5,500 events taking place over the world since 2012, CS:GO has been gifting winners with an average packet of $800,000, followed by a separate pool of several hundreds of thousands to other podium holders. On average, $1.5 million fuels the prize pool at almost every Counter-Strike tournament. In total, however, over $108 million has been injected into the platform. So, while many may claim that the first-person shooter has since lost its touch with the eSports market — others will confirm that the financial foundations are still very much holding the fort.
1. Dota 2
Reaching the number one spot on our highest-paying games is, of course, Dota 2. Hosting as little as 1,500 championships in its ten-year reign, the multiplayer battle arena hit has racked up a whopping $229 million in prize pools. Yes — $229 million. In a smaller picture, that’s $34 million per tournament and $15.5 million for the winning team. Split those winnings between a team of five and you’re essentially looking at a $3.1 million take from one major win in the tournaments. So yes, we can clearly see why Dota 2 has amassed such a groundbreaking reputation within the gaming community since 2011. If that hasn’t convinced you to sink your teeth into the eSports world then I’m not sure what will. Are you ready to climb the ranks?