It’s not just actors and athletes that can make a fortune out of their passion – you can also make a living and even a good one by playing video games. Competitions for professional gamers are called eSports and these events have become very popular starting with the late 2000s and early 2010s. They are usually multiplayer game competitions and genres include fighting, first person shooter, real-time strategy, and multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA). Some of the most popular games that are included in the eSports categories are Dota 2, League of Legends, and Counter Strike: Global Offensive. Let’s have a look at the most successful professional gamers:
1. Saahil Arora
His in-game name is UNiVeRsE and he is the highest earning eSports professional with earnings of more than $2,700,000 from 60 tournaments (as of January 2017). One of Arora’s best performances dates from 2015, when he finished first at The International 2015 as a member of Evil Geniuses. In 2016 UNiVeRsE left for a short period of time Evil Geniuses for Team Secret and returned to his original team after the end of the Manila Major 2016.
2. Peter “ppd” Dager
Also a Dota 2 player, Peter Dager is now the CEO of the eSports organization Evil Geniuses. His biggest prize was a $6 million cash prize at The International 2015. His eSports career began by playing Heroes of Newerth, where he used the “peterpandam” alias, which eventually become “ppd”. Like many Heroes of Newerth professional players, he switched for Dota 2, which enabled him to conquer fame.
3. Kurtis Ling
Better known by his in-name game Aui_2000, Kurtis Ling is a professional Dota 2 player from Canada and a member of Evil Geniuses. He was the third highest earning eSports gamer in the world as of March 2016. He is the second-younger in top 10 earning video game professionals and he chose to drop out of university to play Dota 2 professionally full-time. As he began to win more tournaments, his parents began to accept his choice and support him. He has already changed several teams, and was dismissed from Evil Geniuses two times already.
4. Clinton Loomis
An American professional gamer known as Fear (his in-game name), Clinton Loomis retired in 2016. He has won more than $1,700,000 from 44 tournaments and he was one of the oldest Dota players at the moment of his retirement. Those who are interested in his story can find out more from the documentary Free to Play. Due to health issues, he decided to become the team’s coach and give up professional gaming.
5. Zhang “xioa8” Ning
Zhang “xioa8” Ning has won $1,662,202.73 from 44 tournaments and is currently the captain of the Newbee team, which won the Dota 2 TI4 Grand Finals taking place in Seattle in 2014. The players under his lead are Zhang “Mu” Pang, Wang “SanSheng” Zhaohui, Chen “Hao” Zhihao, and Jiao “Banana” Wang.
6. Syed Sumail Hassan
One of the youngest eSports professionals, Syed Sumail Hassan was born in 1999 and is from Pakistan. He is a professional Dota 2 player and is part of one of the most successful teams, Evil Geniuses. His best performance dates from 2015, when he won the Dota 2 Asia Championship in Shanghai. In February 2017 he was the third highest earning eSports professional, and his earnings from 29 tournaments are worth more than $2,400,000. As a result, he was called one of “The 30 Most Influential Teens” by TIME magazine in 2016. One of his siblings, Yawar “YawaR” Hassan, is also a professional Dota 2 player.
7. Lee Young-ho
Lee Young-ho is a South Korean player of StarCraft: Blood War and StarCraft II better known by the aliases By.Flash and Flash. He was a member of the KT Rolster team until 2015, when he retired. Later, in 2016, he went back to playing Starcraft: Brood War, and managed to win the Afreeca Season 2 Starleague later that year.
8. Clement ‘Puppey’ Ivanov
The Estonian professional Dota 2 player is a founder of the Team Secret where he is still active. His total earnings count approximately $1.29 million, which makes him the 9th highest eSports professional. An interesting fact about Puppey is that he can play multiple musical instruments and he has been singing in the choir since he was 5. In 2016 he was part of a controversy – he was accused of not paying former team manager Evany Chang and other former players – apparently these players have not been paid the full amount to this day.
The performances and earnings of these professional gamers show that you can make a small fortune if not more from professional gaming. It is a world of teenagers and people in their early 20s, and those who are successful start very young. Is this a good career choice for you? You can give it a try – at least you’ll be doing what you enjoy the most along the way.