Who are the Highest Earning eSports Players in the World?

The eSports industry is worth well over $1 billion in 2022, and it’s continuing to grow at an astonishing rate. The incredible amount of wealth and investment in competitive gaming has trickled down to the players, and the best in the business have accumulated huge stacks from league seasons and events. Indeed, every single member of the top 100 highest-earners list has made more than $1 million from playing games. Here are the top three of all time.

Johan Sundstein

N0tail is one of the most famous gamers on the planet, and an inspiration to anyone who wants to make the big time in the eSports industry. The Danish Dota 2 pro is currently inactive, having already made more than $7 million across four iterations of the world’s biggest eSports event, The International. He won the competition in 2018 and 2019 and has also picked up four major championships throughout his glittering career.

Sundstein began his career playing Heroes of Newerth where, along with his team, he managed to win four consecutive DreamHack events. It was clear that he had the skills required to make it to the top, even in these early days of eSports events, but he paved the path to mainstream success by sensing the opportunity to jump onto Dota 2 when he realized that the Heroes scene was dying.

It was this move and his subsequent consistency in the Dota 2 playing fields that led to Sundstein quickly gaining the attention of Fnatic. He went on to represent them for two years. Since then, he has had stints with Team Secret, Cloud9, and OG.

Jesse Vainikka

JerAx has spent most of his career playing Dota 2 for OG, and is renowned for the fact that he became the first-ever, two-time The International winner with the team in 2019. After racking up just shy of $6.5 million, the Finnish gamer decided to hang up his joystick in 2020 and officially announced his departure from OG.

Recently, however, JerAx opted to step back into the eSports scene by joining Evil Geniuses in November of 2021. The gaming organization is one of the oldest in the business and was established in 1999. The signings of JerAx and Nightfall at the same time suggest that the side could go on to enjoy a hugely successful year.

Anathan Pham

ana is the third-highest earning eSports player of all time, having accumulated just over $6 million. Indeed, the former Dota 2 poster boy decided to take a break from the professional scene after making his fortune by the age of 19. This highlights just how lucrative a career in eSports can be if you have the talent and the following to back it up. To this day, though players come and go, ana is still regarded as one of the greatest players ever, and there are few players in Dota 2 that could challenge him.

ana’s success highlights how the eSports scene is thriving in Australia, where the industry is expected to be worth $22 million in 2022. Just as it did in Denmark and Finland, the competitive gaming sector spiked in tandem with other related industries Down Under.

It is interesting to note that in each of these nations, the online betting scene was well-established prior to eSports and capitalized on the emergence of this form of competition. Consider, for example, the way in which eSports betting in Australia is absolutely enormous now, with sites vying for the attention of users through sign-up bonuses and review comparisons. The sheer popularity of this industry, alone, has led to it receiving the same treatment as the online casino industry, which also utilizes online directories. 

It’s the same in Denmark and Finland, where these other prolific gamers hail from. The eSports business is booming within these regional territories, but so too is the corresponding betting business, as betting operators across the globe are pumping money into this relatively new market that could go on to rival the popularity of sports such as football. The increasing awareness of this burgeoning market certainly helps to boost the industry and is further supported by ludicrous sponsorship deals.

All these players found success from living in affluent countries where the gaming industry has been well-established for many years. They were also wise to participate in the world’s most lucrative eSport, Dota 2. Other nations should take note of this and seek to develop their eSports scene alongside other related sectors as the industry is on the up and looks to show no signs of slowing down any time soon.