Virtual gaming has evolved into one of the richest tournaments globally.
Competitive video gaming, popularly known as eSports, has spiralled into a worldwide movement, garnering millions of spectators.
The virtual gaming platform has evolved into one of the richest tournaments globally, with the prize pool varying between $1 million and $20 million. To put that into perspective, the prize money for winning the Superbowl is USD 8.5 million, while the ICC Cricket World Cup is USD 10 million and UEFA’s Europa League is USD 9 million.
It’s also reported that eSports are likely to debut at the 2024 Los Angeles Olympics. Thus, with the increasing popularity, eSports has now attracted a number of participants from all across the world, all trying to perfect their craft.
Here, we take a look at the five highest earning gamers in the world.
#1 Sahil Arora (UNiVeRsE)
American professional Dota 2player Sahil Arora, who goes by the alias ‘UNiVeRsE’ is the world’s highest eSports earner with total earnings of $2,720,623.84. The 27-year-old gamer is also the highest earner in all of the United States.
The biggest cash prize ever won by UNiVeRsE from a single tournament was $1,326,932.14 at the International 2015 Dota 2 Championships held in Seattle. His 1st place cash prize made up for almost 48.77% of the total prize money of the tournamenttal prize money of the tournament.
The Dota 2 veteran was also named the MVP by Redbull at the International 2015 (TI5) for his spectacular gameplay on Clockwerk and an incredible 5-man Echo Slam on his Earthshaker in Game 4 of the Grand Finals against CDEC Gaming.
On March 25, 2016, Sahil left Evil Geniuses (EG) to join Team Secret (TS). However, in June, Sahil left TS to join his previous team, after Team Secret finished last at The Manila Major 2016.
#2 Peter Dager (Ppd)
CEO of the eSports organisation Evil Geniuses, Peter Dager, who uses the alias ‘Ppd’, stands second on the list of highest overall eSports earners with a staggering amount of $2,603,724. The acronym ‘Ppd’ comes from his alias “peterpandam, with which the 25-year-old gamer began his career.
Peter started gaming at a very young age, playing Heroes of Newerth, mostly with his older brother and friend. However, Peter had a meteoric rise as he went on to win the TI5 tournament as captain of Evil Geniuses. Eventually, he moved on to an administrative role in the Evil Geniuses’ organisation and later became the CEO.
Following The International 2016, he decided to leave active competition in order to prioritise his managerial role with Evil Geniuses. However, Peter has not officially announced his retirement as a professional. He has, in fact, joined WanteD for the upcoming Major as a part-timer.
#3 Sumail Hassan (Suma1L)
Pakistan-born American gamer, Sumail Hasan is the third highest earner globally, with earnings of $2,401,560. Aged just 17, Sumail holds the Guinness World Record for being the youngest gamer to surpass $1 million in tournament winnings.
On February 9, 2015, ‘Suma1L’ reached the $100,000 mark after winning the $256,831.60 cash prize for finishing first at the Dota 2 Asia Championship in 2015.
Sumail was also featured in Time Magazine’s top 30 influential teenagers of 2016 and was the first ever Dota 2 player to be included in the magazine awards.
Sumail first started playing Dota when he was seven years old. However, it was UNiVeRsE, who was really impressed with his ability and pushed for EG to recruit him in January 2015. Following TI6, Sumail was rumoured to have departed from EG, but a few days later they announced that he had indeed re-signed.
#4 Clinton Loomis (Fear)
Clinton ‘Fear‘ Loomis is an American veteran Dota 2 player from Medford, Oregon. The oldest Dota player until his retirement in 2016, Loomis is now a professional Dota 2 coach. Winning over a million dollars during his stint with EG, 28-year-old Loomis ranks fourth on the list with overall earnings of $2,372,459.
Chris also featured in the documentary ‘Free to Play’ alongside gamers Danil ‘Dendi’ Ishutin and Benedict Lim “hyhy” Han Long. However, following TI6, Chris retired from active gaming citing health issues and shifted his focus to being the team coach of EG.
#5 Li Peng (iceice)
Li Peng, who uses the alias ‘iceice’ is a Chinese Dota 2 player and currently, plays for Wings Gaming. Standing fifth worldwide with overall earnings of $1,980,996, Peng started his gaming career with team Big God.
In 2016, Peng achieved great success winning ESL One Manila 2016, The Summit 5 and Valve’s sixth International, the TI6. The numero uno player from China won his biggest cash prize worth $1,827,800.40 at the TI6 which made up 92.25% of total tournament prize money.
Li Peng is most famous for his characters ‘Rubik, the Grand Magus,’ ‘Zharvakko, the Witch Doctor’ and ‘Dazzle, the Shadow Priest.