Back in a world that no longer exists, those who spent hours playing video games were considered poor losers who couldn’t survive in the real world. Today that assertion is no longer true. Gaming has become one of the popular aspects of mainstream culture and gamers are some of the highest-paid people in the world today. With each news cycle announcing the latest gamer to walk away with massive prize money, people are wondering how many pro gamers and Esports players make.
Just like traditional sport, various factors determine how much an Esport player or pro-gamer makes, and in this article, we detail those factors, but first, we start with how they make their money.
How Pro Gamers and Esports Players Make Money
There are varying ways through which professional gamers and Esports players make money. From mega prize money to sponsorships, there are several ways through which gamers make their dough.
1. Prize Money
This is one source of income for pro gamers that has drawn the most attention. Because of the unrelenting growth of the gaming industry and everything else that surrounds it, professional gaming competitions now exist, and gamers who compete get to walk away with several millions of dollars.
In 2017 alone, pro gamers and Esports players went home with more than $113 million in prize money across various competitions, and popular pro gamer, KuroKy, went home with $2.4 million of those, and on average, pro gamers won $6,517 in prize money. Popular games like League of Legends, the FIFA soccer game series, Dota 2 host tournaments every year, paying out millions in prize money.
Because professional gaming has become big business, it has given rise to eSports teams. Professional gaming teams pay their players a significant amount in salary per year, a semblance of the model of traditional sports.
According to a report in 2015, those signed onto a team earned as much as $65,000 per year in base salary and up to $30,000 in bonuses, including earnings from competition victories. Today, due to the increasing growth of the industry, pro gaming salaries have increased to as much as $320,000 in base salary, according to a report by Forbes Magazine in May 2018.
3. Twitch – Subscriptions, Ad Revenue, Donations
To say Twitch is one of the best things to happen to the gaming industry would not be an exaggeration or a lie. The social gaming platform where gamers stream their gameplays has not only helped popularize gaming and made it a mainstream activity, but it has been one of the dominant ways for pro gamers and Esports players to make money.
They can make money on the platform via various means, either through subscriptions, ad revenue, or donations. Twitch, which is essentially a video streaming platform, pays streamers 50% of each of their subscriber costs, which is $4.99. This means a pro gamer on Twitch will make up to $25,000 per month if they have 10,000 subscribers.
In addition to money earned via subscriptions, pro gamers and esports players can also make money through donations from their followers and subscribers.
Another way is through ad revenue; pro gamers who stream on the platform can expect to earn as much as $0.70 to $1.40 per 1000 views. In this regard, YouTube is also a great way to make money. The Google-owned platform pays between $0.25 to $10 per 1000 views.
Ultimately, Twitch is an excellent way for gamers to make money because you don’t have to be signed onto a team or compete in international tournaments to earn, and most importantly, you can earn even if you are not popular.
Finally, another major way through which they can make money is sponsorships, but like prize money and salaries, this is a means that often goes to pro gamers with a vast social media following.
Pro gamers who fit that criteria have been known to make millions in sponsorships from various international and local brands. Brands that have been known to sponsor players or gaming teams including Audi, RedBull, Intel, and BenQ.
How Much Do Pro Gamers & Esports Players Make?
Having established the various ways through which pro gamers make money, it is difficult to pinpoint the average income of a professional gamer. Several of them have been known to combine these various outlined sources of income into millions in yearly revenue.
Ninja, who is the most popular pro gamer in the world, makes up to $10.5 million a year via Twitch subscription alone and makes several more through sponsorships, YouTube, Twitch Ads, and donations.
Kuro Takhasomi, a Dota 2 player, is the highest-paid pro-gamer in the world with a salary of $3.6 million per year.
Overall, one thing is for sure, pro gamers and Esports have a high earning potential, and with the industry in continued growth, the sky is their limit.