How Much Do Esports Players Make

April 10, 2024

Most gamers at one point have dreamed about being at the highest echelon of their competitive scene: winning tournaments, accumulating influence, and securing the bag. Competing at the highest level has become a more prominent career option in the gaming community for top players and understanding the earning potential of eSports players can provide insights into what they might expect if they pursue a career in eSports. This article explores how eSports players earn money, the importance of choosing the right game and competitive scene, and how much some of the top pro players make.

How do eSports Players Earn Money?

The eSports industry might surprise you with how much revenue it actually brings in. It was reportedly a 1 billion dollar industry in market value in 2021 and that is expected to double just in the coming years. In the eSports industry, professional gamers make money through a few different avenues:

  • Winning Tournaments: The obvious answer, winning esports tournaments and prize pools is a great way for top players to increase their income. As the funding for eSports across the world increases, this becomes a huge incentive for the best of the best, especially in games that are heavily sponsored and monetized.
  • Streaming: Most professional eSports players stream on Twitch or other platforms on the side because it's a great way to both gain a following and get some extra cash. Often, for some of the less sponsored games or games with less of a prize pool, Twitch streaming is a full-time job that allows professional gamers to play the game they love without their income being tied to professional performances.
  • Sponsorships: Players are picked up by an eSports team or sponsor often get a lot of benefits. This allows players to gain a lot more notoriety and resources than they would have on their own, often getting easier access to competition, sponsored merch, and making more money through the organization. In the higher ranks of pro gamers, salaries are the primary ways eSports gamers get paid.

How Much do Pro Gamers Get Paid?

The salary an income for pro gamers varies drastically on their skill level, the game they play, and the support their game has from the industry as a whole. The earnings of professional eSports players average roughly 1,000-5,000 per month with a median salary of around 44,000 per year and the middle 50% being around 28,000$. Some players make over 6 figures in salaries, a majority of their income, through being sponsored by larger esports organizations. While earnings vary between games and sponsors, gamers also can increase their income through avenues like streaming, social media, and selling merchandise. Being sponsored by an organization will also likely increase an eSports gamer's income.

Choosing a Game Matters!

Unfortunately, not all video games are created equally in terms of professional viability for players. As of right now, these are the top three eSports according to Esports Earnings in terms of earnings:

Dota 2 - roughly 230 million in earnings with around 1,526 tournaments

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - roughly 115 million in earnings with around 5,770 tournaments

Fortnite - roughly 105 million in earnings with around 734 tournaments

Other high-grossing games include League of Legends, StarCraft II, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, and Overwatch - all of which Metafy offers coaching for! Feel free to click the links to get started learning about our coaches and communities for your favorite games. This video also gives a visual to the progression of the top eSports games by prize money since 2000.

Highest Paid Esports Players and Teams

Here are some of the highest paid eSports players currently:

JOhan "N0tail" Sundsetin - From Denmark, he has amassed over 7 million in total earnings playing Dota 2 for Team OG.

Jesse "JerAx" Vainikka - From Finland and also playing Dota 2, he has accumulated almost 6.5 million in lifetime nearnings with Team OG.

Anathan "Ana" Pham - Boasting 6 million in overall earnings since 2017, Australia's finest Dota 2 player also is a member of the Team OG dynasty.

Sebastien "Ceb" Debs - Hailing from France, Ceb is also a member of Team OG's Dota 2 dynasty since 2018 and has helped them win every major tournament since joining the team, being just unde the 6 million mark in total earnings.

Topias "Topson" Taavitsainen - Also playing Dota 2 for Team OG (are you sensing a trend yet?), Topson has been on the team since 2018 and has accumulated over 5.5 million in earnings since then.

Kyle "Bugha" Giersdorf - While his yearly earnings are a little more modest sitting at the 22nd overall mark, the highest paid professional gamer from the USA took home 3,000,000 with his first place in the Fortnite World Cup in 2019.

Team Liquid - With an astounding 42 million in prize money earned and boasting some top names in games like Dota 2, Couter-Strike, and StarCraft, Team Liquid is a top-tier name in the eSports industry in a variety of games and settings.

Beyond the prize pool

Here are a couple of final things to consider about being a professional eSports player:

Niche vs Estabilshed eSports: Is it better to go into a more established game with a lot more recognition, or try your hand at something more specific? Some games, like Valorant, Fortnite, and League of Legends, are incredibly well known and popular, but have a lot more competition to get in the door. Smaller games with less growth are easier in that regard, but have lower levels of recognition and smaller prize pools at esports tournaments.

Streaming vs Competing: Strictly from a monetary perspective, streaming is often times a better financial option for professional gamers in games with a smaller prize pool to increase their eSports earnings. However, if you're able to take home the bag at a large eSports tournament, you can blow other earnings out of the water, especially in popular games like Dota 2 and CS:GO.

Train, Train, Train! The best thing for any gamer to do, from novice to professional, is train and practice. If you're the best at what you do, the audience, money and clout will surely follow. Look for ways to get involved in your game of choice, start going to tournaments and events, and practice every chance you get!

Unlock UNLIMITED POWER as a Metafy Pro

Metafy Pros can accept payment for their sessions, groups, and guides. Pros also gain access to additional data and resources to grow their business.


Metafy Customers


Paid Out

1 Million+

Impressions per month

OP with Metafy Pro

Becoming a Metafy Pro is like taking one of those psychedelic-looking mushrooms in Super Mario. It unlocks a whole new world of bonus features and resources while allowing you to sell your sessions, guides, and goodies for cold hard cash.
This is your chance to finally get paid what you’re worth.
Become a Pro