In the salary battle between online gamers versus heads of state, there seems to be a clear winner. And it’s not who you would expect.
Gaming website Tech Guided analyzed the data of the top 500 professional gamers from around the world and compared those numbers to the chief executives of their respective residences. Gamers earned significantly more in 70 percent of these countries. Suffice it to say, these results are a clear vindication of those who saw the potential of the humble computer game.
Take Australian gamer Ana, a 19-year-old professional Dota 2 player who is Asia Pacific’s top earner. His annual earnings amount to over $2 million—seven times more than what his prime minister makes in a year.
China’s Somnus \ M, who also plays Dota 2, makes over $1 million while Xi Jinping, the country’s president, makes $22,000. The gamer earns fifty times what the president does, the largest gap in the Asia Pacific.
Of the seven players who breached the $1 million mark, four of them came from the region. Other Asian countries such as Pakistan, Japan, Malaysia, and Korea also have their top gamers making significantly more than their heads of state.
The top earner worldwide goes to Finnish player JerAx, who makes $2,290,632. Even in the United States, Fortnite player TFue made more than Donald Trump in 2018 (if we’re going strictly by his salary as president, of course).
Tech Guided’s study examined publicly available data of these players’ earnings, a bulk of which come from sponsorship and the salaries from the teams they play on. But like any other sporting endeavor, getting to the level of these gamers isn’t easy. It takes countless hours of practice and dedication. Still, the prospect of earning more than the head of your country should be motivation enough.
The most lucrative games for professional players include Dota 2, League of Legends, StarCraft II, and Counter-Strike. Dota 2, which bags the number one spot, currently has a prize pool of over $29 million in their annual tournament, The International.
Esports has been on the rise for years. In 2018, it was forecasted that 2.3 billion gamers from around the world would spend $137.9 billion on games. This was a rise of 13.3 percent from 2017.
This is particularly visible in the Asian market. Reportedly, a whopping 49 percent of the world’s gaming revenue in 2018 came from the Asia Pacific region alone.
It’s also slowly starting to gain recognition as a legitimate sport. The upcoming 2019 Southeast Asian Games, for example, will be featuring it for the first time. And while the International Olympic Community does not believe esports coincide with the "values" of the Olympics, they are allegedly going to work with key figures of the esports industry to explore “collaborative projects” for the future.