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The eSports Takeover

A new sport might be added to the Olympic program in Paris in 2024. Instead of surfing, karate, or skateboarding (all of which are being introduced to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan), members of the committee are considering whether to go with eSports in one of the world's most prestigious athletic tournaments.

As eSports initially became popular, one of the first significant events was the "Space Invaders" Tournament in 1980, which attracted over 10,000 competitors. Fast forward to 2007, when the overall prize fund for the Championship Gaming Series Tournament surpassed $1 million. Competitive gambling is now predicted to generate $1.8 billion in income by 2022 and is only likely to expand at a rapid pace.

So, who's in the game, as well as how much cash is at stake? Continue reading to learn about the last 20 years of professional gaming. We'll go through how much money has been handed out in cash prizes, which nations have embraced eSports, as well as which titles and competitions have the greatest payouts. Are you ready for an intimate look at the current state of the eSports industry? Let's get started!

Cash Involvement


For the first real-time strategy games were born in 1998: Starcraft and its expansion pack Starcraft: Blood War. The latter has awarded $7.8M in total prize money across 536 eSports tournaments. Starcraft games have also been broadcasted across various TV channels in South Korea.

Titles are more than simply medals and status for professional sportsmen. In nearly every case, winning teams (and sometimes losing teams) are rewarded handsomely for their efforts.

Each New England Patriots player received $118,000 after having won the NFL title game in 2019. In comparison, the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia, would award up to $1.98 million to the winner. For yet another instance, the NBA does indeed have a $20 million postseason pool, and the Cleveland Cavaliers won the championship in 2016 and received $2.66 million. eSports is no exception. In 2018, participants in The International, a "Dota 2" competition, competed for a $25.5 million prize purse, including more than $11 million for the first prize.

Competitive gaming and eSports might not even appear to be as physically challenging or as renowned as other big sports leagues, yet its champions are compensated professionally. While, it wasn't necessarily like this. The mean prize money for eSports events in 1998 was less than $15,000, with a maximum prize pool of $132,000 for all title games staged that year. The average tournament prizes in esports have climbed by 205 percent since 1998, rising from $14,633 to over $45,000 in twenty years. In 2018, overall cash prize for the year surpassed previous records (aided, in particular, by Valve's audacious $100 million wins pledge to multiple "Fortnite '' events), totaling roughly $156 million globally.

A Worldwide Display


Twitch, the most common online game streaming service, was launched in 2011 and went mainstream in 2014 when it was bought by Amazon. It helped spur the popularity of Dota, Dota 2, League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Fortnite.

eSports and pro gaming did not become a $1 billion market by putting their efforts in a single country. Instead, eSports has become a worldwide sensation, with some countries racing to catch up and capitalize on video game popularity.

Though Japan is home to some of the world's largest video game producers (including Konami, Capcom, and Nintendo), the region hasn't always been at the forefront of eSports. Regulatory issues have made it impossible for Japan to create large tournament winnings that entice foreign players and shows. While Japan's participation in the sector has increased faster than any other nation (from $250 in tournament profits in 2000 to above $2.2 million in 2018), it still lags behind the world's most strong eSports nations.

Nevertheless, the biggest overall earnings in 2018 were reported by the United States (around $28 million), China (around $17 million), South Korea (almost $14 million), and Denmark (more than $10 million). Danish players and supporters are so enthusiastic about eSports that the country instituted education for pupils in upper-secondary institutions to assist them develop their talents. Overall income per player in Denmark was greater than everywhere else in the globe, at more than $27,000 on aggregate.

Games Worth Lots of Money


Consider picking up the controller and getting in on the fun. You might be able to make a few bucks playing professional "Super Mario" or "Tetris" (along with a few other lesser known ones), but those games are unlikely to make you a billionaire.

The International, the yearly "Dota 2" tournament event, continues to have the most valuable prize pool in eSports. Valve's tournament has grown in popularity year after year, with larger grand prize payments and increased excitement, making it a great show both for players and spectators. The competitive landscape has shifted dramatically in the previous two decades, contrasted to four "Quake II" events in 1998, where the 16 tournament players won a total of $66,000. In 2018, the prize pool for "Dota 2" was $41 million, spread among 161 events and 1,093 participants.

Are you unfamiliar with the game? Peak pro status may not be attained quickly, but Valve has undertaken measures to encourage fresh entrants to the game's tiers and minimize hostile gaming environments.

A New Environment


If it were easy to become a professional athlete, everyone would do it. Instead, to keep in shape all year, some of the greatest names in professional sports engage in the most extreme weight training programs, aerobic exercises, dynamic sequence bodybuilding, and Olympic weightlifting. Professional video game gamers may not be able to lift as much as Dwayne Johnson or sprint as far as Usain Bolt, yet their everyday rounds may surprise you.

Obey, an eSports squad, has a staff of dietitians and other specialists on hand to ensure that players stay emotionally and physically fit in between competitions. Other teams attend multi-day boot camps aimed to improve their squad and help them achieve a higher level of physical condition. To be effective in the game, eSports players must control what they consume and maintain great physical and mental fitness.

There were approximately 19,000 esports participants in 2018, compared to only 34 in 1998. All of their hard effort, like that of conventional sportsmen, has the ability to pay off. In comparison to the highest-earning eSports competitor in 1998, Thresh, who made $16,000, current players may now become millionaires. JerAx made roughly $2.3 million in Finland in 2018. N0tail, ana, 7ckngMad, N0tail, and Topson (all of whom were among the top-earning players) also made more than $2.2 million in tournament prizes and endorsement agreements.

Playing to Win

If you enjoy video games, there are several chances to convert your hobby into a profitable side income. You may not reach peak billionaire status, but live-streaming your gaming, uploading to YouTube, making walkthroughs and tutorials, and beta screening new releases are just a few ways to include "professional video gamer" on your résumé. Of course, if you want to make a lot of money, you should look at video game competitions. You might be earning millions and ascending to global stardom by devoting time and efforts to refining your gaming talents.

Limits and Methods

For this study, we collected data from esportsearnings.com on total winnings, mean prize pools, event earnings by nation, active gamers, and tournament earnings per player from 1998 to 2018. The information was gathered on February 5, 2019. Insufficient data for 1998 and 1999 were omitted from the required representations. Furthermore, because we won't have access to information for all nations from 1998 to 2018, our analysis may be restricted in its scope. Data may also vary over time because esportsearnings.com relies on data contributions and updates from members of the games industry. We did not do statistical tests on the data; thus, our findings are based only on means. Any future research should take a more scholarly and inclusive approach to this topic.