–by Mark MacDonald–
The video game industry generates tens of billions of dollars worldwide; from PC games to consoles or mobile phones, gaming is one of the world’s favorite past times. As the popularity of video games has grown, so too has the renown of the world’s best players. Whether it is Youtube channels with millions of subscribers tuning in to watch, or sponsored tournaments held in stadiums that offer thousands of dollars in prize money, gamers of all kinds are reaching celebrity status. Here are some of the world’s most famous gamers.
Lee Young Ho (aka KT FlaSh)
With estimated total earnings in excess of $400,000, Lee Young Ho has made a name for himself in StarCraft: Brood War. The Korean earned half of his total sum before he had reached the age of 18 and was the youngest player ever to win a premier Korean tournament. Lee set a number of records in StarCraft: Brood War competition, including the highest career win-lose ratio. He spent his entire career playing for the team KT Rolster and retired in December 2015 as one of the world’s greatest competitive gamers.
Clement Ivanov (aka Puppey)
Currently the captain of Team Secret, the Estonian has racked up close to a half-million dollars playing in primarily Dota 2 tournaments. Known for his professionalism and sense of responsibility, Clement also has a musical education, playing the violin, guitar, clarinet and saxophone. He is currently meticulously planning a house, which he is building in his native Estonia using his winnings.
Jang Min Chul (aka MC)
MC has earned over $500,000 playing in over 79 contests across the world. The 24 year old is an experienced gamer known for performing ritualistic ceremonies upon achieving victory and has won the Global StarCraft 2 League championship twice. Jang has publicly discussed his struggles with weight gain and loneliness, earning love and respect from audiences across the world. He bought his mother a brand new car with some of the money earned through winning competitions.
Johnathan Wendel (aka Fatal1ty)
Many consider Johnathan Wendel to be the first, and best, gaming competition player. The American plays a variety of games from Quake to Call of Duty and Counter Strike and was inducted into the International Video Game Hall of Fame in 2010. Aged 33, Johnathan holds a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records (most gaming kills in 60 minutes) and is estimated to have killed around 5 million (online) people in games through the course of his career. Johnathan has also been featured in publications like Time and Forbes as well as the program 60 Minutes.
Danil Ishutin (aka Dendi)
The Ukranian gamer once earned $200,000 at a Dota 2 tournament, and is estimated to have earned over $450,000 playing in over 40 competitions throughout his career. A Position 2 player for Natus Vincere, Danil rose to prominence by winning The International 2011 alongside his teacher Nandzo on Na Vi, and was featured in the 2014 documentary Free to Play.
Lee Jae Dong (aka Jaedong)
Lee Jae Dong, a South Korean national, has earned over half a million dollars in tournaments throughout the course of his career, his game of choice being StarCraft. One of the most successful StarCraft players of all time, Lee has won five OnGameNet Starleague tournaments in addition to wins at the MBCGame StarCraft League tournaments. Lee also earned the KeSPA award for Player of the Year in 2007 and 2009 and is often called The Tyrant or The Legend Killer on account of his skill.
Felix Kjellberg (PewDiePie)
With over 25 million subscribers to his Youtube channel, Felix is a multi-millionaire, and likely the most popular video game commentator in the world. The Swededropped out of University to focus on his career on Youtube, which features his responses during gameplay, often turned into video blogs and reviews.
Team Newbee (Jiao Wang, Chen Zhihao, Zhang Pan, Zhang Pan, and Zhaohui Wang)
Earning over a million dollars each in the Valve’s International Dota 2 competition, the members of Team Newbee have quickly become some of the richest and most famous gamers in the world. The largest prize ever given in electronic sports, the $5 million prize shared by the team is now a part of history, earning the members both fortune and fame.
With the prizes for tournament wins increasing and the popularity of Twitch andYoutube on the rise, professional video game players are sure to be prevalent in the future, earning both considerable wealth and fame to play.