Esports athletes are now able to lift one single championship and vault themselves into a game's highest-earners list. Yet, for some, competitive titles have been their life and have racked up a significant amount of cash in the process - even when prize pools may not have been what they are today.
It's an increasingly lucrative business, esports, as players get rewarded substantially for the hard work and effort they put into making it to the top level.
While some games boast bigger fan bases and higher prize pools than others, ending up as a champion will net you some serious cash, regardless of your selected field. Here are the richest esports players, in history, across numerous different titles - thanks to EsportsEarnings.
Call of Duty may not have prize pool backing of some other games, but having a long-standing career that spans over multiple titles and world championships isn’t shabby at all.
At the top of the CoD mountain is OpTic Gaming’s Damon ‘Karma’ Barlow, who has racked up $748,222.25 in winnings since beginning his career back in 2011. The three-time Call of Duty World Champion has been consistently dominant ever since breaking into the scene but scored his most winnings, $269,500, following his third championship in 2017 with OpTic in Infinite Warfare.
It's also no surprise that he's closely followed by two veterans of the game in long-time teammate Ian 'Crimsix' Porter and Jordan 'JKap' Kaplan - who have both been around as long as Karma.
League of Legends always has a competitive field, yet, one name stands alone at the top of the card - Lee ‘Faker’ Sang Hyeok. Faker is one of the greatest, and most dominant, LoL players of all-time - racking up $1,213,853.15 in prize winnings across his three world championships.
While 2018 may have been a rocky year for him and his SKT teammates, Faker's eyes will be firmly set on returning to his throne, securing his fourth Worlds title.
Faker may be the only LoL star to break the $1 million mark but Lee 'Duke' Ho Seong and Lee 'Wolf' Jae Wan aren't far behind either. 100 Thieves star Bae 'Bang' Jun Sik, a former teammate of Faker, is also an honorable mention.
Dota 2 may not directly compete with LoL, but their prize pools could be enough to make some players switch over from Riot Games’ MOBA to Valve’s. Not every Dota event is showered with gold, however, but make it to the incredibly prestigious International and you’re in the money.
At the top of the table is Team Liquid’s Kuro ‘KuroKy’ Salehi Takhasomi, with over $4 million of prize winnings. His sole TI win, back in 2017, netted him a slice of the $10,862,683 first place prize - accounting for over 50% of his career winnings.
While KoroKy has been around the scene for quite some time, the scene could see a massive shake-up depending on who wins this years International. This year's prize pool has already eclipsed last year's massive total of $25 million with more than 50 days left to go.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive may not get the prize money support of its DOTA counterpart but that’s not to say that players can’t win head-spinning amounts of money from competing. Winning a CS:GO major will net a team $500,000 before they split it between themselves.
Astralis’ Andreas ‘Xyp9x’ Højsleth has climbed that mountain, three times, and begun dominating the highest-earners standings alongside his Danish teammates. Since the start of 2018, and the beginning of Astralis’ dominant era, Xyp9x has earned $883,350 - more than half of his career earnings.
While their attendance and dominant wins at events may start to slow down, the Danes are still ahead of the chasing pack and remain atop the top earner's chart and it will require a major shock to see them displaced anytime soon.
As the wider esports scene continues to grow, games are doing their best to make a name for themselves - offering big prize pools.
One such title is Fortnite Battle Royale, where Timothy 'Bizzle' Miller reigns supreme. The Ghost Gaming pro has earned $512,750 since joining the competitive field. Yet, the leader of the pack could change in one fell swoop as the Fortnite World Cup kicks off on July 26-28 - where the winner of the solo portion is set to make $3 million.
Popular player Turner 'Tfue' Tenney had his grip on top spot before deciding against traveling to the IEM Katowice event back in January. His duo partner Dennis 'Cloak' Lepore follows in third, with just over $80,000 less than Tfue.
While Fortnite might be a baby in the esports world, Starcraft II has been around for quite some time. The list is dominated by South Korean players but Cho 'Maru' Sung Choo stands atop them all with $748,651.21 earned.
Maru has been competing in Starcraft since 2010 but had to wait until 2018 before he saw his earnings total skyrocket. The Korean earned just shy of 50% of his current total earnings with $370,117.05 across 14 events in 2018.
He's already kicked off 2019 with over $50,000 earned in seven events so his lead at the top could expand even further. That's not good news for countrymanLee 'INnoVation; Shin Hyung who lags behind in second place on $686,202.57.
As more and more titles decide to get to involved with competitive play - be it a small dip of the toe, or a huge dive into the deep end - players will have the chance to earn life-changing amounts solely by finding what they have a knack for.
This article was last updated on Tuesday July 9 at 12:11 pm Eastern Time.