Esports has grown exceptionally over the last decade and is still expanding at an exponential rate. By 2020, the esports industry had reached a value of $1.2 billion dollars, up from $650 million in 2016.
This growth can largely be attributed to the fact that more people are getting into competitive gaming.
In 2015, there were around 100 million active gamers worldwide, but this number grew to 200 million in 2017 with more and more people wanting to test their skills and earning notoriety in their favorite games.
Along with the fame, all esports tournaments also have prize pools which each team or individual are striving to earn.
These rewards range anywhere between $100,000 – $50 Million and have been expanding massively since esports has started becoming an international phenomenon.
To uncover which games hold the biggest profits for their winners, we have listed below the 7 biggest esports games by prize money to see just how intense these matches can really get with what is at stake.
7) League Of Legends: Approximately $7.3 million
If League of Legends, one of the top 5 most played games in the world and the most watched esports game, is the lowest on this list, then you know these amounts can get pretty high.
The reason this amount may seem modest in comparison is because many of the MOBA’s (Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas) professionals instead receive high salaries from their teams.
This is part of Riot Game’s philosophy to create a healthy esports system that all involved can benefit from, especially the winners.
6) Fortnite: Approximately $9.5 million
One of the newer additions to professional esports, but certainly not an unpopular one. Fortnite was released back in 2017 after Epic Games acquired the popular battle royale title.
It was free-to-play when it first came out, leading to its immense growth in popularity over the years with its intense firefights and building mechanics.
Fortnite is only growing with more and more popular icons being added to the game along with new events and even virtual concerts performed by the likes of Travis Scott and Ariana Grande.
It therefore seems that the Fortnite esports scene will only grow, with the prize pool expanding alongside it.
5) Arena Of Valor: Approximately $13 million
Arena of Valor is another relatively new esport title, but already holds a large following in China and Taiwan.
Arena of Valor is a mobile MOBA that was developed by NetEase and published by Tencent and is similar to other popular titles such as Vainglory and Clash Royale.
The game itself is very easy to pick up and play and has a variety of characters to choose from, however, the real draw is the massive prizes that can be won if your character reaches level 20!
There is also a weekly tournament held where players compete against each other to win cash prizes.
The prize pool for this tournament alone is approximately $130,000 USD, so you can imagine how much professionals can earn so much in the national or regional tournaments.
4) PUBG Mobile: Approximately $15 million
Birthing the genre we now know as battle royale, PUBG remains immensely popular. Players must use their instincts and knowledge of the map to traverse their way through to be the last one standing out of 100 players, all fighting for survival.
The version of PUBG on mobile is available on iOS and Android devices, meaning anyone can play, and many have gotten very good at the game, often playing it from when it was released.
The PUBG LWC back in 2019 was a PUBG Mobile tournament that attracted a large number of viewers while offering 1 $1.2 million dollar reward to the winner.
This number has since steadily grown as the mobile version has grown in popularity and because it’s mobile, it means anyone can play regardless of location, bringing in skilled players from a list of different countries.
3) PUBG: Battlegrounds: Approximately $17 million
Not surprisingly, the brother of the mobile version, PUBG on PC, is also a hugely popular esport with a similarly huge prize pool.
The game is also played across various platforms, including Xbox and the PS5, with its community still feeling very much alive despite many copies of the battle royale genre popping up after its release.
PUBG also has the interesting fact of being competitive between all regions rather than being dominated by one, meaning the rewards are up for grabs by anyone skilled enough at the game.
2) Counter Strike Global Offensive: Approximately $25 million
Rather than a battle royal, CS:GO is a tactical shooter, and when we say tactical we mean it.
To even be considered half decent at this game, you must know every area, mechanic and system like the back of your hand, being considered the pinnacle of strategic first-person shooters.
CS:GO’s publishers Valve are huge in the games industry and host some of the biggest esport tournaments around the world which they also love placing some hefty rewards into, as we will also see with the next entry.
1) Dota 2: Approximately $50 million
Far and away, the biggest game by prize money is popular MOBA Dota 2, specifically the World Championship Series (WCS).
While released in 2013, Valve’s Dota 2 quickly became the most popular MOBA in the world, even surpassing League of Legends.
The way this prize pool gets so big is primarily from the fans who provide the revenue through purchasing the battle pass in game.
This allows them to gain access to special cosmetic items and other perks, such as early access to new heroes, which makes up actually the majority of the humongous cash pool in Dota tournaments seen today.
Alongside the growing popularity of esports has also emerged their massive tournaments and prize rewards.
While these may be getting bigger and bigger each year, many publishers and teams are dedicated to ensuring esports is still an industry of fairness, and at its heart, a passion for competitive gaming.