These people make millions by playing video games

The people making a fortune from playing video games.

From Lovemoney

Gaming is just something done by idle teenagers, right? Wrong, actually. It turns out that, for a lucky few, it’s possible to make big bucks by playing computer games for a living. Not only do these rock stars of the gaming world earn a pretty penny, but many have huge YouTube followings and thousands of devoted fans. Meet some of the world’s richest 'esports athletes' and gaming YouTubers. Earnings figures compiled and estimated by esports earnings unless otherwise stated.

Wаng Zhаоhuі, aka ЅаnЅhеng: $1,211,061

Zhaohui has joked that his mother tried everything to beat her son’s gaming addiction, jokingly saying “thankfully, there were no special schools to treat internet addiction during my adolescence” in an interview in 2014. The player, who’s competed in tournaments of multi-player battle game Dota 2, has earned more than $1.2 million in prize money.

Zhаng Раn, aka Мu: $1,390,711

This Chinese player has now participated in 48 tournaments, and is known for his high risk – and high reward – gaming. It has certainly paid off: this strategic planning has helped him earn around $1.4 million.

Сhеn Zhіhао, aka Нао: $1,761,646

He’s been nicknamed “Hao the Hand Cutter” among gamers because of his claim that he’d “cut his hand off” if his team didn’t win in a 2010 tournament. Fortunately they did – the talented gamer has since continued an impressive career with both of his hands intact, racking up an impressive $1.7 million.

Zhаng Nіng, aka хіao8: $1,824,534

According to a translated Weibo post by Zhang Ning, he dropped out at the end of high school before deciding to study computer software, at which time he got involved in the gaming scene. He set his sights on a career as a gamer and, after a few ups and downs, joined the highly successful EHOME team. Ning is currently worth $1.8 million.

Кurtіѕ Lіng, aka Аuі_2000: $1,973,978

Ling brought home nearly $2 million from successful game playing at The International Tournament last year. The gamer has honed his skills while playing for various teams over the years, and currently plays for Team Np. Ling has won six championships, such as the MLG Championship Columbus.

Li Peng, aka iceice: $1,998,972

Li Peng might share his name with a former Chinese politician, but that's where the similarities end. The 29-year-old has raked in nearly $2 million over the course of his career, and currently coaches a professional gaming team, Newbee. A newbie he isn't, however, having played Dota 2 professionally for six years. 

Zhang Ruida, aka Faith_bian: $2,011,615

This pro player is one of the youngest on our list at just 21. Impressively, he's been climbing up the gaming career ladder since the age of 14, when he began competing in online speed gaming. Since then he's gained $2 million – proof that not all teen gaming addicts are wasting their time.

Zhang Yiping, aka y: $2,030,175

Another young gaming prodigy, Zhang Yiping is known for being a smart, quick thinker – you'd have to be, to earn that much at 20! He plays Dota 2 for the established Chinese team EHOME, but also enjoys other games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive in his free time (because playing games for eight hours a day isn't enough).

Tal Aizik, aka Fly: $2,032,585

Israeli/Canadian Tal Aizik isn't your stereotypical gamer: he swears by daily workouts, which he says are "incredibly important" because "as a gamer, you're an athlete in every sense of the word". While skeptics might disagree, it's clearly working for him as Aizik is worth more than $2 million.

Clement Ivanov, aka Puppey: $2,144,245

At 6 foot 5, 'Puppey' is one of the tallest game-players out there, cutting an imposing figure when he goes up on stage to collect trophies. The 28-year-old Estonian has been collecting accolades since 2011, which explains his hefty $2.14 million fortune.

Xu, Linsen, aka fy: $2,172,733

This 24-year-old Chinese player believes that "teamwork, understanding and execution" are key qualities needed to win a game. He's considered the best Rubick player in the world (a specific character in a game) and has $2.17 million to his name.

Gustav Magnusson, aka s4: $2,226,343

Swede Gustav Magnusson is known for his level-headed attitude to gaming – despite the fact he plays for a team called 'Evil Geniuses'. He's been playing Dota 2 for some seven years now, helping him to rake in $2.2 million from competition winnings.

Lu Yao, aka Somnus M: $2,263,924

Although he's a talented player, Yao recently stepped down from professional gaming to take a temporary break, which he's used to get married. Before then he was one of the top Chinese game players and, at the age of just 23, has a net worth of $2.26 million from esports. His return to the game is hotly anticipated...

Topias Taavitsainen, aka Topson: $2,267,909

Topias Taavitsainen (pictured right) is a highly-successful Dota 2 player who has earned $2.27 million in prize money from tournaments. He is ranked 14th in the world.

Sébastien Debs, aka 7ckngMad: $2,342,596

Gaming brings the benefits of travel, as a quick flick through Debs' social media will show: he's been to Cuba, Australia, the UK and Cyprus in the past year alone. Travel aside, he's a talented game-player with a massive $2.34 million to his name.

Maroun Merhej, aka GH: $3,124,344

Merhej began his gaming career around two and a half years ago. He's quickly risen to the top of the professional rankings, although he admits he was a fan of gaming from an early age, when his parents expressed concern about his lack of studying. It's clearly paid off for him though, as a few big tournaments have earned him as much as $3.12 million.

Сlіntоn Lооmіѕ, aka Fеаr: $2,528,860

Loomis won the biggest Dota 2 tournament in the world, The International Tournament, back in 2012. To date, he's played in 77 tournaments, and his net worth is currently estimated to be over $2.5 million.

Anathan Pham, aka ana: $2,853,875.76

This Melbourne teenager quit school at just 16 to pursue his career in gaming, making headlines with a big win in the Dota 2 International Championships last year. Over his career he's gained a whopping $2.85 million in prize money.

Peter Dager, aka ppd: $2,943,166.36

Known as ‘ppd’ in the gaming world, Dager has an income of over $2.9 million from 79 tournaments. He won the World eSport Championships in 2014 and it was here that he earned his professional game-playing status while also putting professional video gaming on the map. He has a YouTube presence, and the 27-year-old has his own gaming podcast through the platform where he discusses gaming tactics with other people from the industry.

Tom Cassell, aka TheSyndicateProject: $3 million

British vlogger Cassell is popular thanks to his YouTube channel, TheSyndicateProject, which currently has just under 10 million subscribers.  In 2014, Tom became the first person to reach one million followers on streaming platform Twitch, making him one of the most-subscribed streamers on the platform. Since then his videos on game hacks and successfully completed missions, as well as endorsements, have reportedly helped him gross over $3 million.

Ѕааhіl Аrоra, aka UNiVеRѕЕ: $3,038,737

American professional Saahil is currently ranked 9th in the world. Saahil has participated in other tournaments across the world and raised his profile as a professional player. Although he recently announced a ‘semi-retirement’ he is currently estimated to have earned more than $3 million from his gaming ventures. 

Ѕumаіl Наѕѕаn, aka SumaiL: $3,313,914

Pakastani player Sumail Hassan won the Dota 2 Asia Championships in Shanghai in 2015, becoming the youngest player to surpass $1 million in esports winnings at the time. He has since gone on to play in other tournaments, such as The Shanghai Major and The International, raking in over $3.3 million. 

Jesse Vainikka, aka JerAx: $3,323,463

Jesse Vainikka (pictured left), along with fellow Finnish gamer Topias Taavitsen, made the news when they were invited to the Independence Day party at the Presidential Castle in Finland – the first time esports athletes had received such high recognition from the Finnish government. But in the gaming world, he's already practically royalty, ranking in as one of the top players in the world with $3.32 million to his name.

Lasse Urpalainen, aka Matumbaman: $3,505,116

Excessive video gaming is often portrayed as a negative distraction, but in Urpalainen's case it couldn't be further from the truth. He turned to gaming after a difficult few months, using his determined and competitive nature to train up despite his parents' doubts. Two years after joining Team Liquid, he became a millionaire, and is now regarded as one of the best players in the world, ranking 5th.

Ivan Ivanov, aka MinD_ContRoL: $3,521,411

Ivan Ivanov (pictured right) was introduced to gaming at the age of just five, when his grandmother bought him his first computer. He began playing Dota 2 in 2012, although his parents, like many, were skeptical and saw it as a waste of time. Indignant, Ivan kept playing and joined an esports team in 2014, and since then he's gone from strength to strength, raking in $3.5 million over the course of his career.

Amer Al-Barkawi, aka Miracle-: $3,730,337

"Miracle-" (pictured center) is one of esports' big hitters, with a huge $3.73 million fortune under his belt. In a recent interview with Red Bull, he admitted that the gaming lifestyle is tougher than it looks – he hates having to travel so much and said it's "not always positive" to be playing "every single day, for 10 hours a day, for 10 days in a row" in the run-up to competitions.

Johan Sundstein, aka N0tail: $3,752,055

The second highest-earning esports player in the world, Danish-born Johan Sundstein has a refreshing humbleness. He says he's not motivated by the prize money but pure love of the game, and his dream is to live in a house "without neighbours, but just a lot of dogs". With a net worth of $3.75 million, that dream should be pretty achievable.

Kuro Takhasomi, aka KuroKy: $4,165,926

German player Kuro Takhasomi has been playing esports professionally for 10 years, working his way up to become the highest-earning player of all time with $4.17 million in prize money. Like many gamers, Kuro started young, playing Nintendo at the age of four. Suffering from a disability in his legs, video gaming became a form of escape throughout his childhood, although his hobby soon became a viable career and he's now one of the world's most respected players.

Toby Turner, aka TobyGames: $4.5 million

Turner actually made his name in comedy before turning his hand to gaming. He started posting his video gaming channel ‘TobyGames’ back in 2010, featuring hacks and walkthroughs for popular games including Minecraft. The videos have helped Turner gain 6.5 million subscribers and a tidy $4.5 million in the bank, according to various estimates.

Alfie Deyes, aka PointlessGamesBlog: $5 million

You might recognize Deyes – he’s the beau of popular beauty YouTuber Zoella, as well as being a big name in the world of gaming. The 25-year-old started vlogging a decade ago when he was still at school, with his PointlessGamesBlog racking up 1.5 million subscribers. Along with popular videos, he’s had a number of collaborations with celebrities like Ariana Grande, and his overall net worth is roughly $5 million, sources say.

Felix Kjellberg, aka PewDiePie: $20 million

PewDiePie’s journey to success hasn’t been without controversy. The YouTube star has 95.5 million subscribers, yet he enraged fans by recommending other YouTubers who have posted anti-Semitic slurs, as well as taking a dig at a female YouTuber who complained about the gender pay gap for streamers. Yet with a reported $20 million in the bank, according to various sources, the controversies haven't exactly left him short-changed. In February this year PewDiePie beat the record for number of streamers for the incedibly popular game Fortnite, as viewers watched him play it for the first time.

Daniel Middleton, aka DanTDM: $31.7 million

More of a YouTuber than a professional gamer per se, Dan Middleton has made a fortune from uploading videos about Minecraft and Fortnite – his net worth is $31.7 million, according to the UK's Sunday Times Rich List, and he was the highest-paid YouTuber in 2017. With 21.5 million subscribers you’d be forgiven for thinking his success was limited to YouTube, but Middleton has also scored two Guinness World Records, published a New York Times bestselling graphic novel and gone on a global tour.


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Career Magazine: These people make millions by playing video games
These people make millions by playing video games
The people making a fortune from playing video games.
Career Magazine
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