esports [xplayn]ed

Fun fact: If you are a Top 10 Overwatch player, you still might not be in the world's top 1,000 for prize money won in esports.

Esports has grown an incredible amount over the past 20 years. Here are the top 100 gamers in the world, placing top 10 in one of the top 10 games in the world (according to prize money paid out). Not all games are created equal. Just because you are top 10 in your game, does not mean you are even close to being in the top 10 in history, or even top 100...500...or even 1,000.

Korea dominates esports, that much is evident when you look at the Top 10 of the Top 10. However, they are barely represented on the Top 100 in Prize Winnings, featuring only 5 League of Legends players, only one of whom is in the millionaires club (congrats, Faker!).

Dota 2 is undoubtedly the king of all esports. The game has created by far the most millionaires (61), paid out the most prize money ($175 million), and owns all of the top 40 spots in the Top 100 earners. ggnore

Even without The International, Dota 2 would still be at the top.

The top 10 games will likely change in the very near future as PUBG is #deadgame, and CS 1.6 hasn't been competitive since its younger brother, CS:GO, took over the family legacy in 2012. Fortnite has had a meteoric rise as well, but it is unclear whether that can be sustained or if the latest and greatest Battle Royale (Apex Legends) will usurp the throne.

And as prize purses continue to scale year after year and Blizzard remains rather conservative by comparison, you may see a handful of other titles drop from the list after a year or two.

Which begs the question, how important are prize pools? Obviously they offer players a form of living, but the vast majority of players rely on team/sponsorship salaries, advertising and subscription revenue, and for the select few juggernauts - even merchandise. Publishers such as Blizzard and RIOT have tried to steer esports to the traditional sports models where the attention is not on how big the prize purse is, but how illustrious and legendary 1st place in the league is.

What do you think is better for players and the audience in the long run? Leagues/Tournaments offering players a stable salary, but reduced prize pools - as we are witnessing in LoL and Overwatch? Or the model that Dota 2, CS:GO, and other games have been operating on for the past 20 years?