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    Who Are The Most Successful Esports Players

    Who Are The Most Successful Esports Players

    Over the past few years, gaming has evolved from a mere pastime and hobby to a lively industry, making sizable profits worldwide.

    According to a US gaming habits survey from CenturyLinkQuote, 30% of Americans spend an average of 10 hours playing video games weekly. Meanwhile, 68% of Americans categorize their gaming habits as a “regular” occurrence, with Gen Z making up the highest percentage of regular gamers at 73%.

    Another development in the gaming industry that has led to gaming becoming more accessible is the rise of mobile gaming. In fact, despite Sony’s PlayStation 2 remaining the top-selling video game console of all time, console gaming still lags behind mobile gaming. 40% of Americans primarily play mobile games, and understandably so, as mobile devices have become a daily mainstay in our routine along with almost 24/7 access to the Internet.

    Competitive gaming and esports are another factor contributing to the rapid growth of the gaming industry. Gamers can professionally compete at their preferred video game titles for significant winnings and salaries. At the same time, fans and more casual gamers also contribute to the esports ecosystem by supporting their favorite teams and players at live or live-streamed esports events and tournaments. Of course, as with traditional sports, some esports players are more successful than others. Below, we’ll take a closer look at the competitive, high-stakes nature of esports and some notable names in esports history:

    The esports industry

    As mentioned above, since the earliest Pong tournaments in the 80s, esports quickly became a dominant presence in the gaming world. Nowadays, many video game titles with online multiplayer modes and competitive play will have some level of esports system. This provides an avenue for gamers to compete for significant prizes and be the best at the said game, whether it’s Super Smash Bros., car-soccer hybrid Rocket League, battle royales like Fortnite or PUBG, shooters like Counter-Strike and Overwatch, or even fighting games.

    This makes esports a viable entry point for many passionate gamers, regardless of their favorite video game title or playstyle. Of course, besides players being able to compete professionally and sign with global teams, fans and viewers aren’t left behind. Fans, viewers, and casual gamers can contribute to the esports ecosystem in many other ways.

    For example, esports betting has become popular for many esports viewers and fans who are confident about their in-game and esports know-how. Some of the best esports betting tips encourage fans and viewers to do their research by watching and learning from esports tournaments and live streams, as there’s lots to learn from live commentaries and esports casting, such as common in-game mistakes and blunders as well as tips and tricks from the best players. Aside from boosting your odds of winning bets, watching events and tournaments also contributes to esports viewership and revenue and is a great chance to show your support for your favorite teams or players.

    As such, the proliferation of esports as an industry has opened a host of opportunities for both professional players and supportive fans of the electronic sport. Over the years, however, some esports players have achieved milestones and levels of success that continue to inspire other aspiring esports players and fans to participate in the thriving industry. Below are some of the names etched in modern esports history:


    While fighting game titles like Street Fighter and Tekken aren’t necessarily the biggest esports spectacles, they still have quite an audience and niche following. One of the biggest names in esports fighting game history is Daigo Umehara, one of esports’ first global stars. In 1998, Daigo flew to America to defeat Alex Valle in Street Fighter Alpha 3.

    Also known among fighting game fans as The Beast, Daigo cemented his place in esports history in 2004, when he clutched — through a series of well-timed, surreal blocks on his last few hit points — against Justin Wong. The video of Daigo’s iconic comeback has been viewed over 20 million times. Interestingly, fighting games were only one of Daigo’s roots in gaming. Growing up, Daigo was also interested in Mahjong and Tetris, although the speed and chaos provided by Street Fighter ultimately proved to be the right challenge for him. Since his historic win against Wong in 2004, The Beast has continued pursuing high-level play for over 15 years, winning world championships in 2009 and 2019, placing second at Capcom Cup 2015, and donating his $60,000 prize to a scholarship fund.


    One of the biggest esports games today is Riot Games’ decade-old MOBA League of Legends (LoL). With a consistent player base and a passionate fandom, League of Legends majors and championships are some of the biggest esports events taking place today. One of the names almost synonymous with the game’s impressive esports legacy is South Korean Faker—the four-time World Champion and superstar player for Korean team T1.

    Starting his esports career at 17 years old, Faker burst onto the scene under the biggest esports team in Korea, SK Telecom, and led the team to a World Championship win at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Faker has won six domestic titles since then, three of which were earned back-to-back. He is also the only esports player to ever grace the cover of ESPN’s Magazine, furthering the cause for esports to be recognized as an official sport. Most recently, Faker is rumored to be inducted into Riot Games’ special pantheon celebrating and honoring the legacies of pro-League players. As rumors go, following the vote by an independent panel of esports veterans and experts, Faker is also to be immortalized with a special Ahri skin — a fox-like, fan-favorite character in the game.


    Currently, Johan “n0tail” Sundstein is the highest-earning esports professional. Dota 2 is a direct competitor of fellow MOBA League of Legends and is just as dominant in the esports scene, almost a decade since its release. Like LoL, Dota 2 esports events are large global celebrations of the game, its highly-skilled players, and enthusiastic fans. One of the biggest names in the game is n0tail. The Dota 2 player has won over $7 million in prize winnings throughout his illustrious career.

    Having founded his own esports organization, OG, n0tail is recognized in the Dota community for his talents and calm, collected personality. Following a legendary and fruitful Dota 2 career, the player has since announced an autobiography book titled “Character Beats Talent,” a book focusing on the dark side of the esports scene, self-belief, and anger as a driving force. Notably, fans are excited to read n0tail’s take on the public fallout between him and former best friend and teammate Fly in 2018. Ironically, this falling out was what led n0tail and an urgently formed OG roster to an unmatched Dota 2 record of becoming back-to-back The International champions.


    Finally, another name synonymous with his respective esports title is Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, who is regarded as one of the most legendary professional Counter-Strike players. Currently, the Ukrainian player is signed with a notable Ukrainian esports organization, Natus Vincere (NAVI), as part of its Counter-Strike 2 (CS2) roster. Kostyliev started playing Counter-Strike at four years old under the guidance of his older brother. When Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was released in 2012, he picked it up and immediately signed with his first professional organization a year later.

    During a brief hiatus and break from professional gameplay, s1mple pursued various esports and non-esports endeavors, including establishing popular delivery services such as Ninja Sushi and Pizza in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region. s1mple also revealed a passion project involving establishing his own academy aimed at nurturing young players called All Stars Promotion. The project is slated for an April release, but we’re yet to hear further details as s1mple has also announced a return to professional CS2 play.

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