Professional Gamers Salary: How Much Do Pro Gamers Earn?

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If you’re a gamer and aim to earn money through your gaming skills, you’ll have to ascend yourself to a professional level that can make you earn money, not only points. Like all other jobs, professional gaming requires commitment and hard work as well. Before you make up your mind to become a professional gamer, you must do your research on how much you can earn through it.

On average, the salary of professional gamers ranges from $3000 to $6000 per month or $36000 to $72000 per year. However, such figures may vary with the experience and professional levels of the gamers. There are several popular professional gamers in the United States that earn millions as cash prizes through different worldwide competitions and other sources.

Want to know more? Let’s dig deeper to find out how much professional gamers make from their gaming profession and what is the future of this as a career. Here we go!

Can You Really Make Money Being a Pro Gamer?

Well, you definitely can if you plan and know how to make money from gaming. It’s not like just playing will bring you money and salary. You will need to make money from other sources highlighting your gaming skills. To earn money and salary through gaming requires outreach.

For that, you will need to deliver a huge amount of your time to gaming. You cannot earn more if you don’t compete more. Hence, participating and qualifying in international gaming competitions will enhance your popularity.

With the enhancement of popularity, you will both start getting a salary and will gradually get acquainted with other sources of making money through gaming. We will discuss all the sources below. Just keep on reading.

How Much Does an Average Gamer Make Per Year?

As we stated before the income of a professional gamer depends on their popularity, level of skill, and several other factors. Not like the best gamer winning several international gaming competitions will always be the highest earner. Because the popularity of the gamer worldwide and within general mass and sponsors plays a huge role in making a good amount of money.

Generally, a professional gamer makes about $36000 to $72000 per year. The main source of income of a professional gamer is the competitions and the prize pools. Apart from that, professional gamers get about $700 to $1000 per month from the eSports company they represent.

how much do pro gamers make

List of Highest Earning Professional Gamers

To help you get a better idea about how much a professional gamer can earn once they reach the top level of gaming, we’re listing out the top 20 highest earning professional gamers worldwide along with the amount earned by them till now through gaming. Have a look!

Rank  Code NameReal NameEarnings
1N0tailJohan Sundstein7.1 million USD
2JerAxJesse Vainikka6.4 million USD
3anaAnathan Pham6.0 million USD
4CebSebastian Debs5.7 million USD
5TopsonTopias Taavitsainen5.6 million USD
6KuroKyKuro Takhasomi5.2 million USD
7Miracle-Amer Al-Barkawi4.8 million USD
8MinD_ContRolIvan Ivanov4.6 million USD
9MatumbamanLasse Urpalainen4.5 million USD
10GHMaroun Merhej4.2 million USD
11MiposhkaYaroslav Naydenov3.9 million USD
12SumaiLSunail Hassan3.8 million USD
13TORONTOTOKYOAlexander Khertek3.7 million USD
14CoLLapseMagomed Halilov3.7 million USD
15YatoroIllya Mulyarchuk3.7 million USD
16MiraMiroslaw Kolpakov3.6 million USD
17PuppeyClement Ivanov3.6 million USD
18AmeWang, Chunyu3.4 million USD
19ZaiLudwig Wahlberg3.2 million USD
20y ‘Zhang Yiping3.2 million USD

How Do Professional Gamers Make Money?

From the very first of this article, we’ve been telling you, there are several sources apart from the competitions through which a professional gamer makes money. Now, we will describe those sources in detail to you. These are the most crucial knowledge you will need if you aim to earn money as a professional gamer. So, make sure you have a proper idea about how to utilize these sources.

Prize money

As said before, prize money is the main source of earning of a professional gamer. Several competitions around the world take place every year at different levels. As the levels of competition increase, the prize pool keeps on increasing from hundreds to thousands to even millions.

Games with prize pools over millions include The International, Fortnite World Cup, and LoL World Championship. However, these prize pools get divided within the topmost players or teams of which the winner gets the highest amount.


Now, streaming is a really interesting way for gamers to make money and is pretty popular nowadays among the young generation of gaming lovers. Streaming is the main platform through which gamers get outreach.

Gamers stream their gameplay online on a platform with a large subscription. And via streaming and gaining large quantities of viewers, a gamer earns huge amounts of money along with additional popularity. Below mentioned are two of the most popular platforms for streaming eSports.


Twitch is the most popular streaming platform for live streaming games of different mediocre to top-level gamers. The mediocre gamers earn popularity with more viewers in Twitch. Gamers earn money from Twitch by becoming the partner of Twitch that allows the gamer’s channel to charge the subscribers a fee for accessing content.


YouTube is worldwide the most popular and widespread platform for sharing videos and gaining viewers and popularity. Gamers have a great opportunity to utilize YouTube as a source of their earning by not only live streaming their game but also, uploading VOD content.

Through YouTube, gamers reach a larger number of people who cannot access the live streaming and can’t provide enough time to watch streaming for hours by shortening the streaming video to 20 to 30 minutes.


As said before, professional gamers who play regularly and represent an eSports company, receive about 700 US Dollars to 1000 US Dollars every month as a salary. Rather than that, gamers who play in big professional teams get employed by senior gamers for their skills. And they get an amount of about 1000 US Dollars to 5000 US Dollars per month on the basis of their skill level.


The money gamers receive from their sponsors, streaming platforms, company, and team, don’t always remain the same. It keeps on varying according to their performances in the game.

When the gamers are at their peak performance, they receive several bonuses from their earning sources as they get more reach and attract more viewers and sponsors. The bonuses received by the gamers from their earning sources for a good game might be hundreds to thousands based on the performance.

Media rights

Well, media rights might not pay the gamers directly, but it is one of the roots of income of the entire eSports company. When we said the eSport companies which the gamers represent pay them, did it cross your mind where they get all that money from?

This is where it comes from. The media rights provide about one-fifth of the revenues collected by the eSports companies. And then, the company passes some portion of the amount to gamers and the teams as salary and bonuses.

Merchandising and tickets

Merchandising and collecting tickets from viewers is the broadest source of earning funds for the entire eSports community. Big budget gaming competitions worldwide earn a huge amount of money from these merchandising and tickets.


Personalities of the gamer play a great role in gaining reach and popularity. Especially, while streaming, viewers don’t only see how good the gamer is playing. Rather, they also get attracted to gamers with good personalities and humor while playing the game. Small details in the customization of the streaming platforms of the gamers also speak a lot about their personality.


Sponsorships are the most profitable and fastest source of earning for a gamer. Though to receive sponsorship deals, a gamer has to be very popular among the general mass. Sponsors pay the gamers to promote their product on the streaming and social platforms of the gamers.

Extremely popular gamers with a huge number of fan followings reach a huge number of people who follow them and get attracted to the product or brand that their favorite gamer promotes. There are two types of sponsorships that a professional gamer can receive. They are as follows:

Individual Sponsorships

In this type of sponsorship, the sponsors will pay the gamers to use or wear their products while playing and make them clearly visible in the live streams of their game. Moreover, they might pay the gamers to promote their brand verbally as well.

Technology Sponsorships

In such sponsorships, the sponsors don’t really pay the gamers any money but they figure out their necessities as a gamer that they highlight in their live streamers and then provide them those products of their brand in concession or in great deals.

gamers playing and talking

A Glance of the Esports Gamers Salaries and Prize Money Pool

We know, you prefer more specific figures when it comes to information about the salaries and prize money pools. And so, we would definitely try our best to specify these figures as much as possible for you.

However, as you know, the salaries provided to each player by their team or eSports company are very subjective and vary from person to person, team to team, company to company, and most importantly, game to game.

So, it is tough to specify the figure. Though we would share a rough estimation based on the salaries provided to most of the top pro gamers from their professional team or eSports company.

If you get into a professional team, you should be able to earn 1000 US Dollars to 5000 US Dollars per month. The exact amount paid as the salary keeps on fluctuating depending on the performance of the gamer.

Like the salary paid to a pro gamer, the prize money pool is also hard to specify as it is different for different games and competitions and the figure keeps on changing every year depending on the budget for the competitions.

To make it clearer, below we are listing the prize money pool of the most popular Esports tournaments!

Tournament  GamePrize Money Pool
The International 2019Dota 234 million US Dollars
The International 2018Dota 225 million US Dollars
The International 2017Dota 224 million US Dollars
The International 2016Dota 220 million US Dollars
The International 2015Dota 218 million US Dollars
Fortnite World Cup Finals 2019 – SoloFortnite15 million US Dollars
Fortnite World Cup Finals 2019 – DuoFortnite15 million US Dollars
The International 2014Dota 210 million US Dollars
LoL 2018 World ChampionshipLoL6 million US Dollars
LoL 2016 World ChampionshipLoL5 million US Dollars

Factors that Influence the Income of Pro Gamers

The amount of money a pro gamer can make through gaming depends on a few factors. These factors are different for different gamers. And so, the income of each gamer also differs from the other. Below we describe a few of such factors that matters in influencing the income of pro gamers.

The Game

Not all games or tournaments pays the same amount as a prize to the winner. Some big-budget games pay a lot of money to the winners of their tournament while many other small-budget games pay a smaller figure to their winners. One of the highest paying eSports is DOTA 2 which is one of the most lucrative and stable games, perfect for ambitious gamers.

The Skill Level

This is not something you need to know separately. It is common sense that if you want to become a pro gamer who gets paid, your skills would be the key factor to determine how much you would get as your salaries or other payments and bonuses. More skilled the gamer, better the salary scale and chances of earning.

Major Tournaments Won

Tournaments are the best opportunity for gamers to earn a huge sum of money at once. The major tournaments of particular games are played by pro gamers who reach up to that level after playing in several branch tournament levels. A team can earn up to a million dollars in one tournament and then divide it among themselves.


The popularity of the player is a huge factor that influences the income of a pro gamer indirectly but massively. Many times, several pro gamers with greater skills and more major tournaments won have comparatively lesser income than several other pro gamers.

This is due to the lack of popularity compared to the other one as popularity leads to more followers, subscribers on streaming platforms, and more sponsors.

List of Highest Paying eSports Games

Since we have already mentioned that the game you are playing makes a huge difference in your earning figure, you definitely would like to know which games pay the most to their pro gamers.

Because it is more like an investment. If you invest in the right place, you will get better returns. So, for your convenience, here is the list of the top 10 highest-paying eSport games.

1.      Dota 2

2.      Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

3.      Fortnite

4.      League of Legends

5.      StarCraft II

6.      PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

7.      Overwatch

8.      Arena of Valor

9.      Hearthstone

10.  Heroes of the Storm

how to become a professional gamer

How to Become a High Earning Professional Gamer?

We are assuming you plan to become a professional gamer with a good earning scale. For that, you need to adhere to a few steps and tricks. Here they are, have a look.

  • Choose to specialize in one game: You can’t waste your time being an allrounder and playing around with different types of games as a professional gamer. If you want prosperity as a pro gamer, stick to one game that you’re the best at and work only on it.
  • Dedicate a huge amount of time to gaming: Success is directly proportional to priority and time distribution. Like any other job, in the case of eSports gaming as well, to become a high-earning pro you have to spend the maximum time of the day behind gaming.
  • Study your game: If you want growth as a professional gamer, you need to study your game beyond just gaming. You need to watch and figure out how pro gamers who are better than you working on the game, what strategies are they using. Moreover, research and brainstorm well to build your own strategies.
  • Become active in the community: Every popular eSport games have several online communities in Facebook groups, subreddits, and forums. Try being one of the most active members in the community to remain updated about the upcoming tournaments, changes in the game, and for recruiting or getting recruited by a team.
  • Compete more and more: The most important step to becoming a pro gamer is competing in more and more tournaments. The more tournaments you compete in, the more you learn and get experience. So, it’s better to try participating in every tournament that crosses your way.
  • Don’t be afraid to lose: Losing is a crucial part of growing. Hence, never be disappointed or discouraged when you lose a match. Rather, learn from the loss and utilize that knowledge in your future matches.
  • Play fair and emphasize character: Remember that the type of person you are, plays a great role for viewers to support you and teams and eSports companies to approach. If you don’t have a decent character or the tendency to play fair, you won’t be able to go far.
  • Get sponsors: You might feel that getting sponsors are irrelevant and unnecessary for a gamer. But think deeper. Most high-earning pro gamers have sponsors. The advantage of getting sponsors is not only the money or concession but also reaching regular customers of the sponsor’s products.

How Many Hours Do Professional Gamers Work?

Being an eSports gamer is not similar to having a nine-to-five job. There is no fixed time frame. If you want to get into a level where you earn a lot of money through your gaming skills you will have to spare a large chunk of time of your everyday life to gaming. Gaming should be your only passion and dedication in life.

Generally, top professional gamers spend about 12 to 18 hours of their daily life behind the eSports they play. Unlike other professional jobholders, pro gamers do not have any weekends. They have to spend their weekends’ gaming and competing in several competitions as well.

List of Highest Paying Cities for Professional Gamers

Now, if you want to figure out more specifically the chances to receive a higher income from where you’re staying, here is the list of the 10 highest paying cities for professional gamers.

1.      San Mateo, CA (65,146 USD/year)

2.      Berkeley, CA (63,013 USD/year)

3.      Daly City, CA (62,837 USD/year)

4.      Richmond, CA (61,037 USD/year)

5.      Stamford, CT (59,434 USD/year)

6.      Bellevue, WA (59,279 USD/year)

7.      Brooklyn, NY (58,428 USD/year)

8.      San Francisco, CA (58,345 USD/year)

9.      Knik-Fairview, AK (58,254 USD/year)

10.  New Haven, CT (57,912 USD/year)

beautiful professional girl gamer playing

Best Paying Professional Video Game Player Jobs

If you want to go for a job more professional that does not directly involve gaming or competitions. In short, jobs for which you have to be good at the games but you won’t be a gamer, the following are the best options with a great range of salary.

  • Game Engineer: A game engineer is a job every pro gamer desires. It includes designing and planning a game. It might sound like an easy job, but it actually requires skill and caliber. Not every game can become a popular highly earning game. It requires knowledge and experience.
  • Software Game Developer: A game developer does not require the study of computers and software, just a general knowledge of the corporate business is enough. They are the ones who are in charge of handling and distributing the responsibilities of different disciplines of game development such as programming, designing, testing, and so on.
  • Remote Game Developer: A remote game developer is the one who controls the algorithms and codes of a video game. If you have knowledge of coding, this can be a good earning profession for you.
  • Video Game Software Engineer: Video game software engineering is a very expensive job and requires degrees in the software engineering field. If you’re a software engineer and planning to take a job in the eSports industry, this would be the best option for you.
  • Mobile Game Developer: Mobile game developers design and create games for the smartphone app marketplace. It requires knowledge about operating smartphones and conducting design reviews, and game design processes.

Other Careers in Esports that Do Not Involve Playing

Here is a list of career options that are directly involved with the eSports games but do not involve playing. In case you ever want to switch to a more stable career option in this field or a job after your retirement as a gamer, these should be perfect.

  • Social media manager: Social media management is being one of the most highly demanding jobs of most industries in the recent era including eSports. Every big and popular industry requires to be very active in social media 24/7. This requires additional human resources who can deliver a huge chunk of time to it.
  • Event manager: Events are one of the most important parts of the eSports business. Events include several big and small tournaments. Managing an event requires skill and knowledge of management and is a very tough job to be done perfectly.
  • Sales and marketing specialist: Marketing is a very demanding sector of a business. It plays the main role in the growth and popularity of the game. And hence, sales and marketing specialists are important contributors to the gaming business.
  • Media and writers: These are one of the least tough jobs in the gaming business and do not include direct involvement in the business. And thus, is comparatively paid less. It includes complete coverage of a tournament in articles or blogs.
  • Agent: The job of an eSport agent includes taking the responsibility of popular and skilled gamers or gaming teams with potential and helping them understand contracts and networking.
  • Sponsor: If you plan to build a business of your own with products aiding gamers in their gaming after you retire as a gamer, this would be a perfect way for you to be a part of the gaming business.
  • Host and caster: As you should already know, like every other sport with hosts, casters, and commentators, eSports also require such positions to keep the interest and excitement of the viewers and the competition alive. A host or caster should have good knowledge of the game. If you’re good at hosting or commentating, you can try it.
  • Coach: Professional eSports teams require a coach. A coach like other sports must have good knowledge and experience of the particular game and must dedicate their effort to improving the team they serve. It is a perfect job for eSport retirees.
  • Referee: Not all games have a position of referee. But in some popular and high-earning games, referees are required to take fair decisions and judgments during the gaming process. If you have expertise in such an eSport game, it can be an ideal option for you.
gaming chair sitting posture

Frequently Asked Questions on Pro Gamer Salary

  • Can eSports gamers disclose their salaries?

There is no such binding in eSports that enforces a gamer to not disclose his or her salary. However, whether a gamer would like to share their salaries or not is completely their personal choice.

  • How can you join professional gaming?

The main requirement to join professional gaming is an enhanced skill level. Once you get into that level of a pro gamer, an agent will reach out to you for joining their company. Other than that, your communication skills with other gamers might help you get into a professional gaming team as well.

  • Is professional gaming easy?

Nothing comes in this world free or without hard work. If you want to earn well through gaming, you need to work hard and participate in tons of tournaments without giving up no matter how fed up you are.

  • How old do you have to be to become a professional gamer?

Children are indeed naturally good at gaming, but professional gaming requires maturity and self-control that kids so not bear. Thus, such a level of gaming might cause adverse mental health and social issues in children. That is why some games limit the age for participants of big tournaments 18.

  • Is professional gaming a long-term career?

eSport gaming unfortunately isn’t much of a long-term career. It ends with a particular age such as 30 to 35. But the good news is after you retire from gaming, there are several other career opportunities in this field that we already discussed.

  • How Glamorous is the Life of a Top Professional Gamer?

Well, this depends on the dedication and a bit of luck. But the pro gamers who can reach the top gaming levels where they earn millions from different sources can lead an extremely luxurious and comfortable life through their income.

  • What Are the Disadvantages of Becoming a Professional Gamer?

Professional gaming is a limited earning source. It is not stable and reliable. Moreover, professional gaming affects the physical, mental, and social condition of a gamer negatively and massively.

Final Words

We hope you received a complete idea about how much do professional gamers make and how they earn it. Now, it’s your time to make your decision and utilize your valuable time and skill wisely. Good luck!

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