Mothers all over the world were made to swallow their words in August 2015 when a Pakistani teenager became the youngest professional gamer to earn $1 million at the age of 16.
Gone are the days when moms could say “nobody is ever going to pay you to play video games”. Today, we have many young men and women, including teens making millions from video games, and the professional esports scene will produce more of them in the coming years. But today, let’s look at those who have made the most money from gaming – a hobby for millions, but a way to make a luxurious living for some.
Lasse Urpalainen (Matumbaman)
Lasse Urpalainen, better known by his handle “Matumbaman”, is a Finnish professional DotA 2 player who plays with Team Liquid. He first made a name for himself at the age of 19, by winning the Assembly Summer 2014 LAN tournament with Team Veni, Vidi, Vici. Since then, he participated in several high-profile tournaments and has switched teams several times before joining the Dutch Team Liquid in 2015. The team has total earnings of more than $25 million to date. Matumbaman made a bit over $3.4 million during his career.
Ivan Ivanov (MinD_ContRoL)
Ivan “MinD_ContRoL” Ivanov is another professional DotA 2 player, also with Team Liquid. He started his eSports career at the age of 19, in 2014 with Vast Cast, a team that was later signed with Aftershock Gaming for a short time, returning to playing independently for a while.
After switching teams several times, MinD_ContRoL joined Team Liquid in 2015. During his time behind the screen, his revenues reached $3.49 million.
Amer Al-Barkawi (Miracle-)
Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi is a Polish-Jordanian player who first made a name for himself by surpassing w33 in the DotA 2 matchmaking rating leaderboards in 2015. Before joining Team Liquid, he played with (monkey) Business, a team later rebranded to OG. From there on, his career – and his earning – were rising, with his total revenues exceeding $3.7 million.
Johan Sundstein (N0tail)
N0tail started his career as a competitive Heroes of Newerth player, making a name for himself as being one of the youngest in the world, before switching to DotA 2. Before switching teams several times, N0tail ended up playing with OG in 2015, proceeding to win many major international tournaments ever since. His team, OG, collected a total of more than $17.6 million in winnings. N0tail has a total of $3.74 million to date.
Kuro Takhasomi (KuroKy)
The highest-paid competitive gamer today is Team Liquid’s Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi. The 26-year-old German player made his professional debut at The International 2011 – unfortunately, his teams didn’t qualify to any of the groups so he was eliminated. During the years, he played for several teams before joining Team Liquid in 2015.
KuroKy is one of the three players to compete in every The International editions (so far), he is the player with the highest tournament ratings for eSports, and he was the first one to reach 1,000 wins during his professional career. Also, he is the highest-paid eSports player to date, with career winnings of more than $4.1 million today.