eSports professionals sometimes still get a lot of hate just because of one thing: almost all they do is play games. But how could they say no to a career that pays you a lot of money to be good at a game that you love? Isn't that what pro athletes of other sports do, anyway? 

Esports pros dota 2
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The only difference is that eSports professionals don't do physical stuff. Still, they're the best at what they do (why else would they be called professionals) and get paid handsomely for their skills. However, how much money do these professional gamers make, really? 

eSports Salaries At A Glance provides a rough number to start with in terms of professional gamer salaries. If you're good enough to make an official team, you can expect to be paid around $1,000 to $5,000 a month. That's a minimum of $12,000 to a maximum of $60,0000 a year. The $60k value is already what a well-paid office-based employee makes in the US in a year, so if you're good at being a gamer, then it could very well be a full-time job. 

But of course, that's just a very rough estimate. Every single game that has an official eSports tournament pays its athletes differently. In other words, you can't expect a top-level "CS:GO" player to be paid as much as a top-level "League of Legends" pro, for instance. It's also the same with other eSports games such as "Overwatch," "Fortnite," and "DOTA 2." 

Esports tourney overwatch league
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As for the best-paid eSports pros, they can expect to earn as much as $35,000 a month, which is a massive $420k per year, according to AFKGaming. "DOTA 2" seems to be the eSports game that typically pays sky-high salaries to its best players, as several of the world's top-earning eSports athletes are "DOTA 2" pros. 

Read also: Jaden Ashman: The Youngest Esports Millionaire in History

eSports Prize Money Pools 

How much money a pro gamer earns also depends on the tournament's prize pool they play in. Again, different games pay their eSports athletes differently. 

If a game has a big enough eSports reputation, you can expect it to have a massive prize pool. Just take a look at "Fortnite." In the 2019 "Fortnite World Cup" alone, a total of $30 million was awarded to the winners of its different tournaments. One of these winners is Kyle "Bugha" Giersdorf, who won himself $3 million after beating out 99 other competitors. Not bad for playing video games, eh? 

Esports bugha fortnite
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However, the prize pool in "Fortnite" still falls behind that of "DOTA 2." According to DotESports, The game's annual The International tournament has broken eSports prize pool records for nine straight years, culminating in a $34.4 million max prize pool. This is why several of the world's highest-paid professional gamers are "DOTA 2" players, and almost no one else comes close. 

Alternative Income Sources

Say what you want about professional gamers and their choice of careers. But they're nothing if not resourceful. They know that they need alternative income streams if they want to make as much money as possible. This is where the likes of sponsorships and Twitch streaming comes in

 Twitch logo
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Should a professional gamer play their cards right, their eSports playing salary can be dwarfed by how much money they can make in other ways. Take streaming on Twitch, for example. Last year, the streamer Felix "xQc" Lengyel earned over $1.9 million from his streaming career alone, according to DotESports

As for sponsorships, this varies greatly. Any brand can see a professional gamer valuable and throw how much money they want at them. Some brands could be generous enough to offer multi-million-dollar deals or six figures every year for five years. It really depends on which company does the sponsoring at the end of the day. 

Related: ESports For EVERYONE: Logitech Joins Effort To Make an "Adaptive" ESports Tournament

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Written by RJ Pierce 

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