Do you know Jaedong? Jae Dong Lee, the 24 year old sometimes credited with changing the way StarCraft players go Zerg forever. Jaedong is the richest man in eSports - having sourced $519,086.72 in total from prize pools since the beginning of his career in 2006.
72.38% of that figure was taken in StarCraft: Brood War.
Jaedong’s closest rival is Dota 2’s Dendi, according to esportsearnings.com, with $455,615.84 to his name. He’s followed by FPS specialist Fatal1ty - who has made the lion’s share of his money in Painkiller, believe it or not.
The numbers notably don’t include the money pros make through sponsorship or standing around at hardware booths during gaming conventions.
Earnings as high as these are exclusive to the cramped upper echelon of high-performing players, however. Shortly below the top 50, total earnings drops to under $200k.
The concentration of cash in eSports around a few, extravagantly prize-pooled tournaments will only grow this year with the Dota 2 International 2014. Sales of Valve’s accompanying Compendium saw its crowdfunded prize fund top $5 million yesterday - $2 million of which had been gathered since the weekend.
Does eSports need great big pots of gold at the end of its rainbows to drive professional play, do you think? Or could the distributors of the cash stand to spread it a little more evenly between the pros?