Esports Earnings has released its annual list of top 50 esports prize earners, and 2020 looks significantly different than iterations from previous years. The highest earner? Professional Chess mastermind Magnus Carlsen.
The 30-year-old Norwegian took home $511,000 in prize money on Chess24 last year, higher than any other pro gamer from the likes of Dota 2, CS:GO or League of Legends. He was one of four Chess24 players to appear in the top 50 highest earners list, which can be seen in full below (data provided by EsportsEarnings.com):
Player Real name Total (Year) Game Country Age DrNykterstein Sven Magnus Carlsen $510,587 Chess24 Norway 30 Clayster James Eubanks $383,325 Call of Duty USA 28 Crimsix Ian Porter $368,200 Call of Duty USA 27 iLLeY Indervir Dhaliwal $358,625 Call of Duty Canada 19 Shotzzy Anthony Cuevas-Castro $351,625 Call of Duty USA 19 Huke Cuyler Garland $347,375 Call of Duty Saudi Arabia 21 Hikaru Hikaru Nakamura $324,645 Chess24 USA 33 PVDDR Paulo Damo da Rosa $300,000 Magic: The Gathering Arena Brazil 33 Cellium McArthur Jovel $256,550 Call of Duty USA 20 Simp Christopher Lehr $250,708 Call of Duty USA 19 Priestahh Preston Greiner $249,213 Call of Duty USA 22 GMWSO Wesley So $246,180 Chess24 USA 27 paraboy Zhu, Bojun $243,186 PUBG China 18 aBeZy Tyler Pharris $243,025 Call of Duty USA 21 MajorManiak Michael Szymaniak $228,833 Call of Duty USA 22 Canadian Troy Jaroslawski $220,000 Rainbow Six Siege Canada 24 Bosco Dylan Bosco $220,000 Rainbow Six Siege USA 25 Rampy Nathanial Duvall $220,000 Rainbow Six Siege USA 22 Thinkingnade Javier Escamila $220,000 Rainbow Six Siege USA 21 Fultz Alec Fultz $220,000 Rainbow Six Siege USA 20 glory Sato Kenta $211,750 Hearthstone Japan -- Rogue Lee, Byung Ryul $207,383 Starcraft II South Korea 26 Matumbaman Lasse Urpalainen $203,588 DOTA 2 Finland 25 Puppey Clement Ivanov $203,588 DOTA 2 Estonia 30 Zai Ludwig Wåhlberg $203,588 DOTA 2 Sweden 23 YapzOr Yazied Jaradat $203,588 DOTA 2 Jordan 26 Nisha Michał Jankowski $203,588 DOTA 2 Poland 20 TaySon Tai Starčič $192,900 Fortnite Slovenia 16 Scump Seth Abner $174,125 Call of Duty USA 25 Bubzkji Lucas Andersen $174,100 CS:GO Denmark 22 JannisZ Jannis Matwin $170,350 Fortnite Germany 15 Envoy Dylan Hannon $168,033 Call of Duty USA 20 coolboy Zeng, Ronghua $167,516 PUBG China 21
Chess hardly qualifies as an esports competition, but it has become quite popular on streaming platform Twitch over the past few years, and the global COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many chess competitions to pivot online alongside a majority of esports events.
Another reason why games like chess and Call of Duty were able to dominate the table was the amount of Tier S competitions in other esports getting canceled. Dota 2's The International — which has always been the highest prize pool event in esports with prize pools in the eight figures — never happened, and neither did any of the CS:GO million-dollar Majors. On TI merit alone, the top X of earners traditionally belonged to Dota 2, as TI champions would get $4M or more off one event alone. In 2020, however, not a single Dota 2 player is present.
Simultaneously, the establishment of Activision Blizzard's Call of Duty League has resulted in many CoD pros claiming top spots on the list.
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