In the past twenty years, competitive gaming in many successful esports countries has developed from a niche activity to a full blown global phenomenon. What started as small competitions that nobody took seriously has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry, which is set to surpass $3 billion by 2022. Top games like League of Legends, Fortnite, Dota 2 and CS:GO have tens of millions of players and millions of viewers, while games like Valorant and Rainbow Six Siege are building up a loyal following.
Top players can earn a lot of money too, with thousands of professionals worldwide already making a living from gaming. Esports games have also attracted the attention of bettors, some of whom enjoy considerable winnings from esports betting.
The Best Esports Countries – Top 21
- United States
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
- The Philippines
How We Ranked the Top 21 Esports Countries
The subject of which countries are the best at esports is a bit complex. In a way, it makes sense that large countries, such as the US or China, have more top players than smaller countries like Luxemburg or Switzerland. Still, relatively small countries (in terms of population) like Sweden or Denmark are home to some of the highest-paid gamers in the world. In our list below, we have selected the countries with the highest overall earnings.
Largest Esports Countries
The largest esports countries are the US and China, with the Republic of Korea (South Korea) coming in third. Of course, China is the largest country in the world in terms of population and one of the most technologically advanced, so it only makes sense that the esports scene there is thriving. Meanwhile, the US is one of the biggest markets in the world for gaming, and is home to plenty of tournaments.
Are the Biggest Esports Countries Better?
Most top-earning players come from larger countries; the bigger the country, the bigger the esports scene, and the bigger the prize pools. Richer countries also mean more players and bigger prizes.
Although players from these countries often win more money than those from poorer, smaller nations, this does not mean that the former are better performers.
The top 21 Esports Country Earnings – Ranked
In this article, we will look at the top 21 esports countries in terms of total earnings over time. While not a perfect ranking system, it does still give us a good indication nevertheless. Below we have listed esports country earnings as of March 1, 2021. (Source: esportsearnings.com)
1. United States: Total Earnings $160,819,978.61
The USA is home to over 330 million people, and is still one of the richest countries in the world. Home to some of the top esports players and teams in the world, the States is also where many esports champions started. Back in the day, TSM (Team SoloMid) established a global phenomenon in Seasons 1 and 2 of League of Legends, causing the players to become almost as well-known as mainstream sports stars.
The US is also where many games are developed, including Call of Duty and Fortnite. Some of the top teams in the world, including CLG, Cloud9, Evil Geniuses, EchoFox, Dignitas, FaZe Clan are still around, and have even branched out into multiple esports.
US Esports Earnings
The US also holds many tournaments, and esportsearnings.com estimates that so far, American players have earned a whopping $160,819,978.61 in prize money.
The top earner in the US is Fortnite player Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf, who has won an estimated amount of $3,154,061.72. From looking at other top earners in the US, we could see that the highest-paying games include a mix of Fortnite, Dota 2, Call of Duty, and CS:GO.
2. China: Total Earnings $124,988,556.87
China is taking over the world economically, and has a giant esports scene. The country has a population of over a billion people, 250 million of whom play video games and watch esports. MOBAs like LoL and Dota 2 are very popular, with China even having its own mobile MOBA – King of Glory (otherwise known as Arena of Valor). Chinese teams like IG, Royal Never Give Up, EHOME, and Vici Gaming have been doing well against international competition too.
China Esports Earnings
China esports also have some of the top-earning players in the world, who have taken home a whopping $124,988,556.87 in prize money so far. The highest-earning player in China is Lu ‘Somnus丶M’ Yao, who has won a total of $2,992,486.34 playing Dota 2. In fact, almost all of the 40 top-earning players in China are Dota players, along with a few AoV players and LoL players.
3. Republic of Korea: Total Earnings $98,039,909.92
South Korea is one of the founding nations of esports. Not only is it one of the countries where players can earn the most, but it's also where many of the first esports competitions were held. Even today, LCK Korea is one of the main esports events held globally.
It even hosted the first LAN tournaments for StarCraft, a scene still dominated by Korean players. Besides StarCraft II, Korean players also excel at League of Legends, Dota 2, CSGO, Rocket League, Overwatch, Hearthstone and many other games. Korean players get more fame and recognition than players in other countries, and they are often considered to be minor celebrities in their home country.
Korea Esports Earnings
The top-earning games in Korea are League of Legends and (unsurprisingly) StarCraft II. The top LoL player in Korea is Lee ‘Faker’ Sang Hyeok, who has earned a total $1,257,615.87. Meanwhile, the top StarCraft player is Cho ‘Maru’ Sung Choo, who has earned a total of $889,095.83.
4. Sweden: Total Earnings $39,558,807.37
Sweden may be a small country compared to the US and China, but it has done remarkably well within the global esports scene. The country has has some of the top players in CS:GO, with the likes of f0rest, KRiMZ, and Olofmeister. Along with this, the Swedish Dota 2 scene boasts proud representatives in players like ZAi and S4.
The country is also home to the DreamHack tournaments.
Sweden Esports Earnings
While many of the CS:GO players we just mentioned fall within the top 10, the top-earning player in Sweden is Dota 2 Gustav ‘s4’ Magnusson, who has won a whopping $2,553,183.91 so far. Swedish players have won nearly $US 40 million, and the prizes just keep racking up.
5. Denmark: Total Earnings $38,684,327.57
Denmark is a small country in size, but a giant in terms of esports. Danish players do very well on the global esports scene, with teams like Astralis excelling in CS:GO. Moreoever, older LoL players will undoubtedly remember the success of Copenhagen Wolves.
Denmark Esports Earnings
In terms of winnings, the top-earning games are Dota 2 and CS:GO, while the top-earning player is Johan ‘N0tail’ Sundstein, who has earned a ridiculous $6,969,737.80 in prizes so far. Overall, the Danes are close behind their traditional rivals the Swedes, with just $1 million less recorded.
6. France: Total Earnings $32,078,605.76
France is home to some of the top esports teams in the world, and that includes teams like LDLC, Vitality, Against All Authority, and Millenium. Most of these teams have representatives in various esports, from CS:GO and Call of Duty to FIFA and Hearthstone .
France Esports Earnings
Dota 2 and CS:GO are the top-earning games in France, in terms of winnings. While Dota 2 takes the top spot in earnings, thanks to Sébastien ‘Ceb’ Debs ($5,559,712.41 in total earnings), almost all the other top 10 spots go to CS:GO players, such as apex, NBK, kennyS, shox, and RpK.
7. Russian Federation: Total Earnings $29,829,544.08
Russia is by far the largest country in the world in terms of geography, and has a population of 144 million. That means plenty of young and hungry video game players looking for success. In fact, Vladimir Putin himself supports esports in schools.
Russia Esports Earnings
Just like in most European countries, the top earning games in Russia are Dota 2 and CS:GO. The top-earning player is Roman ‘RAMZES666’ Kushnarev, who has earned $1,787,796.92 playing Dota. Russian players have racked up almost $30 million in prizes so far.
8. Canada: Total Earnings $29,099,817.97
The Great White North also has a vibrant sports scene. Many Canadian players also compete in the US, and there is a good overlap and healthy rivalry between the two nations.
Canada Esports Earnings
In Canada, the top-earning team is CS:GO’s Luminosity Gaming, who have won a whopping $1,347,382 in prizes. The highest-earning player is Artour ‘Arteezy’ Babaev, who has won a total of $2,257,053.21. As for the top-earning games in Canada, these would be CS:GO and Dota 2, though games like PUBG, Call of Duty and StarCraft II also take their place in the top 10.
9. Germany: Total Earnings $28,486,965.46
Germany is slowly taking over the esports world. With an increasing number of esports competitions in the country, Germany is one of the first countries to offer a visa for esports players. The country is home to some of the best teams in Europe, including SK Gaming, Alternate aTTaX, and Mousesports.
Germany Esports Earnings
The top 10 earners in Germany come from a wide mix of esports titles, including Dota 2, FIFA, Hearthstone, StarCraft II, CS:GO, and even SMITE. However, the top-earning game is still Dota 2, with Kuro ‘KuroKy’ Takhasomi listed as a top earner at $5,198,604.15.
10. Finland: Total Earnings $26,008,406.98
Finland is a small nation, but still one of the top esports countries in the world – in fact, many top Dota and CS:GO players are Finnish. What's more, Finnish esports players are even recognised as athletes by the government and the Finnish Olympic Committee. Meanwhile, Finland is also home to some of the top esports events, such as Assembly and eFutisliiga.
Finland Esports Earnings
The top esports earner in Finland is Jesse ‘JerAx’ Vainikka, who has won a whopping $6,470,548.78 in Dota 2. Joona ‘Serral’ Sotala is the country’s top StarCraft II player, and the first non-Korean player to win the StarCraft II World Championship Series (WCS). So far, he has won $905,036.55 throughout his career. Other top earning games for Finnish athletes include CS:GO, Rainbow Six Siege and PUBG.
11. United Kingdom: Total Earnings $22,562,917.43
The UK is also high on the list of esports countries. Besides being home to some of the top FIFA, Fortnite and CoD players, the country even has its own Esports Association. Top earners include Jaden ‘Wolfiez ‘Ashman, who has won $1,331,478.07 in Fortnite, and Donovan ‘TekKz’ Hunt, who has won $446,635.86 from playing FIFA 19.
12. Brazil: Total Earnings $21,698,495.60
Brazilian esports have seen a huge boost in earnings in the past years, and there is even a dedicated esports league BBL (Bad Boy Leeroy) that now has its own stadium in São Paulo. Almost all the top 20 players in Brazil play CS:GO, while the top earner in the country is Gabriel ‘FalleN’ Toledo, who has earned $1,079,342.41 so far.
13. Australia: total earnings $17,648,456.66
The Australian esports scene is home to some of the best CS:GO, Call of Duty, Fortnite and Dota 2 players. Meanwhile, ESL has its own broadcasting studio in Sydney. The country’s Anathan ‘ana’ Pham is one of the richest Dota 2 players in the world, earning $6,000,411.96 to date. For more, check out our detailed article about Australia esports betting.
14. Ukraine: Total Earnings $16,354,604.28
Ukraine was previously home to plenty of World of Tanks pros, but the overall esports scene has become more mainstream with games like Dota 2 and CS:GO achieving popularity, played by the country’s top ten earners. Esports have official recognition in Ukraine, and there are plenty of smaller CS:GO tournaments too. The top Ukrainian earner is Dota 2 player Vladimir ‘Noone’ Minenko, who has won $1,617,323.45.
15. Poland: Total Earnings $14,826,742.68
Anyone who has heard of IEM Katowice knows were Poland falls on the esports map. The country is home to the world’s biggest tournament for CS:GO, Starcraft 2, and Warcraft 3. Poland’s top 10 earners play CS:GO, Dota 2, LoL, StarCraft 2, and even Magic: The Gathering Arena, while the highest Polish earner is Michał ‘Nisha’ Jankowski, who has won $933,853.71 through playing Dota 2.
16. Japan: Total Earnings $10,194,288.19
Japan is the country that has contributed the most to the development of video games – console gaming and arcade gaming in particular. Thus, it is surprising the country did not make it to any of the top 10 positions in our list.
Top earning esports pros in the Land of the Rising Sun play a very different set of games compared to many other countries, such as Street Fighter, Shadowverse, Hearthstone, and even Tekken. Japan’s top earner overall is ‘feg’, who has won a whopping $1,003,000.00 in card game Shadowverse.
17. The Netherlands: Total Earnings $10,002,456.11
The Netherlands may be small, but they still have a large presence on the global esports scene; they even have their own FIFA league in eDivisie and a Dutch League for LoL. Dutch players are also some of the world’s top earners, and play a wide range of MOBAs, shooters and even card games. The highest Dutch esports earner is Fortnite player Dave ‘Rojo’ Jong, who has won $1,213,576.66 to date.
18. The Philippines: Total Earnings $8,870,003.25
South East Asia is a hotbed for esports, with titles such as Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Arena Of Valor, Dota 2, Tekken 7, StarCraft II, and Hearthstone even featuring in the SEA Games (a regular competition for South East Asian countries). Despite the popularity of the above-mentioned games, though, Dota 2 is still the top-earning game in Filipino esports, with player Djardel ‘DJ’ Jicko Mampusti having won $799,497.31 in prize money so far.
19. Thailand: Total Earnings $7,811,371.81
Bangkok features hundreds of gaming cafès, and the country has a whopping 18.3 million gamers. It should come as no surprise, then, that many of the top-earning gamers come from the so-called Land of Smiles. Thailand is also a regular medal winner in the SEA Games (in esports as well as others), while the top Thai esports earner is Anucha ‘Jabz’ Jirawong, who has won $508,948.74 from Dota 2. Most other top earners in Thailand are Arena of Valor players, as the game is ultra-popular in the country.
20. Turkey: Total Earnings $3,944,739.57
Turkey is another country with a booming esports and gaming scene. CS:GO is still the most popular game with Turkish players, though there are plenty of Fortnite, Hearthstone and LoL fans too. Turkey’s top earner is Can ‘XANTARES’ Dörtkardes, who has won $329,762.48 playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
21. India: Total Earnings $960,003.98
India is a huge country with an exploding gaming and esports scene. As more and more Indians gain access to internet, mobile and PC gaming, esports competitions are increasing their total prize money. India’s esport scene is actually fairly different compared to other countries, with top earners playing games like PUBG and even chess. In fact, the top Indian esports earner, Pentala ‘GMharikrishna’ Harikrishna has won $29,250.00 from playing online chess on platforms like Lichess and chess24.
There are many other countries where esports are gaining traction, such as Spain, for example. We hope to see more joining our top esports countries list soon!
Esports Countries FAQ
Which country is best at esports?
In terms of overall earnings, the US is home to the top esports gamers in the sector. So far, US players have accumulated over $160 million in prize money.
Which country has the best gamers?
In terms of earnings, China, the US and Korea have the biggest earnings in terms of prize money.
Who is the #1 gamer in the world?
‘N0tail’ Johan Sundstein from Denmark is the world’s top earning pro gamer, having won $6,969,737.80 by playing Dota 2.
Which country is best at LoL?
The top 5 earning countries for League of Legends are:
- Korea with $27,770,156.64 in prize money
- China with $14,498,157.50 in prize money
- Taiwan with $4,764,848.81 in prize money
- United States with $3,957,706.31 in prize money
- Denmark with $3,194,112.63 in prize money
Which country is best at CS:GO?
The top 5 earning countries for CS:GO are:
- Denmark with $16,325,885.69 in prize money
- United States with $11,880,057.54 in prize money
- Sweden with $10,728,890.64 in prize money
- Brazil with $8,710,155.97 in prize money
- France with $7,542,444.16 in prize money
Which country is best at Dota 2?
The top 5 earning countries for Dota 2 are:
- China with $65,301,818.13 in prize money
- Finland with $15,887,274.07 in prize money
- United States with $13,537,512.09 in prize money
- Denmark with $11,842,579.29 in prize money
- Russian Federation with $11,443,721.26 in prize money