Throughout the years, playing video games has transformed from an activity mostly practiced out of pure fun into a potentially money-making business, which, in some cases, even represents the main source of income, reaching figures of over $10 million per year!
And this is not so surprising, given the fact that the overall gaming industry (comprising various video games, then a variety of online casino games, such as Wolf Run free slots, as well as table and card games, and last, but not the least – eSports games) is estimated to reach an astonishing annual income figure of $159.3 Billion in 2020! Even the economic crisis couldn’t slow down the gaming industry, while the vast majority of games, as well as the vast majority of events, are being held online!
So, you must have asked yourself by now how much money are we talking about and from which exact sources does that money come from? Well, for the purpose of answering such questions, we will look at some of the highest achieved annual incomes in 2019, as well as take a brief overview of player’s profiles. Since making money out of gaming is deeply intertwined with things such as social networks, YouTube and other streaming platforms, as well as influencing, the list will display the overall income amount, not just money won from competitions.
When it comes to video games, you will notice that the list contains some pretty worldwide known faces:
Evan Fong, VanossGaming
Daniel Middleton, DanTDM
Michael Grzesiek, Shroud
Mark Fischbach, Markiplier
Preston Arsement, Preston
Felix Kjellberg, PewDiePie
Tyler Blevins, Ninja.
Evan Fong is the first in line, which proves that one doesn’t have to be a pro gamer to make money out of the gaming industry. He is primarily considered as an Internet personality, a.k.a. YouTube vlogger. His vlogs are mostly based on him and his guests, predominantly game creators, playing a certain title. A comical part of his playthroughs brought him over 10 million subscribers back in 2015. After that, Evan began collaborating with some big names, such as PAX East and Jetpak. He even got his personalized character in GTA V! Besides the YouTube channel, Fong is also active in creating games (Dead Realm), animated series (Paranormal Action Squad), as well as in making music under the pseudonym “Rynx.”
VanossGaming took 7th place on the Forbes list of top-earning gamers in 2019, reaching a figure of $11.5 million!
Formerly known as TheDiamondMinecart, Danny started his early years as a Minecraft and Rocket League player, for which he holds a Guinness World Record for “most goals scored for a team of two.” He quickly shifted to YouTube, starting a Counter-Strike based channel back in 2009.
However, his true success came in 2012 with TheDiamondMinecart (TDM) channel, renamed back in 2016 into DanTDM. The popularity of this channel brought Daniel the Guinness World Record for “Most views for a dedicated Minecraft video channel.” He also holds two Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards, UK Favourite Tipster back in 2015 and 2016, as well as UK Favourite Gamer for the current year, 2020!
Such popularity brought DanTDM 6th place on the Forbes list, with a 2019 annual income of $12 million!
Formerly known under the alias mEclipse, Michael is a former professional player of FPS and battle royale games, such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, PUBG, Valorant, Apex Legends, etc., in which he was often described as one of the best possible aimers on the planet. Parallel with professional gaming, Shroud keeps his Twitch and YouTube channels also professional, with over 8.2 followers and over 6 million subscribers, respectively! And his success was crowned with the “Content Creator of the Year 2019” by Game Awards!
Michael Grzesiek is a holder of the 5th place on the Forbes list of 2019 top-earning gamers, reaching an annual income of $12.5 million!
Mark Edward Fischbach is one of the most popular YouTubers in the world of online gaming. He started his career by posting playthroughs of various horror-themed games, such as his first-ever video for Amnesia: The Dark Descent, then Nights at Freddy’s, Garry’s Mod, then games such as the Surgeon Simulator or Happy Wheels.
He surpassed the number of 10 million followers back in 2016, continuing to expand his channel, which eventually led to the “Heist with Markiplier,” a choose-an-adventure type of movie. All of this brought him to 4th place on the Forbes list containing top-earning video gamers, with an annual 2019 revenue of $14 million!
Also known by the names of PrestonPlayz or PrestonGamez is a holder of a gaming-oriented YouTube channel, predominantly focusing on games such as Fortnite, Minecraft, and Roblox but with a bit of a prankish touch. He also holds a Minecraft server named CosmicPvP, which was opened back in 2014, and offers a wide range of gaming modes, among them KitPvP and HCF. The channel currently has over 14 million subscribers.
Preston Blaine Arsement currently holds 3rd place on the 2019 Forbes list of video gamers with the biggest annual revenue, reaching a figure of just over $14 million.
Known under the full name of Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg is a Swedish gamer and YouTuber, predominantly known for his comedy shows and videos series named “Let’s Play.” The alias originates from PewDie; as Felix explains, “pew” represents the sound of a shooting laser, while “die” refers to dying. His first videos included mainstream titles, such as Call of Duty and Minecraft, soon to expand the portfolio with games such as Amnesia: The Dark Descent.
The channel reached 5 million subscribers back in 2013, only to experience such growth in the following two years, which brought Felix the Guinness World Record prize for the “Most subscribed YouTuber” back in 2015.
He is also a creator of a YouTube Red series “Scare PewDiePie,” which achieved a pretty solid success rate. However, Felix was involved in a controversy back in 2017 revolving around him using anti-Semitic language in some of his YouTube videos. This resulted in a public apology, but it wasn’t enough for Google to keep filming the second season of the YouTube Red “Scare PewDiePie” series.
However, despite all of that, PewDiePie still remains one of the most popular YouTubers in the online gaming industry. He got to 2nd place on the Forbes list of top-earners for the year 2019, reaching an annual figure of $15 million!
Probably one of the most recognizable aliases in the world of online gaming, which belongs to Richard Tyler Blevins, a US-based YouTuber, streamer, and a (former) professional player. He started his early days by participating in eSports events playing Halo 3 but became worldwide popular when he started playing Fortnite Battle Royale.
Ninja began playing Halo 3 back in 2009, playing for a wide range of professional organizations, such as Team Liquid and Cloud9. He started streaming his content back in 2011, the same year when he moved to PUBG, winning the PUBG Gamescom Invitational Squads classification several years later, in 2017.
The thing that brought him to the top was surely the video stream in which Ninja plays Fortnite along with Juju Smith-Schuster, Travis Scott, and Drake, which set the record for the most viewers of a single stream on Twitch, reaching an astonishing number of 635,000 people! And how successful and respected he can be seen in the fact that the makers of Fortnite have embedded an in-game Tyler Ninja avatar!
As for the Forbes list of top-earning video game players in 2019, the Ninja deserved takes 1st place with an annual income reaching a figure of $17 million!
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