Which Country Has The Best Esports Gamers in 2021?
In less than two decades, competitive gaming has rapidly grown from being a relatively niche hobby to becoming a booming entertainment industry. The Esports industry already surpassed a net worth of $1 billion in 2020 and was anticipated to be worth $3 billion by 2022. Millions of players playing top esports titles like League of Legends, Fortnite, Dota 2 and CS:GO.
To put things in scale, professional competitors now number in the tens of thousands for CS:GO, and even more for other titles. In this age, the best esports gamers in the world herald from almost every country around the globe.
There is no doubt that Esports is as grand as it sounds. Yet, there is still constant debate about which country manages to consistently produce these world-class competitive gamers.
If we review the statistics today, as per Esports Earnings, the highest-earning and arguably the quantifiable best Esports players in the world come from a healthy mix of countries.
For example, Danish Dota 2 player “N0tail” has won nearly $7 million in prize money. In Dota 2 alone, some of the top ten esports gamers are featured, and hail from countries like Finland, Australia, France, Germany, Jordan, Bulgaria, and Lebanon. Of course, these earnings are skewed by the sheer success of Dota 2 players. In the top 100 best Esports gamers by earnings, countries like USA, China, South Korea, Brazil are feature strongly.
Here’s a quick look at some of the nations which have given us some of the most legendary Esports stars.
1. South Korea
As South Korea is widely regarded as being the country that kickstarted the whole esports phenomenon, it’s no surprise that this nation has routinely given us many of the best competitive gaming stars. From Starcraft to League of Legends and PUBG; Korea produces esports legends routinely.
Famous South Korean esports stars like “Faker” are a big reason why games like League of Legends have enjoyed such a high level of popularity. He alone has won over $1.2 million in Esports prize money. Other South Korean stars like “Bang” and “Wolf” have certainly pushed the case for this nation being home to the world’s best gamers. Both compete in League of Legends, and both have won nearly $1 million in esports prize money.
Korean players alone have won over 20 million in Starcraft 2, with notable stars like Rogue and Maru earning more than a million each. Additionally, PUBG superstar Pio, arguably one of the best PUBG players, has earned over a million dollars just in the past two years alone.
Not only has Esports been broadcast on public television for nearly 20 years in South Korea, but the country also has government-supported academies for professional gamers to ensure that it continues to generate the Esports stars of the future.
South Korea stands firmly atop the standings.
The Chinese government was initially fairly opposed to competitive gaming, but in 2019 esports was formerly recognized and its growing popularity in the country led to predictions that China would soon become the second-largest esports market after the US.
China has now even established a dedicated esports town in Hangzhou to develop the next generation of competitive gaming talent. Cities like Shanghai, Wuhan and Guangzhou quickly followed suit and established their own esports support programs. With China’s esports and gaming industry becoming the world’s largest by number of gamers there is huge potential for growth. Nearly half of China’s population, around 600 million people, play games on phone, PC, or console, as per iResearch.
Player wise, Dota 2 player “Somnus” has almost reached prize winnings of $3 million, while League of Legends superstar “Uzi,” has earned over $545,000 in prize money. Although some of the wealthiest LoL players are still predominantly South Koreans, Chinese players, “JackeyLove” and “Ning” have remained in the spotlight. According to Statista, as of May 2021, JackeyLove and Ning are among the top ten players with the highest earnings.
Interestingly, China has one of the most diverse esports ecosystems with players competing in both the famous title globally and locally developed esports like FreeFire, CrossFire and Honor of Kings.
The Danish Esports scene has garnered fans across the globe, notably for their undisputed victories across many esports. For such a “small” country, Denmark has produced unmatched talent across the entire esports scene. For instance, CS:GO team, Astralis, has been a long-standing champion in consecutive CS:GO majors up till the Berlin Major 2019. Danish LoL players like Bjergsen, Broxax, Caps, Wunder have all become legends within the scene. We already mentioned Dota 2 superstar N0tail, and his fellow countrymen Cr1t and MiSeRy.
Denmark has a tendency to produce some of the highest earning and most recognized superstars in esports. The Danish government has also taken notice of the talents within their country since 2019 and made efforts to nurture the Esports scene further.
Of course, the USA was never going to miss out on a chance to provide some of the best Esports stars in the world. From multi-millionaire celebrity Fortnite gamer “Ninja” to “Sneaky” and his incredible achievements as a League of Legends player. The USA has given us some spectacular gamers.
As everyone knows, Dota 2 provides some of the biggest earning Esports stars, and it’s interesting to see just how many US gamers like UNIVERSE, ppd, and Fear have crept up the highest earnings list in recent times. Then, there’s Bugha, who stole the title as highest-earning US player record in 2019 with his Fortnite World Cup Solo win.
While USA seems to have all the most significant titles to date, the region doesn’t always have the best environment for an Esports nurturing site. Evil Geniuses often ventured to Europe for bootcamps knowingly, they will have stronger rivals to spar with. Regardless, if you’re ever in a debate about which country has the best gamers, then USA ranks high on the list.
Sweden has always been a driving foce in European esports. It’s the home to the hugely influential DreamHack esports tournament in Jönköping, where some of the most memorable esports moments have happend. It’s no surprise that many of this nation’s gamers have made their presence felt with devastating effect across the globe, as Sweden has nurtured esports since the 90s.
From Dota 2 talents like s4 and ZAi to some of the best CS:GO players like Olofmeister, f0rest and KRiMZ, there’s plenty to suggest that Sweden is seriously punching above its weight when it comes to which country produces the best esports players.
What’s impressive about Sweden’s gamers is their ability to put in spectacular performances in a variety of different games. From the stunning efforts of “Armada” in Super Smash Bros, to the skills of “Toxjqs” in Quake 4, it’s easy to see why Sweden has quickly emerged as an esports superpower.
We have seen the German esports scene going from strength to strength over the years. If you were going by career earnings alone, then you would have to include Germany in the shortlist of countries with the best esports players. Thanks in part to the epic Dota 2 talents of “KuroKy,” who has won over $5 million in prize money, as well as staple German esports organizations SK Gaming, mousesports, BiG and MeetYourMakers who combine for millions in prize winnings over the past 20 years.
From Dota 2’s “FATA” to SMITE’s “NinjaDimi,” as well as “ShoWTimE”’s abilities in StarCraft II, there’s plenty of evidence that Germany can provide the world with some truly exceptional competitive gaming stars.
Finland is the home to plenty of esports legends and reigning champions. Two-time Dota 2 International champs, “JerAx” and “Topson”, hold records as the highest-paid Dota 2 players globally. They have even been recognized by the Finnish president himself, who invited them to the Independence Day’s celebration at the castle. Not to forget, another International champ, “MATUMBAMAN” as well, albeit he didn’t get an invitation to any celebrations.
The relatively small Finnish scene has what it takes to stand quite high in the Esports rankings by country. Talents in other notable esports titles have also been a mainstay, such as team ENCE in CS:GO and PUBG. These folks particularly stood out when the Finnish fans roared their support during the Katowice Major 2019 grand finals and followup events.
All we can say to illustrate our point is #EZ4ENCE.
From the highest earnings to the best fanbases, Philippines deserves the eighth spot in best Esports countries. The region’s growing esports scene has become so popular in recent years that it also took over the mobile gaming sensation.
In classic Esports titles like Dota 2, Filipino players and teams are well-known for their role as underdogs, the dark horses, or the teams with no stakes. Hence, they often performed much better when the odds are terrifying against them. For instance, during the International 6, TNC Predator upset team OG in the lower bracket round, forcing the team into retirement prematurely.
While team OG is considered the most established Esports team to date, Filipino fans will never forget the day when these titans fell from their throne. That said, Philippines as a viable esports country is often out of the question due to the inadequate infrastructure and decent internet connections. It’s almost fascinating how talents are still able to practice and rival their overseas contenders.
In mobile esports, Filipino players are becoming the dominant force. From King of Glory, Wild Rift to PUBG Mobile every game has plenty of esports teams competing boosting up the country as one of the most important rising markets in the world.
It might surprise many people to find Brazil in our shortlist for the best esports stars. Then you remember legendary teams mibr and FURIA both hail from Brasil. Legendary Brazilian CSGO rosters have dominated CS:GO for recent years. This first-person shooter has proven to be incredibly popular amongst Brazilian gamers with the likes of Coldzera, FalleN, fer and TACO all showing some exceptional skill. Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo alone has earned over $1 million in prize funds.
When it comes to FPS games, Brazil can also produce some serious gaming talent. Always watch out for the Brazilians in CSGO, Valorant and PUBG.
With legendary Russian esports teams like Virtus.pro still managing to provide plenty of formidable opposition to other global rivals, there will be little surprise that we had to include Russia in our shortlist of top competitive gaming nations.
Whether it’s the likes of “Solo” winning big in a Dota 2 tournament, or “flamie” providing a masterclass in CS:GO, it’s clear that Russian esports stars are always worth keeping an eye on. Don’t forget that Russia tends to dominate titles like World of Tanks too, with gamers like “Inspirer,” “LeBwa,” “Nuclear,” and “Neskwi,” proving to be devastating when playing this top esport.
Similar to how China develops in terms of esports, Russia has its own very distinct interests when it comes to esports titles.