The eSports industry has been waiting with bated breath for the return of the exciting and engaging in-person events. Even though that is yet to happen to a complete degree, the market is already on a recovery trajectory.
As proof of this, top eSports games continued to pay out hefty sums as prize money during the first half of 2021.
According to the research data analyzed and published by Wette.de, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) was the highest-paid game in that period. Its cumulative tournament prize pool for the six-month duration was $7.98 million.
Thanks to this impressive performance, the game also secured second place based on total lifetime prize money. At the end of June 2021, its lifetime prize money totaled $117.4 million across over 5,800 tournaments.
With a total of $7.8 million, the second-highest paid eSports game during H1 2021 was Player Unknown’s Battleground. Fortnite ranked third with $6.12 million and also captured third place in all-time prize money, at $107.6 million.
PUBG Mobile was the fourth-highest paid game in H1 2021 with $5.97 million, while DOTA 2 completed the top five at $5.42 million. DOTA 2 is the top-ranking game in terms of total lifetime winnings. At $234.8 million, its cumulative prize money is higher than that of CS:GO and Fortnite combined.
Other titles that made it to the top 10 include Rainbow Six Siege ($3.63 million), Arena of Valor ($3.33 million), Rocket League ($3.01 million), Call of Duty: BlackOps Cold War ($2.78 million) and Valorant ($2.75 million).
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Susquehanna Soniqs Top Team By Prize Pool in H1 2021, At $1.42 Million
Looking at eSports teams, Susquehanna Soniqs had the most success during the first half of 2021. Largely due to the team’s performance at the PUBG Global Invitational (PGI), the total prize money for the period amounted to $1.42 million.
The figure was considerably higher than that of second-placed Team Liquid, which garnered $1.27 million. Team Liquid, however, remains the most successful group in the history of eSports. Its overall lifetime earnings at the time totaled $37.4 million according to Esports Earnings.
In third position for H1 2021 was Natus Vincere, which raked in $1.22 million. Ninjas in Pyjamas ranked fourth while Gambit Esports was fifth, each winning a total of $1.19 million.
Others in the top ten include Nova eSports ($1.14 million), Gen.G Sports ($1.1 million), Atlanta Faze ($0.72 million), Virtus.pro ($0.71 million) and Four Angry Men ($0.69 million).
Though the PC eSports segment continues to dominate the market, mobile is playing catch up. So far in 2021, the highest paid mobile eSports prize pool was valued at $7.7 million, from the Honor of Kings World Champion Cup.
PUBG Mobile Global Championship ranks second with $6 million. Peacekeeper Elite League 2021 is third with $3.1 million. The Arena of Valor World Cup slated for 2022 is expected to be the highest paying mobile eSports tournament of all time, with a prize pool of $8 million.
Total eSports Prize Pool Stands at $72.1 Million in Q3 2021, Nearly a Third of 2019 Total
For the global eSports industry, online platforms have made it possible for tournaments to continue through the pandemic. However, there has been a considerable dip in terms of prize money compared to the pre-pandemic market.
According to data from Esports Earnings, total tournament prize pools in 2019 raked in $237 million. Comparably, the 2020 figure was about $120 million, close to half the previous year’s amount.
As the industry heads toward the final quarter of the year, total prize pool winnings stand at $72,186,965 toward the end of August 2021. CS:GO is still in the lead with $9.83 million and PUBG is a distant second, still at $7.8 million. Regardless of current standings, the last quarter of 2021 holds a lot of promise. There are still a number of major tournaments in the offing with significant prize pools.
Despite the slight drop in prize money from pre-pandemic levels, the overall eSports market is on an upward trajectory. Based on its current pace of growth, it is not expected to slow down any time in the near future.
Based on analysts from Emergen Research, the global eSports market could be worth as much as $5.2 billion by 2028. To place the growth in perspective, the market was worth $1.165 billion in 2020 and is projected to fall slightly short of $1.1 billion in 2021. As such, the projected value for 2028 would equate to nearly fourfold growth in seven years.