Sun 19 September 2021 | 10:30

Video games with the highest tournament prize money

Many choose to play video games as a profession and try to make a living out of it by attending official tournaments and fighting for the prize money, but which video game pays the most to the champions? Welcome to video games with the highest tournament prize money.

Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), first-person shooter (FPS), combat, card, battle royale, and real-time strategy (RTS) games are the most popular video game genres connected with esports. League of Legends, Dota, Counter-Strike, Valorant, Overwatch, Street Fighter, Super Smash Bros., and StarCraft are just a few of the popular esport franchises.

Many other events, like the Overwatch League, employ a series of league matches with sponsored teams.

Although the validity of esports as a legitimate sporting competition is still debatable, they have been featured alongside traditional sports in several multinational events in Asia, and the International Olympic Committee has considered their inclusion in future Olympic events.

In this list, we are going to explore the list of games that paid the most to their champions in a single tournament. Of course, many games have spent hundreds of millions in total as prize money for their tournaments and this is by no means the list of largest overall prize pools in Esports but as said, we will list games that had the highest prize money in a single event.

The compendious list of video games with the highest tournament prize money

Esport tournaments were not only a chance for gamers to compete and win a valuable prize but also a huge opportunity for streaming services to increase their revenue. By the late 2010s, it was predicted that esports will have a total viewership of 454 million people, with income exceeding $1 billion.

Online streaming media platforms, notably YouTube and Twitch, have become increasingly important in the growth and marketing of esports tournaments. These services made it much easier to watch their favorite esport tournament and further increasing the revenues indirectly and helping the developers to increase the prize pools.

We would get to the top game streaming services in another article but for now, let us get to the list of the

top 10 highest prize pools in esports


Halo 5: Guardians

We already talked about Halo, mainly about Master Chief in

our previous article

, but Halo 5 is the first game in the list of top global eSports games by tournament prize.

It was published globally on October 27, 2015, as the fifth mainline entry and tenth overall in the Halo series. Shortly after the release of Halo 4, 343 Industries began planning concepts and objectives for Halo 5. The team set goals for the game in late 2012, including a bigger campaign and multiplayer regions.

Microsoft launched its own competition, the "Halo Championship Series," in 2014. Microsoft announced a tournament with a $1 million prize pool prior to the release of Halo 5: Guardians, as well as an emphasis on creating the game with competition in mind.

Prize pools are boosted by a percentage of the revenues from REQ packs purchased with real money; by November 4, REQ proceeds had added US$500,000 to the pool, which had grown to US$700,000 by November 19.

Microsoft announced a US$2 million prize pool at The Game Awards in early December, boosted by purchases of a special REQ bundle.

By the 19th of February, the total prize pool had surpassed US$2,500,000, putting this game among the top global eSports games by tournament prize. The Halo World Championship started on December 6, 2015, and ended on March 18–20, 2016.

Following the Halo World Championship, Microsoft and the Electronic Sports League launched the Halo Pro League as a method to expand Halo eSports.


The first MOBA game of the top global eSports games by tournament prize list is Smite. There are still more MOBA games to come but this is the one we are going to read about.

Hi-Rez Studios created a system in mid-2014 that allowed gamers to join professional leagues in groups of five. Players began by competing in online competitions before moving on to offline tournaments.

The teams were then rated based on their performance in these events, with the best teams being invited to play in the Smite World Championship. Hi-Rez Studios held the first Smite World Championship from January 9–11, 2015. The event brought teams from North America, South America, Europe, and China to Atlanta, Georgia.

The tournament's $2.6 million prize pool was the third-highest in Esports at the time, after only the third and fourth editions of Dota 2's The International and the League of Legends World Championships. COGnitive Prime, a North American team, won first place with a prize pool of just over $1.3 million.

Stew Chisam, President of Hi-Rez Studios, said in July 2015 that after consulting with team owners, players, and members of other esports communities about the reward structure of Smite esports, Hi-Rez will cap the prize pool for the Smite World Championships at $1 million.

This move was made in order to distribute more money to more participants throughout the course of the year rather than giving out the majority of the prize money in a single event. The Smite World Championship was held in Atlanta in January 2016, with a total prize pool of $1 million.

That was all about Smite, the game which was one of the

top games awarding prize money


Rainbow six sage

You probably have heard of Rainbow six sage as it's really popular among gamers and professional esport competitors. It is not surprising to say that Rainbow six sage is among the games which had the largest overall prize pools in Esports.

After the game's debut, the developers concentrated on releasing new operators to give diversity for esports spectators, a move influenced by current multiplayer online battle arena games like Dota 2, which often include 80–100 playable characters. Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Pro League, a global tournament for Windows and Xbox One gamers, has been formally announced by ESL and Ubisoft.

On March 4, 2016, the competition was conducted at the Intel Extreme Masters eSports tournament. PENTA Sports, a European club, won the first season of the Rainbow Six Pro League after defeating another team, GiFu, in the tournament's final in May 2016.

The return of Pro League Year Two was announced in 2017, however, Xbox One events were not included. In 2017 and 2018, Ubisoft additionally organized the Six Invitational competitions, in which elite teams fought for the top prize. On Twitch, the 2018 event drew 321,000 views.

The Six Invitational 2020, held in February 2020, was the largest prize pool in all of Rainbow Six, with a total prize fund of $3,000,000 split among 16 teams, with the winners, Spacestation Gaming from North America, taking home one-third of the prize pool ($1,000,000). Thus, this game was eligible to be on the list of

top global eSports games by tournament prize


Call of duty: modern warfare

Call of duty: modern warfare doesn’t need any introduction as it is one of the most famous series of the Call of duty franchise. The prize money for Call of duty league 2020 though needs explanation as it is one of the top 10 highest prize pools in esports.

The Call of Duty League's debut season has not been without its challenges. Nobody anticipated the COVID-19 epidemic to influence nearly every aspect of esports the way it has.

But it took place in North America, and we are glad that it did. With the US winning the majority of the prize pool (3,250,000 US dollars) and Afghanistan winning 20,000 dollars, the prize pool got divided into 7 countries.

With $4,600,000 dollars as the prize, every country took a fair share, and the audience got their share of entertainment as streaming services also focused on the event when it started.


Overwatch was not created with an eye toward esports, instead focused on "creating a fantastic competitive game" first and foremost, despite internal testing indicating that the game had esports potential. The game not only was among the greatest esport games but also is currently among the top global eSports games by tournament prize.

Blizzard revealed their intentions for an Overwatch League at BlizzCon 2016, employing a structure of permanent clubs in league placements akin to more conventional North American professional sports leagues rather than promotion and relegation like the League of Legends Championship Series.

Blizzard sought out possible club owners such as Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots and Stan Kroenke of the Los Angeles Rams, and by November 2017, had created 12 franchises throughout the world, with intentions to grow further in future seasons. On these teams, contracted players are guaranteed a minimum wage, benefits, and revenue share.

The League's inaugural season began in January 2018, with teams competing for a one-million-dollar League winner award as well as additional prizes from a total prize pool of US$3.5 million.

The second season included eight more franchises, bringing the total number of franchises to twenty. Nearly all games outside of the finals were played in Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California, in the first and second seasons, whereas the third season will have teams traveling between homestand events throughout the world, as is more typical of league setups.


Let us move to the top 5 of the list of

top global eSports games by tournament prize


Arena of Valor

The first game of the top 5 of the top global eSports games by tournament prize list is Arena of Valor. Outside of China, Arena of Valor has grossed over $140 million as of September 2018.

Arena of Valor was one of six Esports video games included as part of the showcase sport at the 2018 Asian Games, 2019 Southeast Asian Games, and 2021 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.

Arena of Valor competitions has taken place throughout the globe, with each area hosting its own league. Arena of Valor also hosts two global championship events each year: the Arena of Valor International Championship (AIC) and the Arena of Valor World Cup (AWC).

From November 23 to November 26, 2017, South Korea hosted the first AIC. The event drew more than 36 million online spectators, shattering mobile gaming records all around the world, and has since established itself as the gold standard of mobile eSports.

From July 17 to July 28, 2018, the first Arena of Valor World Cup (AWC) competition was place in Los Angeles, California. The AWC was one of the largest mobile eSports competitions in gaming history, with a total prize pool of $500,000.

Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the Arena of Valor World Cup 2020 was canceled and replaced with the one-off Arena of Valor Premier League 2020. (APL 2020).

The Honor of Kings Global Champion Cup, the world championship of AoV's Chinese equivalent Honor of Kings, will be merged with the Arena of Valor World Cup on August 28, 2021, according to Tencent Games. As a result, with the 2022 edition, the prize fund has been expanded substantially from $500,000 to $8,000,000.

League of legends

League of Legends is one of the most popular esports in the world and top games awarding prize money, according to The New York Times. In 2016, the game's esports tournaments outperformed the National Basketball Association, the World Series, and the Stanley Cup in terms of online viewing and in-person attendance.

Riot Games claimed 44 and 45 million peak concurrent viewers for the 2019 and 2020 League of Legends World Championship finals, respectively. According to the Harvard Business Review, League of Legends symbolized the emergence of the esports sector.

In China, the rights to stream major tournaments such as the World Championships and the Mid-Season Invitational were sold to Bilibili for a three-year contract allegedly costing US$113 million in Fall 2020, while Huya Live owns exclusive streaming rights for local and other regional leagues.

The highest-paid professional players in the game have been paid more than $1 million, more than three times the highest-paid players in Overwatch. His team's North American league spot was sold to the Evil Geniuses company for $33 million in 2020.

Let us move on to the top 3 games of the

top global eSports games by tournament prize



Players unknown battlegrounds doesn't need any introduction as it is one of the most famous battle royale game and is known to be the first game which brought battle royale genre to esports. It comes as no surprise that this game is among the top global eSports games by tournament prize.

Bluehole announced a 2017 Charity Invitational event to commemorate the game's two millionth copy sold, asking 128 players to compete via their official Twitch channel to earn money for the Gamers Outreach Foundation, with Bluehole matching any donations up to $100,000.

The tournament, which took place in early May 2017 and earned at least $120,000 from spectators in addition to Bluehole's $100,000 match, served as a model for future esports events for the game. Bluehole and ESL hosted the inaugural Battlegrounds invitational tournament with a $350,000 prize pool during the August 2017 Gamescom event.

Greene stated that while he had envisioned the battle royale mode as a spectator sport since his ARMA II mod, they will take "baby steps" to make Battlegrounds an esport.

Greene stated that they would not pursue esports until the game had been completely published and all significant issues had been fixed.

They had worked with ESL to examine how to operate a big Battlegrounds tournament with a large number of players efficiently in the future, and they had shown the challenges surrounding the logistics of operating a large Battlegrounds tournament with a large number of participants at Gamescom 2017.


Many call this game childish, but the truth is that Fortnite is fun and even more entertaining when you are playing the game with your friends. Fortnite is second on the list for its huge prize pool.

During the first half of 2018, revenue from Fortnite Battle Royale was expected to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars per month, with total 2018 revenue estimated to be $2.4 billion by analytical company SuperData Research.

By the end of 2019, Fortnite's total revenue has surpassed $9 billion. Reading these statistics you quickly realize that the prize money is nowhere near the total revenue that the game brought for the developers and Epic games.

Epic Games has created structured esports events centered on Fortnite Battle Royale, such as the first US$30 million Fortnite World Cup tournament in July 2019.

Next up we will read about the game with the highest total tournament prize pool among games with the

largest overall prize pools in Esports

and the number 1 of the top 10 highest prize pools in esports list.

Dota 2

Valves' most famous game and steams most played masterpiece, Dota 2 is on the top of the list for it is the game with the most awarding money for tournaments among the top 10 highest prize pools in esports.

Dota 2 has a thriving esports culture, with teams from all around the world competing in leagues and tournaments. The Dota Pro Circuit is a series of events run by Valve that give qualifying points in exchange for direct invites to The International, the game's flagship yearly tournament.

Dota 2 is the most profitable esports game because of a crowdfunded prize money structure that has seen amounts as high as US$30 million.

By June 2017, professional Dota 2 events had generated over $100 million for teams and individuals, with over half of that going to Internationals, making it the highest-earning esports game by almost $60 million. The prize pool for this year's event will be $40 million, putting this game on the top of the top games awarding prize money.

Thank you for reading the top global eSports games by tournament prize article.

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