South Africans earned a whopping R3.78 million in prize money playing formal esports in 2018, according to data from esportsearnings.com that tracks international esports prize pools, players and games.
That is up by R240,000 from 2017’s prize pool number, and 2016’s R2.81 million, as prizes continue to arise alongside interest in professional esports.
Between them, South Africa's top 10 gamers earned R2.6 million for the year.
Among the top earners this year was a 16-year-old from Johannesburg and a 19-year-old student.
Both Thabo “Yvng Savage” Moloi (16) and Shiaan Rugbeer (19) walked away with R400,000 after winning the PS4 and Xbox segments respectively of the VS Gaming Festival FIFA 18 tournament, making them the top-earning esports players in South Africa for 2018.
Bravado Gaming moved to America earlier this year to compete on the international stage and have steadily increased their rankings with good results, putting South Africa on the map on as as international contenders.
Both teams competed in the DreamHack Mumbai Invitational 2018, with Bravado coming home with first place and R310,000 in prize money.
The top earner is DOTA 2 player Jese Vainikka who walked home with R33.2 million – just in prize money. (esportsearnings.com's lists do not include salaries or endorsements.)
A big focus for the year will be increasing the appeal of esport – a very male-dominated world – to women.
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