Video gaming is no longer a pastime of alleged home-dwellers or arcade-loitering individuals. The professionalization of this practice has now validated it as a career choice for talented players. To a point where they earn millions and sign lucrative sponsorship deals. Furthermore, the accessibility of eSports and online pokies has attracted a wide range of viewers. In 2020, 223 million eSports fans were estimated to watch the industry daily, with an even greater number of casual audiences tuning in to watch the bigger events. By 2023, this number is expected to rise steadily to nearly 650 million.
In this article, we take a look into some of the top-earning video gamers of 2021.
Tyler Blevins (Ninja) – $17m
From Red Bull cans in grocery stores to Walmart bedding to starring roles in NFL advertisements, Tyler aka Ninja was everywhere in 2019. Although his popularity dwindled, his influence grew, thanks to endorsements from Adidas, Red Bull, and PSD, a designer of underwear. His Microsoft exclusivity agreement is reshaping the live-streaming environment. And it seems that the good days are continuing as he is the top-earning video gamer of 2021. Epic Games, the creators of Fortnite, recently launched an in-game Ninja avatar for fans to play as.
Felix Kjellberg (Pewdiepie) – $15m
Felix Kjellberg, the most famous YouTuber, revealed that he would be leaving the platform after another turbulent year. He promised $50,000 to the Anti-Defamation League in September to “step beyond” his anti-Semitic scandals, but then abruptly canceled the donation after a backlash from his fans. Kjellberg, on the other hand, remains as famous as ever, with 4.5 billion views in 2019.
Preston Arsement (PrestonPlayz)- $14m
In the third place of the Top-Earning Video Gamers of 2021 list comes Preston Arsement, aka PrestonPlayz. Preston, a successful Minecraft player, and vlogger makes seven figures a year hosting custom Minecraft versions with in-game spending. He is famous for making gaming videos of Minecraft, Roblox, and Fortnite as well as pranks and challenge videos.
Mark Fischbach (Markiplier) – $14m
Mark Fischbach gained a following with his hilarious, over-the-top reactions to horror video games like Amnesia: The Dark Descent, and last fall he launched A Heist with Markiplier, a choose-your-own-adventure YouTube Original film.
Michael Grzesiek (Shroud) – $12.5m
Michael Grzesiek is a favorite among major game publishers such as Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, and Activision Blizzard because he is not tied to a single game. In addition, the former pro has an apparel line with gaming company Jinx.
Daniel Middleton (DanTDM) – $12m
Another name in the Top-Earning Video Gamers of 2021 list is Daniel Middleton aka DanTDM. He has amassed 22.4 million subscribers as a result of his famous Minecraft videos. In 2019, he went on tour for The Contest, an immersive film experience.
Evan Fong (VanossGaming) – $11.5m
In 2019, Fong’s comedic playthroughs drew 24.9 million subscribers and 1.6 billion views on YouTube. He’s been well-known for a while, thanks to his role as a monster hunter in Paranormal Action Squad, a premium 2016 cartoon series on the same network.
Sean McLoughlin (Jacksepticeye) – $11m
Making his way on the eighth place of Top-Earning Video Gamers of 2021 is Sean McLoughlin, aka Jacksepticeye. McLoughlin is Ireland’s most popular YouTuber, with 23.2 million subscribers and videos on a variety of games. He launched a clothing line with Mark “Markiplier” Fischbach, a fellow YouTube gamer, in late 2018.
Timothy Betar (TimTheTatman – $8m
From Reese’s to Bud Light, Timothy Betar’s comedic, good-natured Fortnite streams have made him a favorite of brands. On Twitch, he also streams and commentates on the NFL’s Thursday Night Football games. He signed an exclusive streaming contract with the network at the end of the year.
Nick Kolcheff (Nickmercs) – $6m
At the tenth spot of the Top-Earning Video Gamers of 2021 list is Nick Kolcheff, aka Nickmercs. He made a name for himself by playing Fortnite with a controller rather than a keyboard and mouse, which is considerably more difficult. According to StreamElements and Arsenal.gg, it helped him become the tenth most-watched streamer in 2019. Twitch noticed him and offered him a two-year, $2 million exclusivity contract.