The video game industry is a massive sector of the entertainment industry generating over $38 billion dollars of revenue in 2016. All along the way talented entrepreneurs (and some pure gamers in the eSports world) have found their own unique niches to fill and grab tons of that cash. From advertising technology, to VR hardware companies, and all the way down to the lowly youtuber; here are some young entrepreneurs who are raking in that gaming cash.
Palmer Luckey is living the dream of gaming nerds everywhere. You may not recognize his name, but I guarantee you’ll recognize what he’s famous for- the Oculus Rift. Luckey is the founder of Oculus VR (which he recently sold to Facebook in a 2 billion dollar deal) and a multimillionaire. His net worth was estimated to be $700 million in 2015. He’s #22 on Forbes’ 2016 list of America’s richest entrepreneurs under 40 and #1 on Forbes gaming 30 under 30 list. And guess what- he’s only 24 years old.
The founder of Kiip, Brian Wong, is another young millionaire who made his fortune in the gaming industry. Kiip is a mobile advertising network that centers around gaming. Wong came up with the idea after watching other passengers on a flight play games on their iPads, screens cluttered with completely ignored advertisements. Wong came up with the idea then and there that maybe advertising at a point where gamers are most engaged (i.e. level up screens instead of menus). Kiip also allows companies to advertise through tangible rewards. He is one of the youngest entrepreneurs to raise venture capital at age 19. He is now 25 and his net worth is approximately $15 million.
YouTube’s most prolific content creator is Felix Kjellberg, better known as PewDiePie. He has a total of 14.3 BILLION views on YouTube and has 52.3 million subscribers. Just this last year, Kjellberg made a whopping $12 million dollars through his YouTube videos. The 27-year-old YouTuber has been making videos since 2010 and his net worth is estimated to be around $90 million USD. His recent antics (see: promising to delete his channel at 50 million subscribers) have earned him even more fortune and fame. Here is a detailed analysis into PewDiePie’s Net Worth.
Otherwise known as FaZe Temperrr, Thomás Oliviera is one of the most prolific gaming personalities of the past 10 years as well as the owner of famous Call of Duty sniping clan FaZe. FaZe Clan began as a group of highly skilled Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 players who posted videos of trick shots on YouTube. With the release of Black Ops 2, the Clan decided to expand their reach into the competitive scene. The clan continues to grow under the leadership of 23-year-old Oliviera, who has an estimated net worth of $1.2 million.
Counter Strike: Global Offensive YouTuber Trevor Martin (better known as TmarTn) is filthy rich. However, his fortune may not have been acquired legally. The story goes like this. Trevor Martin and his friends founded a CS:GO site where gamers could gamble on in-game items. They promoted their website by pretending they didn’t own it- they lied to their viewers to get site visits, getting more people to gamble and getting more money for themselves. TmarTn posted videos of him winning upwards of $10k on his website in gambles that he rigged himself. Through these methods, he was able to gain an estimated 10 million dollars from his illegal gambling site. He and his partners were sued last year, but he remains a rich man.
Markiplier is one of the most successful YouTubers out there. He may not be quite as rich as PewDiePie, but he is the 2nd highest grossing gaming content creator on YouTube. Similar to PewDiePie, Markiplier’s channel mostly revolves around videos where he plays a game and provides funny commentary. His videos boast a massive 6.5 billion total views and he has over 16 million subscribers. The 27-year-old Markiplier made an insane 5.5 million dollars off of his videos in 2016.
Saahil Arora (A.K.A. UNiVeRsE) is the highest earning eSports player of all time. One of the best DotA 2 players of all time and a force for Evil Geniuses has put up an incredible figure- UNiVeRsE has made just over 2.7 million dollars in earnings. The famous EG offlaner has amassed a fortune through just over 3 years of competition. He’s also the reason for EG’s 1st place win at The International 2015, where he clinched the series with the famous “Six Million Dollar Echo Slam.” After leaving Evil Geniuses for a short period of time to play with Team Secret earlier this year, he returned to EG after the Manila Major in June. If his in-game success continues, his earnings record will be even harder to beat.
Peter Dager is another member of the Evil Geniuses DotA 2 team that won The International 2015. Dager, or ppd as he is known in game, is another DotA legend. Along with his EG teammates UNiVeRsE and SumaiL, he sits at the top of the eSports all-time earnings list. The captain and support player of EG’s DotA 2 team has earned 2.6 million dollars in his career. The 25-year -old from Fort Wayne, Indiana is notorious for being outspoken, and holds the prestigious title of “The Salt King.” The DotA icon is now the CEO of Evil Geniuses in addition to his duties as an active player.
SumaiL Hassan rounds out the top three highest paid eSports players of all time, and is the third Evil Geniuses DotA player on this list. SumaiL’s illustrious career in games began at age 8, when he started playing the original DotA.
Olajide William “JJ” Olatunji
KSI is a rapper, comedian, and actor who got his start playing Fifa on YouTube. His net worth is estimated to be in the $11 million range. He once appeared on a segment on VICE showcasing his 1 million pound flat in London where he was having a hot tub placed on his roof by helicopter. He’s known for his love of exotic cars, even having a popular rap song named, “Lamborghini.”