How much money South Africa’s best gamers really make

Global games market - Making money

South Africa’s competitive gaming scene is growing rapidly, which is clearly illustrated by Telkom’s announcement in January that it is putting up a million rand in prize money for its new Digital Gaming League in 2016.

The bigger prize fund, Telkom said, is to support its plans to foster growth in the competitive online gaming arena, and formalise e-sports in South Africa.

While the prize funds are growing, it is still very challenging for South Africa’s top gamers to turn professional and make a living from competitive gaming.

South African eSports team manager Ryan Boyes told MyGaming that local players need a day job to fit the bill.

How much gamers really make

One of South Africa’s top Hearthstone players said he made around R8,000 last year, which included prize money and sponsorships.

“Internationally players receive salaries and work towards prize money. This shows there is a big difference between us and the rest of the world,” said Boyes.

He said that local tournament sponsors favour giving physical prizes, like gaming hardware, instead of cash prizes.

“This leads to a situation where competitive gamers are forced to fund getting to the event, transport, accommodation and food out of their own pocket,” said Boyes.

“This also leads to a situation where prizes – mouse, keyboards, headphones, and the like – get sold to try recoup the money spent. Some gamers are lucky to break even if make a small profit for one event.”


What other pros have said

MyGaming approached some of South Africa’s top competitive gamers, and they echoed Boyes’ feedback.

One of South Africa’s top Hearthstone players said he made around R8,000 last year, which included prize money and sponsorships.

A top League of Legends player, who represented South Africa at the World Championships, said that he did not make any money from competitive gaming, apart from small prizes like gaming hardware.

A competitive StarCraft 2 player told MyGaming that it is virtually impossible to become a self-sustaining professional gamer in South Africa.

While other top gamers who MyGaming spoke to were hesitant to say how much they earned, they all agreed that it is not possible to support yourself financially through competitive gaming in South Africa.

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Forum discussion

Join the conversation

  • CypherGate

    I would assume its not possible. We don’t have a lot of pro gamers compared to other countries (USA) If eSports pics up in a major way and gaming becomes even more popular in SA then it might change.

  • Led

    “How much gamers really make”
    Then you give one game and one person as an example?

  • eyesuc

    Must the same writers that write for MyBB. Clickbait is how things are done nowadays.

  • Xileer

    Hearthstone, LoL, and Starcraft 2 – That’s 3 games

  • Xileer

    Top GW2 players make tens of thousands of dollars per tournament win – There’s tonnes of money – People just need to play in international tournaments

  • Jan Nel

    I just can’t comprehend the thought of playing on line games as a profession.

  • The money in SA, small as it is, is in CSGO and DotA 2. Should have asked from those groups?

  • wo0two0t1

    I agree – purely for fun.

  • Rui André Durão

    And CSGO is ohhhh sooooo growing!!!

How much money South Africa’s best gamers really make

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