Blog March 8, 2021

Top-10 Highest-Earning Female Pro Esports Players

The visibility of women in the esports industry is increasing every year. And we are talking not just about esports female athletes because esports offers a career path for women in a variety of interests and niches: executives, tournament organizers, psychologists, brand managers, vice presidents... — some of them have already reached the top, and others are still climbing the career ladder. 

In honor of International Women's Day, the Esports Observer media has launched a week-long series of articles about women in the esports industry. We think it's a great idea and decided to join in. We wondered how things are with the level of earnings among esports female athletes.

The statistics below shows the world's top esports women as of March 2021, ranked by total income. 

Marjorie «Kasumi Chan» Bartell

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Highest paying game: Dead or Alive 4
Earnings: $55,000

Marjorie Bartell is known as the first female player to make it to the finals in the Championship Gaming Invitational. 

In 2006, Bartell was the runner-up for a CGI competition Dead or Alive 4, and earned $5,000. Her career was propelled by her affiliation with Chicago Chimera, an organization that she represented during her biggest win.

She’s also highly placed in other numerous tournaments, such as coming first in the 2007 Championship Series Gaming, where she took the grand prize pool — $50,000. Marjorie focuses primarily on fighting games, notably Dead or Alive 4, and takes her online name from one of the game characters. She has not competed since then, despite the increase in both money and female gamers. Both of the tournaments that she participated in were offline. 

Maureen «Alice» Gabriella

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Highest paying game: PUBG Mobile
Earnings: $57,400

Maureen Gabriella, also known as BTR's Alice, is a real inspiration for girls. A professional female player from Indonesia currently playing for Bigetron RA. From the age of 10, she played online games on her mother's mobile phone and her father's laptop. Later she started playing Clash of Clans, Claw, 8 Ball Pool, Counter-Strikes, Dota 2, and PUBG Mobile. Her esports journey began when she officially joined Belletron Esports (Bigetron women's team) in 2019. On March 2, 2020, she was included in the main roster of the Bigetron RA men's team alongside Luxxy, Zuxxy, Microboy, and Ryzen as the 5th player, and her role in the team is a Sniper rifle (Supporter).

As she is associated with the world's largest PUBG Mobile esports organization, which has brought her a lot of fame and fans. FYI: BTR is the highest-paid PUBG Mobile eSports organization in the world. Maureen is not just a part of the team, but a key player, which she has already proved at various tournaments. 

Tina «TINARES» Perez

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Highest paying game: Fortnite
Earnings: $66,215.20

Tina Perez — a real big fighter from Texas. She has been competing in multiple games for almost 12 years. Tina constantly played battle royale games until she fell in love with Fortnite, which resulted in her and fellow gamer Madison Mann becoming the first female Fortnite duo to be led by Gen.G.

She is one of the most successful female Fortnite players in esports over 3 years. She is best known for winning the 2019 TwitchCon competition, which featured some of the biggest names in all of Fortnite.

Kim «Geguri» Se Yeon

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Highest paying game: Overwatch
Earnings: $70,298.68

Kim aka Geguri is a professional Overwatch player and the first female pro in the Overwatch League.

In February 2018, Kim became the first female Overwatch League member to join the Shanghai Dragons. She was selected among the league's top players to represent the Pacific Division in the 2018 Overwatch League All-Star Game. After her first season, Overwatch League Commissioner Nate Nanzer said Kim «has already inspired millions of girls around the world». After the 2020 season, Kim did not renew her contract with the Dragons. In 2019, Time magazine named Kim one of the leaders of the next generation for being one of the first successful female esports players.

Ricki Ortiz

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Highest paying game: Street Fighter V
Earnings: $81,366.18

Ricky Ortiz aka HelloKittyRicki is an American professional fighting game player specializing in Marvel vs. Capcom and Street Fighter. Ortiz joined the fighting game community in the early 2000s and since then she has consistently held top positions in the most high-profile tournaments.

The very first competition she entered was Evo 2006. Ortiz played with Capcom vs. SNK 2 and came in second for $ 2,000. Since then, she has played in over sixty tournaments and raised over $ 81,000.

The Capcom Cup 2016 - Game: Street Fighter V — was the competition that earned Ortiz most of her $ 60,000 earnings. Since 2010, Ortiz has represented the American esports organization Evil Geniuses.

Rumay «Hafu» Wang

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Highest paying game: Teamfight Tactics
Earnings: $84,466.67

Rumay «Hafu» Wang started playing World of Warcraft when she was in high school. She now constantly streams on Twitch and has won several Hearthstone, World of WarCraft, and Teamfight Tactics tournaments. She is currently signed to G2 Esports.

Katherine «Mystik» Gunn

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Highest paying game: Halo: Reach
Earnings: $122,550

In 2016, the Guinness Book of World Records named Katherine Gunn the highest-paid female gamer. She finished second in Dead or Alive 4 two years in a row and won the second season of WCG Ultimate Gamer in 2010.

Gann began to set her first records in 2007 when she took part in the CGS. She played Dead or Alive 4, an arcade-style fighting game, and got second place with $15,000. The following year, she took part in this tournament again but took only third place with a prize pool of $7,000. Due to her participation in the second season of WCG Ultimate Gamer, Gunn received a copy of the game a few months before its release, as did her competition. Hundreds of hours of practice resulted in Gunn emerging victorious and winning $ 100,000 in a fair fight.

Li «Liooon» Xiao Meng

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Highest paying game: Hearthstone
Earnings: $238,010

Li Xiao Meng, also known as Liooon, is the first esports female athlete to win the Hearthstone GrandMasters – Global Finals and Blizzcon Esports tournament. On November 2, 2019, representing China in Hearthstone Global Finals she defeated Brian «Bloodyface» Eason, claiming the prize pool — $200,000. 

Liooon was the first woman to win a BlizzCon Global Championship, and the first Hearthstone Global Champion from mainland China since the start of tournaments in 2014. In an interview after winning the championship, she shared a story that more than two years ago, she went to her first Hearthstone tournament as a backup for the game. While waiting in line, she was mocked by a male player, who said: «If you are a girl, you should not wait in line here. It's not for you». 

She also shared her thoughts about the position of women in Esports: 

«I want to say to all the girls out there who have a dream for Esports competition, for glory, if you want to do it and you believe in yourself, you should just forget your gender and go for it».

Li also won two other tournaments: WESG 2017 – Asia Pacific Finals and World Electronic Sports Games 2017.

Sarah «Scarlett» Hostyn

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Highest paying game: StarCraft II
Earnings: $393,528.18

Finally, the highest-paid cyber athlete today is Sarah "Scarlett" Hostin, a professional Canadian StarCraft II player. She entered the world of esports in 2011, taking part in the NESL Iron Lady and winning two tournaments in a row. The year after that, Hostyn won the Playhem «Sponsor Me!» Tournament and that win granted her a trip to Las Vegas, where she made her breakthrough in the IPL 4 open qualifiers. Later that year, she competed in the StarCraft II World Championship in Canada. Her last opponent lost in the Grand Final, resulting in Hostin becoming the Canadian National Champion with an outstanding 12-1 record. With the same record, she won the 2012 WCS North American Championship. That win earned her $24,000, and at IEM XII, PyeongChang, she won $50,000. She is currently a member of the Chinese team Brave Star Gaming.

What is feel like for a girl in the esports industry

Even now, despite the fourth wave of feminism, being a woman in the gaming industry is not an easy thing. Of course, it is encouraging that women can build their careers in the esports and gaming industry in various directions and niches, however, the statistics in this niche of female esports athletes are very depressing. According to a report by Evil Geniuses, in the past year alone, almost half of all female esports players have experienced gender discrimination which is three times more than men.

The problem is (still!) so serious that many female esports players continue to hide their identities, change profiles and characters to appear neutral or masculine, and play with the microphone turned off. Yes, women face a lot of challenges when it comes to gaming, but the situation has improved over the years thanks to the increased visibility of women in the esports industry: Women's Counter-Strike and Valorant tournaments, and more and more female streamers are making their mark on Twitch and YouTube Gaming.

The important thing is that the more women are represented in the esports and gaming industry, the easier it will be for those women who dream of working in games and esports to enter this area, becoming part of the gaming community, and finding their place