There is a lot of press and attention given to who the best eSports players are but seldom do people focus on the best nations. If eSports is eventually going to compete with physical sports then you have to believe that nations will compete against one another in a World Cup-style format.
Due to such a tournament not currently existing, we instead have to turn our attention to the money brought in to countries in terms of winnings as a way to ascertain the best gaming nation. As you would expect from wealth distribution the top three teams have a combined winnings pot that is greater than the next twelve countries combined.
They may be famed for their Ice Hockey but I’ll be damned if those Canucks can’t play a mean game of Dota 2. The country boasts an impressive 1237 pro gamers and specialises in Dota 2, Counter Strike and Smite. They took a cool 10.3 million in earnings, not bad, but then it’s to be expected by a country so big. Well at least physically, it is second only to Russia in terms of “real estate” but shockingly only the 38th most populated country on this rock we call home. Weird eh?
Sweden may be famed for its flat-packed furniture and its yummy meatballs but there is a lot more to the Swedes than meets the eye. The Nordic country is Europe’s gaming elite. It plays host to more than 1500 pro gamers not bad for a country with a population only just north of ten million. Those gamers have been doing their mothers proud as well. The nation has a combined winnings of just shy of nineteen million dollars that would buy you a hell of a lot of plastic Viking hats, you know if that’s your thing.
3) South Korea
The South Koreans are famed for their technological superiority with brands like Samsung and LG originating there, so it is perhaps no surprise to see them competing with the elite when it comes to eSports. What is perhaps more surprising is that Korea’s Asian cousins Japan does not appear in the top five despite the fact two of the world’s three biggest console developers in the form on Sony and Nintendo originate there. I guess just because you build something it doesn’t mean that you are good at it. South Korea is home to almost 1900 pro-gamers and their crew pulled a whopping 44.2 million between them. Starcraft and League of Legends make them the majority of their earnings.
It was inevitable that the US would appear fairly near the top of the list. Video game culture is ingrained in the US as much as the Star Spangled Banner and Apple Pie. The global superpower plays host to more tournaments than any other nation and this probably factors into their position as does the fact that they have a staggering 7484 pro gamers spread throughout. But then you might expect that from the worlds third most populated nation with more than 300 million residents. It has pulled an impressive 46.9 million in winnings, mostly from Call of Duty and Halo, but that still isn’t enough to top the table.
The Chinese are the nation that sits proudly atop the eSports leaderboard. For those who know a little about the gaming industry, this will offer little surprise. Gaming is huge in China. Interestingly despite being the most populous country on the planet, the Chinese have less competitive players than both the US and South Korea, but they prove that quality trumps quantity as their gamers took a total of 52.2 million. Their main vice? Why of course it’s Dota 2.