Putting together sports and gaming into eSports has been a roaring success, and more and more players are making money competing on a professional basis. In this article, we’re taking a look at 5 of the most successful players from New Zealand, determined by career earnings.
While New Zealand is more associated with rugby than eSports it does have plenty of gaming pros. On top of the New Zealand tree when it comes to eSports and earnings is Sean Kaiwai, better known by his handle of Gratisfaction. A player focused on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), Gratisfaction specializes in the fast-paced FPS game and has amassed, at the time of writing, just over $123,000 in career earnings.
His professional eSports time began in 2016 when he made a couple of thousand dollars, (about a fifth of which came from offline/LAN gaming, the rest being online), which rose to $10,000 the following year. Gratisfaction’s best year to date was 2019 when he made a tasty $56,400, more than twice what he made in the years before and after. Interestingly, this was entirely offline and the only year he never made anything from online play.
The following year he made $24,700, and earnings in 2021 were altogether more modest at just $3,425.
Online Betting Flourishes
The rise in popularity and spectator numbers for eSports has seen betting interest also increase, with more sportsbooks offering various markets on the major categories (Dota 2, League of Legends, CS:GO, etc). This increasing trend is something that has also been seen with online casino gaming, which has the advantage of being accessible at the convenience of the player.
For NZ bettors, the handy list in the link is the quick and easy way to find the best online casino New Zealand has to offer, which combines excellent games with generous bonuses, and assorted online payment systems to suit the wallet of any player.
The downside of online casinos is that sorting the pick of the bunch from mediocre offerings can be very time-consuming, which is why using a review website’s list (such as the one in our link) makes sense. That way you can spend more time playing and less time searching the internet.
Next up on our list of leading New Zealand gamers is Cameron Ingram, who plays under the name Kamii and is a talented player of Rocket League. Although this is not in the top tier of pro eSports, Kamii has nevertheless racked up total earnings of over $100,000, with a career spanning 81 tournaments and earning him $102,334.34.
After the first career year of 2017, Kamii has made around $20,000 or so consistently each year, and is, at the time of writing, on $11,600 in 2022 (roughly halfway through the year). Never straying from Rocket League, this player’s success proves that viable careers can be enjoyed with games beyond the obvious likes of CS:GO, League of Legends, and Dota 2.
Kamii has played for multiple teams but has achieved the most success ($68.2k earnings which equate to over 66% of career earnings) with the Renegades team, of which he is the sixth top player at the time of writing.
Using the name ‘Parpy’, Abdullah Khudeish has made quite the name for himself as New Zealand’s foremost Fortnite player. In only 24 tournaments and two gaming years, he earnt $94,603.80 and put himself in the third spot for all-time earnings by Kiwi eSports pros.
Almost all of this ($92,275.00) was in 2019 and due in large part to the inaugural Fortnite World Cup. This tournament had a top solo prize bigger than many mainstream sports tournaments and attracted huge interest around the world. Parpy competed and made a cool $50,000 for reaching the Duo Finals and finishing in the 3rd to 64th bracket.
He only made a couple of thousand in 2020 and has not played since, but if the Fortnite World Cup rolls around again then Parpy will surely be tempted to see if he can match or exceed his previous exploits.
Just a few hundred dollars behind Parpy is Link, who has made $94,238.80 while also playing Fortnite. His real name is Ethan (surname undisclosed) and there are more than a few similarities in addition to the near-identical earnings.
Ninety-five percent ($89,525) of Link’s income from eSports was made during 2019, and he also made a rather nice $50,000 playing in the Fortnite World Cup. However, Link’s attention was focused on the Solo event, and he finished in the 65th to 128th bracket to bag his sizeable payout.
Also, like Parpy, Link made a much smaller sum in 2020 and has not competed since, though it would be unsurprising if he considered getting back into the game if another World Cup beckoned.
Finally on our list of leading New Zealand eSports gamers is Reihana Green, better known as Slaya. After all, women like videogames just as much as men.
Like our previous two entries, Slaya is focused on Fortnite and has made 100% of her eSports income playing this game. And there’s a similar story when it comes to the Fortnite World Cup too. Her total income over 30 tournaments come to $79,158.20, with $74,425 of that coming in 2019, the year of the World Cup (an event that defines a lot of Kiwi eSports careers).
Slaya finished in the same Solo bracket as Link to bag herself $50,000, more than half her total eSports career earnings. Likewise, she made a few thousand in 2020 but has not played professionally more recently.
That wraps up our look at the top five New Zealand eSports players, covering CS:GO, Rocket League, and Fortnite.