Despite all the significant setbacks forced up the Esports universe by the coronavirus pandemic, you can still play a popular online game in 2021 and earn real money prizes. It’s true that in 2020, the purses of CS:GO, Dota 2, League of Legends, Book of Ra, and Heroes of the Storm professional gamers suffered a massive blow, on account of LAN tournaments being moved online.

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In light of this, here are the top 5 online game apps with real money prizes in 2021:

1. CS:GO 

The all-time ruler of FPS games manages to maintain the top position in terms of prize money this year as well. After a devastating 2019, the CS:GO online game earn money platform managed a quick bounce back last year, with no less than $14.76M in prize money offerings. And, by the looks of it, the situation is about to repeat itself in 2021 as well. This is most likely due to the fact that out of major Esports, CS:GO is by far the most adaptable free online game out there, with an ecosystem that managed to adapt to online-only in record time. CS:GO organizers reacted fast to the newly-imposed restrictions and shifted all major tournaments to regional scenes, thus being able to continue delivering non-stop content throughout the whole year. 

2. Dota 2

The former titleholder, Dota 2, did not have it as good as other online game platforms. With its main attraction, The International, completely shut down, this online game saw a drastic decrease in prize money in 2019. We’re talking about $8.87M, which by comparison to the previous years, is more than a 400% drop.  Practically, 2020 has shown just how much Dota 2 relies on online gameplay, and on its prestigious Tier 1 Tournament. This is not to say that the decrease is irreparable, though. We’re already expecting a powerful comeback as The International is set to resume in 2021, in Bucharest, Romania. We can only hope that there will be no more online game gambling in terms of Dota 2 prizes from now on, and only straight ascension.

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3. League of Legends

In terms of viewership numbers, League of Legends is one of the few online game platforms that actually managed to persevere. Reaching a grand total of $8.0M in prize money offered in 20219, LoL is actually on an ascending trend as opposed to the previous years. Getting closer and closer to the former No. 1, League of Legends is mainly aided by the thousands of online game streaming channels that advertise and broadcast top-tier matches all over the world. And, unlike any other online game from this list, LoL is the one platform where the generous prize money awarded comes second after the prestige of the competition.

4. Fortnite

With no less than $7.87M in total prize money offered in 2019, it’s safe to say that Fortnite has come a very long way in the online game earn money hierarchy. However, the king of the battle royale genre was actually the top slots in 2018, and we can only blame the downfall on the effects of the worldwide pandemic. But even without the Fortnite World Cup 2020 edition, this online game is still going strong, especially after having handled no less than $3.0M to 16-year-old “Bugha” back in 2019. 

5. Call of Duty

Following a reported $6.27M in total prize money in 2019, and the recent launch of the Call of Duty League in 2020, this online game has managed to hold its own since the beginning of the pandemic-induced downfall. The largest COD Online Tournament last year paid out no less than $250K, and with Activision Blizzard having started to allocate serious funds for a semi-pro open ecosystem, the prognosis for the year in course can only be a positive one. 


Final Thoughts on Online Game Prize Money

While there have been some major changes on the online game arcade prize money podium, it’s fair to say that most of the top contenders have managed to adjust the current settings. And while LAN parties and official tournaments took a severe blow, the solution of shifting most of the professional scenes to the online environment was taken by each candidate at the right time. After all, it started out with online gameplay with friends’ sessions, and having official competitions follow the same model is not too drastic of a move. But we’re curious to find out what you are taking on the top online games in terms of prize money, and how do you perceive the major changes through which esports have gone recently.

Author’s Bio
Jeremy Ambrose is a dedicated Esports journalist and an incurable CS:GO sniper. He has been involved in the professional CS:GO circuit in the UK for years now, and is an active follower and supporter of all other major Esport platforms.