Starcraft Statistics: Nation Wars, Which Country Tops the Earnings List

Published on 12/07/2016 17:00 PST by ROOT Gaming

This week's topic is a bit more fun rather than educational but still may provide some insight, which I'm never against. Today I want to look at how much players from individual countries earned to see which countries had the best year. Last year we saw the rise of France as Lilbow and MarineLorD had very good years' while the traditional behemoths of Germany slipped a bit and North America really didn't make an impact outside of two Latin American players, MajOr and Kelazhur.

In terms of earning power in Starcraft 2 South Korea has always been the powerhouse and that remained unchanged in 2016 where the nation remained the highest grossing country with almost eight times the earnings of the second highest earning nation. Even when comparing regions, Korea earned twice as much as the second highest earning region and more than the other five regions combined. Let's take a look at the break down of earnings by region along with the highest earning country in that region:

All numbers are as of December 3rd, 2016 and are aggregate of e-Sports Earnings and Aligulac

Highest Earning Country
South Korea
North America
United States
South East Asia
South Africa

One of the biggest changes this year was that the North American and Chinese regions both made significantly more money. There were a few reasons for this. On the North American side we had Neeb's return to high level of play and Scarlett's return to the game in general since she took parts of 2015 off from Starcraft 2. These two players combined for $140,836, more than the NA region earned combined in 2015. China's rise isn't due to one or two players improvement, though the steps taken by players like Cyan and iAsonu should be noted, but mostly it's the rise of the Chinese tournament scene. China hosted two Premier tournaments, has two more Premier tournaments upcoming and also hosted five Major class tournaments. Combine this with a booming online tournament scene and Chinese players have had the chance to compete on a large stage far more often than in the past.

But enough on that, which country earned the most money after Korea? To read the table let's look at South Korea. They had 89 players win prize money for a total of $1,533,337. South Koreans won 19 Premier or Major tournaments. The nation's top earner was ByuN with $279,023 in winnings.

Total Earnings
Top Earner
South Korea
United States

Players obviously take pride when they earn money and represent their nation well, as the NationWars tournament showed where France started Legacy of the Void off well by taking down Korea 5-0 in the finals. But since then two things changed, the rise of Poland. Nerchio has always been the face of Poland, ranking 9th among foreigners all time a year ago but likely higher now, but he probably had his best year in 2016. Combine that with the rise of Elazer, who finished 2015 strong and took that next step in 2016, where he was unable to win a tournament but his consistent results allowed him to qualify for Blizzcon where he made it further than any foreigner, all the way to the semi finals. While MaNa wasn't able to replicate his 2015 success Poland saw some unexpected players perform consistently in online tournaments in players like Guru and souL. France has normally leaned on players like Lilbow and MarineLorD but it was an odd year for the country. Lilbow abandoned Blizzcon training to practice for Legacy of the Void but had poor results and has since retired. MarineLorD finished the year strong but due to mistakes early in the year, missed out on a few tournaments. This lead to PtitDrogo to become to new carrier of the baguette when he won the first DreamHack of Legacy of the Void.

China rise was noted above, they also pass last year's titan France. The other big riser was the United States and Canada who moved into the top 10 nations on the back of a strong player. Germany has traditionally be a high performing country and ShoWTimE did his best, having a very good year capped with many great finishes but he earned 72% of all of Germany's prize money. Norway was a similar story with Snute having a fantastic year but he alone earned 97% of all of Norway's earnings. This was one area that separated Korea and China from the rest, there was no single earner carrying their country. ByuN's massive prize only accounted for 18% of all of Korea's money and iAsonu's year was only 19% of China's takeaway this year.

This may also have truly been the Year of Hastem but uThermal out earned his countryman to take the top Netherlands spot. I also think no one is surprised by Has taking the highest Taiwanese spot with Sen gone.

Now while not all countries ranked in the top 10 that doesn't mean they didn't have rivalries. In the Latin American scene for example the past two years has seen the battle between Mexico and Brazil raged. For most of Starcraft 2's life span Mexico has been the dominant force with MajOr leading the way but with Kelazhur's rise in 2015 we saw Brazil step onto the big stage. In 2015 Kelazhur and Brazil kept up with Mexico stride for stride, ending the year only a few hundred dollars apart in earnings. But 2016 was a big year for Brazil with MajOr suspended for part of the year and Kelazhur posting great results but a surprise Mexican player kept his nation in the mix, Kelazhur's new teammate Cham. 2016 saw Kelazhur, Cham and MajOr all win an individual season of the Copa America series with Kelazhur taking the Grand Finals. This is actually pretty amazing considering MajOr had won 10 out of the 11 Copa events he has participated in, only losing last year to Kelazhur. No player has dominated a region like MajOr has, not Taiwan due to Sen and Has or any other region or player I can think of.

Obviously Korea continued to be the force we know it to be but for the foreign scene it was a great and exciting year. Different nations rose to the top, whole regions saw a boom in earnings and old dogs had to earn their keep against up and coming countries and players. While I won't list all the earnings of each nation, due to table mechanics in this editor, if you want to know how a nation did or if a player was a big or small part of a nation's earnings, let me know in the comments and I'll answer.

I'm excited for next week, I've gotten my data back and I'll be covering a questionnaire I did with over a hundred low level players who only play the game casually where I truly wanted to find out if what they think is fun and unfun is the same as what people on the forums, reddit or Team Liquid think.

About the author:

Topher is an American football and eSports writer with a focus on statistical metadata research. You can follow Topher on Twitter

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