Lee Jaedong's second-place run at the WCS 2013 Global Finals at BlizzCon - his fifth finish as a runner-up since June of this year - netted him $45,000 to total $489,384 all-time winnings according to tracking site esportsearnings. Lee's success has now knocked off former FPS deathmatch superstar Wendel who has held the top-earnings title for 13 years and has not competed professionally in the last 6. The accomplishment wasn't lost on Lee, who has won multiple coveted OnGameNet StarLeague titles for StarCraft: Brood War.
"It's an honor to be the highest-earnings esports player ever" Lee told onGamers. "I really think this is an extraordinary feat for me to achieve. I will try to keep this honorable place at the top."
Wendel has earned $454,544 over the course of his career, the bulk of it coming from playing Painkiller on the Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL) World Tour in 2005. Wendel's largest payout came at the World Tour Finals in New York City, coming back from 0-2 down to win 4 straight games against Sander 'Vo0' Kaasjager to earn $150,000. In addition to Painkiller, he has a diverse set of accomplishments among esports players, with winnings in 6 other games most notably Quake 3, Quake 4, Doom 3, and Alien vs Predator 2. Wendel says he's all smiles for Lee.
"Congrats to Jaedong for a long successful career in StarCraft", Wendel said to onGamers. "Definitely a true champion in gaming."
Wendel cited the poor state of competitive deathmatch FPS games in the current landscape of gaming. Games such as Quake and Unreal Tournament, which built early foundation for esports in the West and were highly prevalent in the late 90's to early 2000's, have been looked over in favor of modern realistic shooters.
"As for me keeping the #1 spot for about 13 years now, I wish I could of kept it longer of course, but with the downfall of competitive FPS games in the last 6 years and my own personal adventures of spreading eSports and my gaming brand world wide, it has changed my focus completely and made this one statistic hard to maintain". Wendel said. "As for the future, I'm always playing and if the right game title comes out, with the right prize purse up for grabs, I would definitely be game!"
Close behind both players in third is JD Lee's longtime rival Lee 'Flash' Young Ho with $446,371. YH Lee has not had the same success in StarCraft 2 as he had in Brood War, with only one top 3 finish in 2013. SK Gaming's Jang 'MC' Min Chul recently broke the $400,000 mark with all of his earnings coming from StarCraft 2.
Danil 'Dendi' Ishutin and Jonathan 'Loda' Berg among teammates of Dota 2 squads Na'Vi and Alliance are not far behind with their placings at Valve's million-dollar International tournaments. Jang 'Moon' Jae Ho impressive career in WarCraft 3 rounds out the current Top 10.
Photo Credit: Teamliquid.net