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New Zealand’s Top Gaming Players of 2021

New Zealand has uncapped potential and favorable prospects about game development, Statistics also prove that women are participating equally to men in gaming

Vineet Maheswahri - Tue, 15 Feb 2022 13:21:40 +0000 4364 Views
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With technological advancements and smartphones becoming more affordable, the gaming industry is truly thriving in recent years. This fact is no different for New Zealand’s gaming market with nearly 3/4 of the population playing games in the past few years.

These figures accentuate the country’s reputation as a creative hub for developers and the potential to change the industry into a billion-dollar market.

New Zealand has uncapped potential and favorable prospects with regard to game development. It offers a solid education program with schools teaching specific skills that aid in game development.

Online gaming is also moving towards being more inclusive in order to create a universal and shared positive user experience. Statistics in New Zealand also prove that women are participating equally to men in gaming. Recent trends have proven that gaming is breaking away from archaic stigmas and stereotypes around men being the only gamers.

These statistics are a testament to the popularity of gaming in New Zealand. In fact, gaming has become such a popular activity that many individuals now play games for a living rather than as a hobby.

Gaming as a Career

Gaming is distancing itself from being an activity solely of leisure and is now presenting itself as a lucrative source of income. To elaborate, the face of gaming has undergone a process of professionalization whereby it is now regarded as a realistic career choice.

In particular, eSports has risen in popularity with 223 million eSports players.  A large portion of money earners in eSports are due to Dota 2 which has aided in illustrating the substantial flourishing that eSports has undergone.

New Zealand’s top-paid Gamers

In this context, in 2021, Johan “N0tail” Sundtstein was the world’s richest professional competitive gamer earning nearly $7 million. Johan plays for the professional eSports organization “OG” and has earned his money by playing ‘Dota 2’, which is a multiplayer online battle arena video game. His team won The International tournament in both 2018 and 2019. Sundstein makes his money primarily from prize money and winning competitions.

Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka is the second biggest earner in the field of eSports. Having played Dota 2 and for the same organization as Johan, his primary earnings come from prize money. He also owns a merchandise website as well as his own clothing brand.

Following in the footsteps of Sundstein and Vainikka, Anathan “ana” Pham is a professional Dota 2 player and the third-highest eSports earner in the world. He also earns his money from winning competitions as he has won two major championships.

The top global earners in the gaming industry can be contrasted with those in New Zealand. Collectively, the top-paid eSports players in New Zealand have made $435,185 from their winnings.

Sean Kaiwai has made the most money of all New Zealand based eSports players who acquire his income by playing Counterstrike. In second place is Abdullah Khudeish who earned $94,603.80 in 2021 by playing Fortnite. The third highest earner is Ethan who also plays Fortnite It is not just eSports that are gaining a considerable amount of attention in New Zealand.


Rise of Online Gambling

Gambling sites are also on the rise in New Zealand with statistics showing that the Kiwis spent roughly NZ$ 620 on online casino games during 2018 and 2019. The industry has grown rapidly in recent years all over the world.

Engaging with gambling sites is becoming more well known in New Zealand due to relaxed attitudes and easier access. Online casino providers operating in New Zealand such as 888 are also offering various promotions to their players including a 100% welcome bonus for new players who sign-up, encouraging more people to trail out online casinos.

And with the online casino growth trends in mind, it is predicted that we will witness a surge in pro poker players finding themselves in this year’s (2022) highest earned gamers due to the popularity of online casino games.

This is because there are now more than 120 million people who play online poker around the globe. The popularity of online poker is largely attributed to an impressive development in online poker sites with better graphics and visuals as well as offering more features and chances to interact.

There is also the opportunity to earn money and profit from the money you invest into the game which is attractive for many individuals who play online casinos. New Zealand already has established several great poker players including Lee Nelson and Sosia Jiang. 

To conclude, the success of gaming players in 2021 in New Zealand is a testament to how online gaming is always evolving and expanding.

Many are now looking at playing online games for an accessible and convenient way to engage in virtual activities as well as having the potential to have a viable source of income!

With eSports set to transform from a million dollar to a billion-dollar industry by 2023, the gaming industry in New Zealand and globally should witness more people earning through online gaming.



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