Have you ever heard of a professional gamer? It is a thing and can be quite a lucrative thing. A professional gamer is someone who, simply put, plays video games for money, whether prize money from competitions or even a salary. Gamers usually study the game in order to figure out all the tricks and tips and further their chances of winning in this eSport.
Gaming has traditionally been “boy’s club,” with gamers such as Kuro Takhasomi (KuroKy) from Germany, Amer Barqawi (Miracle) from Jordan, and America’s Saahil Arora (UNiVeRsE) earning upwards of $3 million apiece for simply doing what they love. That tradition is changing…
Meet five female gamers who are crushing the world of eSports.
Sasha Hostyn, otherwise known as “Scarlett,” is a 25-year old transgender female gamer from Canada. Her game of choice: StarCraft II. A professional female gamer since 2012, she is the only female gamer to win a major international StarCraft II tournament. Most recently, she celebrated winning the SC2 IEM PyeongChang 2018 championship.
The New Yorker called Scarlett “the most accomplished woman in e-sports,” and she made a 2014 list of 50 Admirable Gaming People. Having competed in over 140 tournaments, Scarlett is the highest paid female gamer in the world, with over $200,000 and counting in prize money.
Katherine Gunn, otherwise known as “Mystik,” is a 30 year old female gamer from California. Her game of choice is Halo: Reach. She is a member of the professional gaming team Team EnVyUs, which currently streams on Twitch.tv.
Mystik comes from a family of gamers – growing up, her family owned a comic book store – and has been professional competing since 2007. In 2015 she was listed as the highest earning female gamer until she was ousted by Scarlett. Today, she maintains the title of second highest paid female gamer, with just shy of $200,000 in winnings.
Among her various accomplishments, she won the second season of the Syfy channel’s WCG Ultimate Gamer and also competed in the Championship Gaming Series. You can watch her on Twitch.tv as a member of the professional gaming team Team EnVyUs.
3.) Kasumi Chan
Marjorie Bartell, otherwise known as “Kasumi Chan,” is a 30-something former professional gamer who specialized in fighting games. She has since retired from the gaming industry, but her game of choice was Dead or Alive 4. In fact, the name “Kasumi Chan” was inspired by a character of a similar name from Dead or Alive.
She began playing professionally in 2006, and in following the year took home $50,000 in winnings when she placed in the Championship Gaming Series at North American League.
2.) Ricki Ortiz
Ricki Ortiz is a 30-something professional transgender gamer from California who, unlike her female gamer counterparts, goes by her real name. Similar to Kasumi Chan, she specializes in fighting games. Her games of choice are Street Fighter V and Marvel vs. Capcom, but she has also won or placed in numerous North American events playing Capcom vs. SNK 2.
Riki has been competing since 2000 and has played in over 60 games as part of the team Evil Geniuses. Her highest single winnings resulted from the Capcom Cup 2016, where she placed second and won $60,000.
1.) Sarah Lou
Sarah Harrison, who, in the gaming world, goes by “Sarah Lou,” is a British-born female gamer who, like Mystik, specializes in Dead or Alive 4. However, unlike the other female gamers on our list, she has only played in one official tournament; despite her greenness, she ranks as the 5th highest earning female gamer in the world.
Sarah Lou has little to no gaming history. She was drafted into the 2008 Birmingham Salvo team for the Championship Gaming Series, and, in her debut tournament, helped lead her team to victory. She took home more than $50,000 in winnings and retired from the gaming industry. To date, she hasn’t entered any major tournaments.
While professional gaming has traditionally been a male-dominated industry, that gap should soon be closing as more and more female gamers join the ranks. Keep an eye on Mystik and Scarlett, and expect to see a few faces in this years’ tournaments.
Are you a gamer? Tell us in the comments what your favorite game is. Or, tell us who your favorite female gamers are and why!