The rise of online mobile gaming: The era of unknown heroes

Not all heroes wear capes

Twenty years ago, our sporting idols plied their trade on football fields, basketball courts, and soccer pitches. Nowadays, online gaming and esports allow another avenue for dedicated players to reach the top of their games and bask in the adulation of fans across the globe. In this article, we profile four gamers who have, through their achievements on the screen, gone on to become household names and heroes to tens of thousands of avid fans with the rise of online mobile gaming.

Famous eSports athletes

1. Chen Zhengzheng

Chen “Cat” Zhengzheng is an Arena of Valor mobile professional player from China. Last year the relatively unknown ‘Cat’ rose to prominence when he won the Honor of King world champion Cup 2019. In the last round of the tournament, he cemented himself as the crowd favorite by effortlessly blowing his opponents away. The win made Chen instantly rich, as he claimed $380,810 in prize money, but he insisted that he wasn’t going to blow his winning on anything fancy.

Instead, he promised to save most of his winnings and only splash out on a new monitor and a new desk for his trophy. The most interesting thing about him is, he earned total prize money of $465,685 from only 3 tournaments. Out of the total amount, he earned $380,810 in 2019 alone. He generally plays from two teams and that is Qiao Gu Reapers and eStar Gaming. EStar Gaming was founded by XiaoOt and is a Chinese professional e-sports club. Currently, there are League of Legends, Honor of Kings, and QQ Speed division.

2. Brian Dragotto

Brian Dragotto is an American player who won a one-time promotional competition for Turbo Racing League. Turbo Racing League is a racing game, but instead of controlling cars, bikes, planes, or anything like that, you take control of snails. But these are no ordinary snails, they are the fastest mollusks to be found anywhere in the animal kingdom. He earned $290,000 from only 3 tournaments and out of the 3 tournaments where Brian Dragotto received a cash prize, the largest was $250,000 from Turbo Racing League.

3. Viktor Blom (Isildur1 or Blom90)

When poker went through its Golden Age in the early noughties, the inspiration for that was the televised World Series of Poker (WSOP) championships. Millions of fans from all around the world tuned in to see pros like Chris Moneymaker and Sammy Farha face off against one another However, towards the end of the noughties the game began to shift to being played predominantly online.

One of the key figures in the success of competitive online poker was Swedish card player Viktor Blom. Under the username Isildur1, Blom took part in all of the top 10 highest online pots in 2009, cementing his name as one of the top online poker players in history. Since then Blom has been a mainstay of the online poker world and has scooped over $3 million in winnings. His style of play and humble background have also ensured his status as an idol to millions of poker fans around the world.

4. Spencer Owen Carmichael-Brown (Spencer FC)

The soccer game franchise FIFA Mobile has helped to launch the career of a number of well-known YouTube stars in the past couple of decades. However, the most interesting story of success comes from 32-year-old Englishman Spencer Carmichael-Brown.

Spencer rose to fame with his FIFA YouTube channel where he competed in challenges and tournaments and also played with real-life professional footballers. He then used this fame to branch out and create a YouTube series documenting the trials and tribulations of his Sunday League side Hashtag United. Founded in 2016 the team took part in regular run-of-the-mill games as well as huge, fan-packed exhibitions at Wembley Stadium. In 2018 though, Spencer entered Hashtag United into the official FA pyramid.

What do you think about the rise in online mobile gaming and esports gamers? Who is your favorite Youtuber? Drop-in your opinions in the comment section below!

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