Earning Nation Wars

Published on 02/20/2020 08:58 PST by Topher Doll

This topic is a bit more fun rather than educational but still may provide some insight, which I'm never against. What I want to dive into a bit today is the earnings of each nation during the lifetime of Starcraft 2. I think without a lot of work everyone would say that South Korean players have earned the most prize money in Starcraft 2 but after that is when things get a bit more interesting to explore. To explore this topic I want to examine the topic from two angles: total earnings and number of players to earn a prize check for that country. Let us get into the meat of this. It is organized in a fairly simple manner but let us do a quick example. South Korea has a total earnings of $19,714,365 by 630 players, for an average of $31,293 per player. By comparison China, which is in 2nd place in total earnings, has $1,370,217 from 251 players for an average of $5,459 per player.


No big takeaways from South Korea being in 1st place but also having the most players, by a wide margin of over double the 2nd or 3rd place nation, is interesting. China being 2nd may surprise some though as the scene has been fairly isolated until the fall of KeSPA and the rise of Chinese teams and leagues. But even prior to that change China has been an earning power house with their many in-nation tournaments, strong online results and long careers from players like MacSed, iAsonu, Jim, TooDming and XiGua along with rising sensation TIME. After that things seem to make a bit more sense to the average fan. Neeb and Idra have long resumes and long time staples in puCK, ViBE and JonSnow help life the United States to 3rd. 4th is Finland, carried on the back of Serral's winnings but old dogs Welmu and elfi add more than a little the count. From 5th to 7th you have probably some of the deepest foreigner nations. Poland has legends in Nerchio, Elazer, MaNa and others. France has a top earners list made up of titans like Stephano, PtitDrogo, Lilbow and MarineLorD while you can list the top German earners in ShoWTimE, HeRoMaRinE and TLO and still leave off some historical names.

Scarlett, HuK and MaSa lead Canada while the older names like NaNiwa, SortOf and ThorZaIN join the modern duo of Zanster and Namshar for Sweden. To round out the top 10, it is no surprise to see the polar opposites of Sen and Has leading the way for Taiwan.

But I think the real interesting stuff comes from the next two columns over in the total players and the average per player. South Korea is bouyed by a massive prize earnings to offset the incredible number of players while Finland has a fantastic earnings per player due the monster that is Serral. The battle in the EU is interesting as well when you compare juggernaut nations like Germany, France and Poland. As we look lower it opens up more info, Reynor's impact on Italy is instantly noticable but Russia having the 7th most players shows their long tradition in the RTS genre and the impact of players like Happy, Brat_OK  and Slivko. Near the bottom of the list we see some unique nations like Chile, Singapore and Turkey who round out the list.

Now the list is a bit of an odd one, in that I am including the top 26. The reason why I'm doing that will be made clear in the next graph. With this information we have on total earnings as well as the number of players who have won prize money for the nation we can create a neato X Y plot to get a different way to view the information. The X, horizontal, axis is the number of players who earned prize money while the Y, vertical, axis is the total earnings of that nation. So visual it will break down like this:

- Nations in the top right corner have a lot of players and a lot prize money

- Top left Corner have few players and a lot of prize money

- Bottom right is a lot of players but low earnings

- Bottom left is low earning players and low prize money

Now to dive in...

Well South Korea kind of ruins this graph by being so far ahead in both categories that it just makes the rest kind of meaningless, which is why I decided to include the top 26, because to really learn anything from this chart we need to exclude South Korea, which we do in the next plot:

Now we are getting somewhere. Thanks to the magic of our data and viz guru Mina we can see things a bit more clearly. China and the United States are clearly in a league of their own, among the foreign nations. The next tier is primarily made up of European nations and Canada who stand strong in earnings but also have fewer earning players than the tier above. Following those nations is a tier of countries that have had a few strong players and decent populations but are just a rung below. Lastly, you see lower-earning nations with far fewer players. Also by hovering over a nation, you can get a bit more information on each node.

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 few years have seen the battle between Mexico and Brazil raged. For most of Starcraft 2's lifespan, 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 and Cham's rise has added depth to Mexico. New Zealand and Australia also are outside the top 10 but have some unique numbers and well-known names on their roster. Obviously Korea continues to be the force we know it to be but for the foreign scene, it was a great and exciting year. Different nations rose while whole regions saw a boom in earnings and old dogs had to earn their keep against up and coming countries and players. 2020 will see the start of a whole new circuit in the EPL and it will be interesting to see how things shape up and what nations will rise and fall in this new era.

And that is all folks. Thanks to Mina Ozgen for her great work on the tables and graphs on this, and all our, articles. Give her a follow on Twitter.