South Korean 'Starcraft' star becomes the highest-earning player in eSports
With two big wins launching him into the semi-finals at this weekend's World Championship Series at Anaheim's BlizzCon, South Korea's Lee Jae Dong is guaranteed at least $17,500, and may win as much as $100,000 if he claims first place.
His current career earnings of $444,384.83 put him third on the list according to e-Sports Earnings, behind fellow StarCraft pro Flash with $446,371 and Quake legend Fatal1ty with $454,554 in total prize money.
Jaedong is now guaranteed to go to the top of the all-time list.
Most of Jaedong's winnings come from his days as a StarCraft: Brood War professional in South Korea. He's considered one of the greatest players of all time in that game, with six major championships under his belt.
Jaedong's last championship win came in 2010 under controversial circumstances. In the middle of a huge battle while the series was tied against rival Flash, the power in the Seoul stadium suddenly became overloaded and went out. Everything went black and the audience began to scream.
Referees declared Jaedong the winner of that game. Flash, utterly dumbfounded and furious at his loss, was crushed—he lost every subsequent game. Since then, Flash has beaten Jaedong in three championship grand finals.
Jaedong's transition to StarCraft II has been troubled by failure at the highest levels as well. Since his 2010 win, he's been a runner up in seven straight finals appearances and is desperately searching for his first major title of the new game.
Even if he doesn't win the biggest title in StarCraft II this weekend, Jaedong will at least vault past his rival Flash to become the highest earning player ever. But make no mistake: Jaedong wants to win.
"I haven't been able to win a SC2 tournament," he told OnGamers.com. "If I'm able to win BlizzCon, I think it'll be one of the biggest accomplishments of my life."