Celebrity is an interesting concept. For the most part, true superstars are well-known around the world. They may have made their name competing in pro sports leagues or in a more creative field, such as acting in Bollywood or performing in a musical group. But that doesn’t mean that superstars represent the only echelon of celebrity.
Every industry has its own list of ‘greats’. For example, chess fans know who Carl Magnussen is and why he’s important, while fans of weightlifting would be more familiar with a name like Pryyos Dimas. In other words, while millions might not ever become as famous as Leonardo DiCaprio (or a newly discovered Hollywood star like Pedro Pascal), they may very well succeed in becoming well-known in their industry.
In fact, there are thousands of people who have contributed blood, sweat, and tears to their preferred line of work. Many of them have also helped innovate their craft, leading to a better experience for all those interested in their field. At the moment, many gaming celebrities are ‘coming out of the woodwork’ as the industry becomes more mainstream. For example, a name like Ninja, one of the world’s most famous gamers, probably rings a few bells—even for those who aren’t all-in on eSports.
Let’s explore a few of the world’s biggest gaming celebrities whose names you haven’t heard of, along with what makes them famous.
Doyle Brunson, Godfather of Poker
If you’ve played a hand or two of poker, you’ve probably heard of American poker player Doyle Brunson, known as the ‘godfather of poker’. The icon, who recently passed away, was known for his performance at the World Series of Poker, which started back in the late 1970s. Brunson became the first player ever to rake in over $1 million from tournaments like the WSOP, leading him to be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame and dubbed by Bluff as the most influential force in poker.
So, what made Brunson the godfather of poker? Throughout his storied career, he went on to pen six books about the game. Much of his writings have since become accepted as the end-all guide to high-stakes cash games, which is how Brunson made his name and built his empire in the world of competitive poker.
Lee Sang-hyeok, aka Faker
Along with famous streamers like Ninja, aka Tyler Blevins, some eSports players are now becoming global celebrities in their own right. And many eSports fans, even if they don’t know which game he plays, are at least vaguely aware of a player named Faker. Faker is the gamer tag for South Korea’s Lee Sang-hyeok—aka the Michael Jordan of eSports.
Faker competes in League of Legends, a team-based game that requires players to overtake an enemy fort. Faker is, unsurprisingly, considered one of the best LoL players of all time. He’s taken home ten LoL World Championship titles, amongst others, with his teammates. Back in 2019, his growing fame saw him added to Forbes 30 Under 30 list.
Raúl Álvarez Genes, aka Auronplay
So far, we’ve covered gaming celebs like Ninja and Faker—but there’s a distinction between them. Ninja is famous for streaming his live gaming sessions, while Faker is famous for leading multiple eSports teams toward championship titles. Ninja represents the latest type of gaming celeb—one who is famous for their content before their gaming skills.
The same goes for Auronplay, who sits just behind Ninja when it comes to overall following as a streamer. As of February 2023, Auronplay has just over 29 million YouTube followers (the highest number in Spain) along with nearly 15 million Twitch followers (where he comes second to Ninja). Auronplay is known for his video productions as he explores new releases.
Henry Cavill, Actor-Gamer
Lastly, let’s cover one star who straddles two hugely different industries: Hollywood and gaming. Henry Cavill is known for his major roles, including Superman and, more recently, as Geralt of Rivia. The latter marks one of his most meaningful roles to date, which saw him depict the main character from one of his favorite PC games, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
Though the Netflix series is based on The Witcher books rather than the PC games, it catapulted Cavill into the spotlight as an avid gamer. Since the release of The Witcher on Netflix, Cavill has dropped the role—only to pick up an even larger project based on a (board) gaming universe: Warhammer 40k.
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