Professional Gamer SumaiL makes it to TIME’s 30 Most Influential Teen list
Recently, a Dota 2 professional player made it to the list of TIME Magazine’s 30 Most Influential teenagers. That’s right, a teenager playing Dota 2 made it alongside Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles, political activist Malala Yousafzai, and US presidential daughters Sasha and Malia Obama as 2016’s most influential teens.
Syed Sumail Hassan, who goes by the nickname SumaiL, is a professional Dota 2 player of the Team Evil Geniuses. At the age of 17, this teenager broke into the professional scene, made a mark to thousands, if not millions, of fans as Dota 2’s boy wonder, and now received an acclamation from TIME Magazine. He is the only Electronic Sports (eSports) player to make it to the list, and he stands side-by-side young actors, singers, entrepreneurs, activists and celebrities.
Dota 2 is a game by Valve Corporation, and has grown by millions in terms of player audience. Most especially, it is the largest eSport by far. Dota 2 (Defense of the Ancients 2) is a 2011 revival of the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) of its first iteration taken from the Warcraft 3 franchise.
Held in Key Arena Seattle, its recent premier tournament, The International 2016, has just hosted a collective prize pool of more than USD 20,000,000. For 2016, the Chinese team Wings Gaming has won the tournament and took home USD 9,139,002.
Hassan’s team Evil Geniuses, who reigned in The International 2015 (taking home USD 6,634,661), has finished this year’s as second runner-up (taking home USD 2,180,898).
Dota 2 is the biggest eSports event by far, but the whole of eSports itself is growing in terms of popularity. For example, Dota 2’s biggest competitor, League of Legends, has recently held its World Championship in Madison Square Garden, New York – a venue that can house about 18,200 viewers. Another Valve eSports game, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, which was also held in New York, is also an extremely famous event in terms of viewership and prize pool.
As eSports events start to increase commercial opportunities in New York, California and throughout the World, its huge audience made someone like Sumail Hassan as a truly influential personality.
SumaiL broke into the scene from being a “pub-star” in public matches to making it to the leaderboards of the best player with the highest win rate in the most highly-skilled match-ups. He then became inducted in the Evil Geniuses training program, and eventually became that 15-year old official mid-laner for EG. SumaiL was subbed in the official roster when Evil Geniuses’ former frontliner Artour Babaev left the team. Consequently, Hassan is the main man of Evil Geniuses as the team looked to participate in the Dota Asia Cup (DAC) 2015.
Aside from numerous successful tournament finishes, Hassan is a known personality for the Dota 2 scene by being one of the top streamers with the most viewership.
“Hassan has become the youngest person ever to earn $1 million playing competitive video games, making him a phenomenon in the rapidly growing world of “e-sports.”,” Sean Gregory from TIME wrote. “Hassan’s game of choice is Dota 2, in which experts say he’s a Michael Jordan-like figure in terms of skill. But despite his rising profile, he still puts family first: Hassan recently used some of his prize money—now at $2.3 million and counting—to buy a house for his parents and five siblings, with whom he moved to the U.S. in 2014.”
DAC of February 2015 was his first LAN tournament – he was only promoted to the official EG lineup in January 2015, and he already gained international acclamation because of his signature-style hyper-aggressive Storm Spirit plays. Four day before his 16th birthday, he was already a champion mid-laner for that USD 1.2 Million prized event.
SumaiL continued to be successful with Evil Geniuses, winning LAN tournaments such as Dota Pit Season 3. Later on, he won The International 2015 at the age of 16.
Now, he is still part of the lineup of Evil Geniuses, who recently finished as 3rd placers of The International 2016 and champions of MarsTV Dota League Season 2. His approximate total (and individual) earnings reach about USD 2,310,582.