If you have even so much as a passing interest in video games, there’s a high chance you’ve come across eSports before! Competitive video gaming has exploded in popularity over the past decade, with an audience here in 2023 of over 318 million people. Did you know that eSports is expected to be worth over $138 billion by the end of this year?
To us millennials, it wasn’t all that long ago that video gaming was seen as a distracting hobby, but here in the 21st century it’s become a professional career path. We can thank the huge advances made in gaming technology and the internet for launching professional competitive gaming, but the industry would be nothing without gaming titles themselves. Every year, it seems there are brand new games being launched in the sector. However, there are some titles that dominate the landscape and reign supreme in terms of not just global popularity, but also prizes and prestige.
In this article, we’ll be counting down the five greatest eSports games of all time. These are the titles that you can expect to see plenty of options for when you visit the best eSports betting website platforms, as they’re the most played games in the world. Which games do you think will be making the cut?
eSports, short for electronic sports, comprises many different games and gaming genres. There’s no single definitive eSports game, nor are there games played professionally that aren’t freely available to play at home, so what exactly is it that makes an eSports game an eSports game?
Well, firstly, the game has to involve competitive play. Gaming genres have expanded massively since the early days of multiplayer, so today, competitive games include everything from first-person shooters to sports simulation titles and, of course, massively multiplayer online RPGs. An eSports game is also a test of skill and strategy, whether it’s intended for player vs player type gameplay or a more collaborative team-based.
Then there’s the viewership aspect. Much like professional sports events, eSports tournaments need to be spectator-friendly. While features like live commentary, analysis, and broadcasts can ramp up the audience experience, they can’t even save a game with boring content.
Now, without further ado, let’s take a look at the games we’ve crowned the GOAT!
- Released: 2009
- Developer: Riot Games
- Major Tournament: LoL World Championship Series
When it comes to eSports games, few are as iconic as League of Legends. Riot Games’ MOBA has a massive player base and its annual tournament, the League of Legends Championship Series, boasts a prize pool that’s even bigger at $2 million. The success of LoL’s popularity no doubt lies in its unique gameplay, which fuses RTS and RPG elements with tower defense. Renowned LoL players include Sang Hyeok Lee and Jun Sik Bae.
- Released: 2013
- Developer: Valve Corporation
- Major Tournament: The International
Defense of the Ancients 2, to give it its proper name, is one of the most popular MOBA titles in gaming history. Developed by Valve, the company behind Steam, the game is widely known as being “easy to learn yet hard to master”. As a major title in the eSports scene, Dota 2 commands a huge player base, and its annual tourney, The International, serves up prize pools worth over $30 million. Prominent Dota 2 players include Johan Sundstein and Jesse Vainikka.
- Released: 2012
- Developer: Valve Corporation
- Major Tournament: PGL Major
Another eSports staple coming from the stable of Valve Corporation, CS:GO was once the most-played eSports title of all time with over 1.8 million daily players. Although it has recently been replaced by its all-new upgrade, Counter-Strike 2 in both the Steam store and on the tourney circuit, we’ve decided to honor the OG FPS eSports title with a place on our list.
- Released: 2010
- Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
- Major Tournament: ESL Pro Tour
Ok, so far, we’ve mostly focused on MOBA games, but here’s a genuine RTS (real-time strategy) game to add some variety to the list! StarCraft II is widely known as the best-in-class FPS of the modern gaming generation. Its complex gameplay keeps elite players like Joona Sotala and Sung Choo Cho hooked, while tournaments like ESL Pro Tour continue to offer up multi-million-dollar prize pools. The final title in Blizzard Entertainment’s epic SciFi saga more than deserves its place on our list.
- Released: 2017
- Developer: Epic Games
- Major Tournament: Fortnite World Cup
Epic Games’ Fortnite is quite the new kid on the block when it comes to eSports games, and it gets a special mention for popularizing the battle royale format during the late 2010s. This is a game that has genuine crossover appeal: gamers of all demographics the world over can’t get enough of it and its professional tournament, the World Cup, holds a rightful place as one of the most prestigious on the circuit. With its approachable gameplay, epic combat melees, and innovative in-game concerts, Fortnite is a true innovator.
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