Over the past decade, esports has evolved from a tiny niche sub-community to something of a global phenomenon, major events bringing in hundreds of millions of viewers, prize pools that can be measured in the tens of millions of dollars, and a seemingly endless flow of talent pushing the boundaries of the biggest games in the world. We’ll explore the biggest esports titles in the world, and what makes them such a huge hit.
League of Legends
Riot Games’ League of Legends is widely regarded as one of the most popular and influential esports titles. This massively multiplayer online battle arena game has a thriving competitive scene. The League of Legends World Championship is a highly anticipated tournament that draws millions of fans from all over the world. The game’s rich strategy, broad champion pool, and constant updates have all contributed to its continuing esports appeal.
It isn’t the first MOBA to ever hit the market but found a fantastic balance between being a competitive title whilst still being approachable by more casual players too. Hitting the market and just the right time and capitalising on the early boom of esports, League of Legends has managed to continue riding that wave even today.
DOTA 2, the sequel to Warcraft III’s original Defence of the Ancients mod, has established itself as a top esports title. DOTA 2 has a massive international following because to its complexity and strategic depth. The yearly DOTA 2 International competition, which has massive prize pools sponsored entirely by the community, attracts a lot of attention. The competitive aspect of the game, as well as its engaging gameplay, have brought it to the forefront of the esports industry.
Whilst the only direct comparison to League of Legends comes in the genre of game, it’s often considered to be the more “serious” of the two games, and a thriving global audience too. Fans looking to bet on DOTA2 games need not look far too, as one of the biggest esports in the world there are more than enough opportunities.
A game that many consider to be one of the grandfathers of esports, this 20-year-old game has been through several variations to get to where it is today. With the titled version of 1.6 launching CS esports at the end of the 90’s and early noughties, and Counter-Strike: Source fragmenting the audience upon its release in 2004, it still managed to remain at the top of competitive FPS lists.
The release of Global Offensive in 2013 merged the two audiences and brought with it a combined Counter-Strike audience and helped the game retain its title as one of the biggest esports in the world. With the latest launch of Counter-Strike 2, an engine update for GO, fans hope to see another decade holding the title of the most competitive FPS game in the world.
Psyonix’s Rocket League combines football and rocket-powered automobiles in a thrilling gameplay experience. Its ease of use and easy mechanics have made it a success in the esports industry. The Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) is a big annual event that features top teams and awards significant prize money. Its thrilling action and potential for spectacular plays have made it a fan favourite among both players and viewers.
Rocket League in many ways had also shown there can be a deviation from the popular genres which have considered solely of RTS, MOBA, and FPS in the past, and brought about a new and exciting way to enjoy esports.
Riot Games’ Valorant is a tactical first-person shooter that has quickly acquired interest in the esports sector. Valorant mixes aspects of CS:GO and Overwatch with gunplay and unique character powers. The Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) consists of competitive events held around the world, culminating in the Valorant Champions event, which has a large prize pool. Riot Games’ successful strategy to developing and advertising esports titles is responsible for their surge in popularity.
Riot Games applied their tried and tested formula, without doubt leading Valorant to become the biggest esport title in the world currently. With millions of active monthly players and a thriving esports scene, it’s certainly at the top of its game.
The esports business is thriving, and these renowned titles are at the forefront of the movement. The global appeal of these games, together with the overwhelming support of the gaming community, has raised esports to the point where it can compete with traditional sports in terms of viewership, sponsorships, and revenue. As technology evolves and new titles emerge, the esports landscape will see even more development and excitement in the coming years.