Back in the day, people who spend their whole day playing video games were considered unmotivated or extremely lazy. Times have changed with the rise of organized competitive gaming or eSports. Nowadays, gamers have the discipline and drive of an athlete that plays a physical sport. They spend hours on hours on end training and honing their skills to be able to compete on an international scale. The number of professional players in the E-Sports category today is quite massive. For one, huge sums of money are at stake in every tournament, thus, it’s no surprise that millions of gamers are hooked vying to win the pot.
According to GamingScan, The top 7 most popular eSports leagues have already amassed upwards of 200 million players as of its last count in August 2017, and the community is still exponentially growing. As the trend shows, the global market revenue in 2017 was already at a staggering $655 million USD but the projection for 2022 is way off the charts with a valuation of nearly $1.8 billion USD. That is a whopping 275% increase!
Along with growing demand and an upward trend in its market revenue, prizes for the tournaments have also shown a dramatic increase. For instance, Blizzard’s team game Defense of the Ancients (DOTA) had a prize pool of nearly $11 million USD in 2014 and has steadily risen to $25.5 million USD in 2018. Last year, the prize for a single sporting event, Fortnite World Cup, was already at an astounding $3 million USD! That’s even higher than the Wimbledon Championship prize for that same year which just at $2.78 million USD. Indeed, the world of E-Sports has just become even more competitive and exciting!
If you want to see more of that action, here’s a list of the top 5 games you should watch out for this year:
Developed by Blizzard Entertainment, Hearthstone is a digital collectible strategy card game. It is turn-based and free-to-play. It’s derived from the world and relics of the World of Warcraft franchise. Additional cards may be purchased to build a more strategic deck. Hearthstone’s global tournament consists of three phases: Masters Qualifiers, Masters Tour, and Grandmasters, where players compete for a share of the roughly $500,000 USD prize pool.
Overwatch is a first-person shooter game with a diverse cast of characters to choose from. There are also three classes (tank, damage, and support) that need to be carefully considered when choosing characters to improve your team’s chances of winning in the 6v6 battles. The Overwatch League prize pool for 2019 was $3.5 million and is split amongst 8 teams.
3. Dota 2
Dota 2 is a massive online battle arena (MOBA) where you may choose a different hero at the start of the game. The crux of the game is knowing when to jungle, when to farm the lanes, what build is perfect for your character, and what hero lineup is best to counter your enemies. Dota 2 was developed by Valve Corporation and holds the highest prize for an E-Sports tournament in 2018, called “The International”. They’ve been around for a while now so they’re able to get their growing number of engaged gamers to purchase the Compendium, which grants them various in-game items such as skins and game effects as an incentive to keep playing. Of course, this purchase contributes to the growth of Dota 2’s prize pool.
4. League of Legends
League of Legends (LoL) is another massive online battle arena and is considered as the top rival of Dota 2. Both games were based on a custom map in Warcraft 3 which gives the gameplay so many similarities. The main difference though would be the focus of LoL in much simpler gameplay and its aesthetics whereas Dota 2 focuses on giving more strategic options in a battle. Nevertheless, the LoL 2018 World Championship has awarded $6.45 million USD as a total prize to the winning team. As of its last recording, LoL holds the highest number of E-Sports players at 100 million as compared to Dota 2’s 12.6 million as of August 2017.
5. Fortnite Battle Royale
Fortnite is a cooperative multiplayer game where players build a fort with their team, with the goal of eliminating creatures that try to invade. You can pick from various classes such as soldiers, outlanders, constructors, and ninjas, which all have class-specific skills and roles in the game. Fortnite Battle Royale is a spinoff wherein the last player standing wins. It is quite different from other survival games in the sense that you can set up buildings, utilize traps, and use a multitude of weapons and equipment to really skew the odds in your favor. The game’s annual tournament is called the Fortnite World Cup.
What Are You Waiting For?
With all the buzz in the digital space, it’s probably time to start watching game streams online or join in on the fun yourself. You never know, you might be one of the best players the arena is looking for.