The new trending name in sporting events is within the growing esports scene – with the biggest titles now capturing more concurrent viewers than even the biggest traditional sporting events and a crossover with more recognizable names, the opportunities seem to be endless as investment continues to be put into the still developing space. But which are the biggest games in esports, and what makes them stand out from all of the others that continue to join the growing list of available options?
League of Legends – Perhaps the biggest esports title in the world, in 2019 figures had suggested from a number of streaming platforms that over 44 million concurrent viewers tuned in for the final game of the series. As the most popular esports title in the east as both China and Korea boast enormous numbers, the west is starting to close the gap as numbers in both Europe and North America continue to increase. The game consistently brings in the largest number of viewers and this has been attributed to the very high production value that develop Riot Games has been pursuing since the first events started back in 2013 – and only continues to improve upon. With their newest title, Valorant, set to compete with the biggest titles too, this production quality will large be what sets the game apart, and continues to be something other games in the industry strive to achieve too.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive – The Counter-Strike series is a long-standing name in the world of esports and other than maybe only StarCraft, perhaps the longest running and most successful esports title in history. First appearing back in 2000, it has been growing ever since and continues to be one of the most popular games currently played – much of the newer popularity comes through a system that was first introduced into esports through Counter-Strike; betting. There hadn’t been an active betting market in esports until 2016 in which an evolution from skin betting enable betting sites like these to become available for esports, and now a widespread feature in esports as a whole.
(Image from afkgaming.com)
DotA2 – The continuation of a popular mod for Warcraft III, Defence of the Ancients, finally had its own full release. With League of Legends and games that no longer exist like Heroes of Newerth building the popularity for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena Games, DotA was able to slip nicely into the growing esports scene and had an immediate huge fanbase. Where titles like League brought the production value, and Counter-Strike brought the betting market, DotA had managed to show just how successful crowd funding for prize pools would become – in 2020 despite the big event of the year being postponed, crowdfunding was able to raise over $40 million in prize money, the biggest figure raised for such a tournament.
As esports continues to grow, these same features will become that much more important, and may even look to spur change in regular sporting where success here makes it difficult for change to be ignored.