From the most Twitch viewers, to the highest paying games, esports leagues have a lot competition between them to become the most popular in the fandom. Gaining the viewership of more and more of the players and other esports enthusiasts has been inspected for many years, and many methods that games have implemented to become an overall more enjoyable game for a wider range of players has truly been an enticing factor of esports. Esports games that have been around for a while, and are now nearing a decade since their release, have been gaining the most popularity, as they have been able to come a long way throughout the years. Here, there are four examples of those games that have risen in popularity throughout the many years of patches and updates that shaped what these games are today:
League of Legends (2009) – 240 million hours
LoL has been one of the oldest, but also at the same the time one of the most popular esports games to ever release. This multiplayer online battle arena, published by Riot Games, has been an attraction for a variety of players all over the world. From a fantasy world, to a competitive arena-styled scene in esports games, LoL has proven to be the pinnacle of multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBAs), and has inspired and been inspired by games such as DOTA 2, Arena of Valor, Heroes of the Storm, Smite, and World of Warcraft. But of course, with popular esports games, comes even more popular esports athletes. Teams such as Cloud9, G2 Esports, and TSM are all team names LoL fans know and idolize as one of the best teams in the game currently.
The latest LoL World Championship (2018) had a prize money of $6,450,000 which is more than $1 million increase since last year’s championship.
Counter-Strike Global Offensive (2012) – 212 million hours
One of the most popular multiplayer first-person shooters to ever release, CS:GO has been developed and published by Valve Corporation and Hidden Path Entertainment. In the esports side of things, CS:GO boasts popular teams such as Faze, EnVyUs, and Cloud9. Currently, the prize money for the most recent championships have been $1 million, which is not too far from the game’s all time high prize money in the WESG 2016 (CS:GO): $1,500,000.
DOTA 2 (2013) – 180 million hours
In the same concept of League of Legends, DOTA 2 is a MOBA developed and published by Valve Corporation. This game was the sequel to Defense of the Ancients, which was a community-created mod for Blizzard Entertainment’s Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and its expansion pack, The Frozen Throne. Through DOTA 2 timely history, in comparison to other popular esports, it has gained many popular team names to go along with it. These teams are split into the regions in the world that they derive from. These regions include North America, South America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe & CIS, China, and Southeast Asia. Teams such as Immortals, Invictus Gaming, and Vega Squadron are all popular names in DOTA 2’s eSport world. With the initial prize pool seeding with $1,600,000 from the developers, more was added from players through in-game purchases of the Battle Pass. This, concluded in the final prize pool of $20,770,460 in 2010, making the tournament have the largest prize pool in esports history. Today the 16 teams in DOTA 2 esports are competing for the total prize pot of $1.6 million.
Hearthstone (2014) – 43 million hours
Developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment, Hearthstone is a free-to-play online digital collectible card game. Hearthstone builds upon the existing lore of the Warcraft series by using the same elements, characters, and relics. Blizzard’s Hearthstone esports tournaments such as Blizzard’s official World Championship features a prize pool of up to $1 million dollars. Teams such as Cloud9, G2 Esports, and Planet Odd all have been top rankers for the game, and have gained much popularity through their dominance in this very unique styled card game.
FIFA (1993 (FIFA 94’), 2019 (FIFA 19)) – 2.3 million hours (Twitch only)
FIFA, also known as FIFA Football or FIFA Soccer, is a series of association football video games or football simulator, released annually by Electronics Arts under the EA Sports label. Although it might not be making any massive breakthrough anytime soon, FIFA has a history in the gaming world and has acquired it’s fame equally through console and pc players.
Today, FIFA 19’s position in esports is also quite unique, as it uses console controllers, and the FIFA eClub World Cup 2019 will have a prize pool of USD $100,000. Of course, with the many unique teams this game hosts, comes the very unique teams.
Digital Athletics, for example, is close to home and boasts the talented athletes: Sergen Yalçın (Quincy), Ferhat Akay (Daimond), Emre Benli (emrebenli7), and Serhat Öztürk (Doktor-Serhat). Any more information on these players’ rank, skill, and wins can be found on Digital Athletics’ website. On the other hand, we have the many teams that have qualified for this year’s FIFA eClub World Cup. Each team represents a country (primary from eastern europe, USA, and a few others from other ends of the world), such as the US team: FaZe Clan, the French team: Team Vitality, and the Turkish team: Futbolist.
The esports leagues currently dominating in viewership and overall popularity have been recognized for many years, but have any games recently released and are in esports today stand a chance to take the top spot?
During the past 3 years, games such as Fortnite, PUBG, and Apex Legends have all made a name for themselves and have skyrocketed in popularity. As the bar is high for these newer games, so is the expectations of the fans.
The unique battle royale genre of games have been truly introduced and set into the esports setting through these new and still currently ‘upcoming’ games. All in all, these games are constantly coming up with newer ideas to expand on the battle royale idea of gameplay, to keep players interested in more and more unique updates and patches. But these are not the only games that have built on newer ideas of esports level competitive games. Overwatch, for example has taken the competitive fps scene to a whole other level and has freshened up the diversity of esports.
Now, all that left is a simple factor of decision making. Will fans all across the world stick to their practically traditional game modes and competitive gameplay, or will these newer games, quickly rising in popularity as they are, be able to take the attention of the veteran fans and fans overall to their distinctive style of esports.