Last year certainly had its fair share of ups and downs, but with such a turbulent year there may have been a lot that passed you by throughout the times you weren’t able to pay as much attention to you hobby as you’d like – the year also had been able to show the many upsides, and the many downsides of esports as a whole with extra attention bringing out many different aspects of the scene. With that being said, here’s a roundup of some of the biggest events in esports throughout 2020!
One of the big standouts of the year had come with the release of Valorant, and perhaps the first time in recent years where a new title has been able to break in to the top esports games and break up the top three. Whilst other titles such as titles such as Fortnite have tried, there has been some difficulty in defining a larger esports scene outside of the big yearly world cup event, but Valorant with the backing and experience of Riot Games is certainly looking to fill that gap.
Despite the cancellation of the event for the International 2020 in DotA, crowdfunding once again shows just how successful it can be too with the event raising a record-breaking $40 million in prize money for the teams – whether or not this figure will be extended for the recently announced 2021 event later this year is still unknown, but was certainly a satisfying way to round out the year even without the event.
A big year in esports wouldn’t be complete without a little dash of drama, and perhaps the biggest of 2020 comes from Counter-Strike. A few key volunteers dedicated hundreds of hours to go through previous event demos both offline and online over the past few years following suspicions that coaches were using an in game spectator bug to gain an advantage, leading to a huge wave of bans being handed out for these coaches depending on the severity of abuse of this bug – with the developer, Valve, already publicly not being a huge advocate of the coach role, this big ban wave of coaches throws more uncertainty at the roles future in CS:GO, particularly as it has been so important across other esports titles.
There are of course the cancelled and rescheduled events of the year too – Counter-Strike fans missed out on a major toward the end of the year, The International as mentioned earlier was also postponed but a date toward August has been eyed already. The Fortnite World Cup also found a cancellation, and whilst there is no guarantee it will take place again this year, it could also be rescheduled for late 2021 – other than a few events here and there though, many esports remained largely undisturbed throughout 2020.
Perhaps the most important thing to happen to esports in 2020 however was the cancellation of more traditional sporting events, and the added attention this brought to all things esports. Whilst it did show some of the shortcomings within the young scene, it did show many of the huge benefits too – and with the growing presence of other factors such as merchandising and content creation, a wider audience has been able to enjoy the world of esports, and with growing familiarity through the introduction of online esports betting and the support with major events, esports is quickly on its way to becoming a household name accessible to both the enthusiasts and new viewers.