It can be difficult to truly discover what the biggest of the esports titles are as different fans will be the first to point out why their favourite game is the biggest – are viewer numbers the metric? How about the current popularity of the game? Or perhaps we look at other metrics such as combat sports that can value success with a metric for online esports betting? Either way many of these titles have been a mainstay or rocketed up the ranks recently, so join us as we take a look at the biggest games in esports
Counter-Strike – This could aptly be described as the grandfather of all modern esports titles – first emerging as a mod for the game Half-Life back in 1999, the first widely played standalone title came in the form Counter-Strikes version 1.6 which had been played competitively for over thirteen years. It was succeeded by Counter-Strike: Source in 2004 but the community was split – the die-hard 1.6 fans and the new CS:S fans had split tournaments and a split fanbase. The latest title to release in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive came in 2012, and was set to unite the two competitive scenes with professionals quickly moving to the new game. Whilst 1.6 and CS:S still have their players, GO is now the united Counter-Strike title, until the new release comes.
League of Legends – Perhaps the biggest esports title in the world right now, League of Legends released in 2009 and quickly evolved. With huge support from the developers Riot Games and a vested interest in building the game as the definition of what an esport should be, the seasonal split approach with a world championship has been hugely successful and now over a decade later the game continues to have constant updates and releases alongside a healthy competitive scene and a constant flow of new fans and new players.
DoTA2 – The MOBA competitor of League of Legends and the continuation of the popular Warcraft mod of DoTA, this game has also found huge success. The International tournament held at the end of the year holds the biggest prize pool amongst every esports title, and with monthly active users exceeding 11 million it certainly is one of the bigger games in the space – this number does pale in comparison to the active 80 million players, but still much bigger than numbers some of the other big games hold.
Valorant – The new kid on the block developed by Riot Games, hoping to follow the same successes they had in League of Legends – by doing a similar league approach within the scene and starting to develop some structure, the early success has been impressive following its launch in June of this year. The game is directly competing with Counter-Strike, with many professional players already crossing over and also causing some trouble on the viewer side of things as the community is splitting much as they did in 1.6 and CS:S, but many are already suggesting this game could be the next huge title and overtake those that came before.
There are a growing number of smaller scenes within esports too that are getting bigger by the day – with Call of Duty recently announcing a move away from console and into the PC space, this scene could be another shooter competitor. Games such as Rocket League have also been generating some buzz as the fast gameplay and high skill ceiling has appealed to some of the more mechanically minded fandom.