2018 was and will continue being a wonderful game for esports. There are numerous new and old games that draw in some huge viewer numbers. Sponsors quickly figured out that it is a good idea to be involved. Even betting companies appeared because of how competitive the industry became.
While there are numerous esports games that are popular right now, as you can clearly figure out even by looking at streaming platforms like Twitch, there are some that do stand out. We will talk about the most popular esports games of the moment. You most likely know them but do you know the extra stats you will read?
League Of Legends
MOBA games dominate esports and League Of Legends is the most popular one. Every single tournament that features LOL is interesting for viewers. Riot Games managed to take the top spot and then hold it for a pretty long time now. The game has 10 million followers on Twitch and there are over 110,000 streamers that play the game with a viewership.
Around 2000 professional League Of Legends tournaments were held till now. The total prize pool of these tournaments sums up to $49 million. There are actually over five thousand professional League of Legends players under contract right now.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
CS:Go is a huge esports attraction, a first person shooter with a huge following. When it comes to activity, there are over 8,500 professional players in the world right now. On Twitch there are 9 million followers for the game and around 50,000 streamers. The total price pool for the tournaments held till now (close to 3,000) is over $42 million. Counter-Strike may have appeared in 2012 but the fourth version is still incredibly big in gaming.
Dota 2 was the king of MOBA games, until League Of Legends popped off. However, this does not mean it is not popular anymore in professional esports. Valve’s game now boasts the impressive stat of highest total prize pool ever, going over $126 million. The reason why this stat is incredibly impressive is that just around 850 tournaments were held until now. This is a lot less than the more popular esports games mentioned before.
On Twitch Dota 2 has 4 million followers. There are close to 52,000 streamers. The big difference with League of Legends is that the game has a pretty steep learning curve. It is really complex. However, it is clearly successful. Valve even wants to release Artifact, a spin-off card game based on Dota 2.
StarCraft II is by far the most popular of all competitive RTS games in the world. Its own esports scene is rich and prolific. This is to be expected because the game was created by industry giant Blizzard. It was launched in 2010 and its popularity started to wain by the time we reached 2015. This made Blizzard move the game to free-to-play. This is what drastically increased its popularity and practically rebuilt the entire community.
Although being around for a long time. StarCraft II still manages to pull in really great numbers. Close to 4,600 tournaments were already held and the total prizes reached $25 million.
Blizzard is clearly interested in esports and Overwatch is proof of that. This game, together with Heroes of the Storm, which did not manage to beat giants like Dota 2 and League Of Legends, are created to be esports giants. What Overwatch managed to do is top even the expectations of the developers. In a really short time we saw 600 tournaments held around the world. The price fund reached a total of $5 million. Blizzard put a lot of resources into building its very own Overwatch League that is really similar to traditional US sports, with regular season play and permanent teams.
After it was launched, the Blizzard Overwatch League managed to draw 10 million viewers. Sponsorship started to come from giants like Toyota, HP and Intel. Many specialists think that Overwatch will surpass CS:Go but only time will tell if this is the case.
Last but not least, when talking about popular esports games now, we have to mention PUBG. Its popularity is increasing at a very fast pace, all because of how different it is. 2018 will definitely be a great year for it, thanks to it holding the very first major tournament in July, the PUBG Global Invitational 2018. This tournament will have a prize pool of $2 million.
While the popularity of PUBG is growing on Twitch, when referring solely to esports, it still is not a true contender. Great leaps are expected in 2018 and that is why we have to mention it. The only problem is that the game is currently buggy, which is not great for competitive settings.