The popularity of eSports has been building at such an alarming rate over the past few years, that they are starting to muscle their way onto the global sporting scene, rubbing shoulder to shoulder with some of the world’s most traditional sports. Playing video games has been a common pastime for people around the world for a long time now, so let’s take a look at some of the games played in the most lucrative eSports tournaments.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is a card battle game from Blizzard, creators of the original and most famous multiplayer roleplaying game ever made, World of Warcraft. Like the majority of eSports tournament games, it’s free to play, so anyone can get on their computer, download the game and try and master it. For battle card game veterans, Hearthstone is very easy to get your head around and it quickly began to be used in competitive tournaments. The game has been such a hit with eSports fans, that Blizzard recently announced a Hearthstone Championship Tour, which will hit the road in 2017.
The Counter Strike brand was originally just a modification of Half-Life, but it became so popular, it was made into a series of games in itself. Most home gamers will look towards Call Of Duty or Battlefield for their fix of first-person shooter gaming, but if you fancy yourself as a professional, Counter Strike is where the money is. Sponsored tournament prize pots can reach upwards of $250,000, with the pot at the 2016 Major League Gaming tournament scaling over $1 million for the first time.
The most popular multiplayer online battle arena game, and the most used MOBA in tournament play is League of Legends, with over 1500 League of Legends tournaments being held around the world, since the inaugural competition in 2010. Earlier this year, BWIN published some data which revealed more bets were placed on League of Legends tournaments than in some high profile football competitions and 69% of all the bets placed on eSports tournaments were on League of Legends competitions, emphasising its popularity with the gaming universe.
The only serious competitor to League of Legends, in terms of popularity and profitability, is DOTA 2.
Originally a Warcraft III mod, Death of the Ancients: All Stars was so popular, a more intricate and improved sequel was inevitable. Even though DOTA 2 is also free to play, the gameplay is a little more complex than most MOBA rivals. It has become an extremely popular game with eSports professionals, meaning that the prize pots on offer in DOTA 2 tournaments are, quite frankly, staggering. At Valves annual eSports world championships in 2015, the DOTA 2 tournament set a new eSports record, offering participants a share of a prize pool totalling over $18.5 million.
The popularity of eSports is growing with every passing year, so there is no doubting that record will be broken sometime in the near future, as the world begins to embrace this new age of digital sports.