Overview of the best eSports games in 2023
If people around you tell you that video games are a bad habit, they don't know that games can also have benefits. Including for your wallet. Cybersport has a huge fan base and large prize pools that allow you to turn the hobby into a career. Research company Newzoo has concluded that cyber sports have generated $1.79 billion in revenue in 2022 - and, of course, this number does not include the turnover of various cybersport betting companies like BC.game, ThunderPick and gg bet.
This amount could have been higher if not for the COVID-19 pandemic. Many eSports games have serious online tournaments. However, major competitions are usually held live in halls that do not encourage social distance. For example, the 2019 Fortnite World Championship was held at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Arena in New York and around 20,000 people gathered there. No event was held in 2020 and 2021. Valve indefinitely postponed the Dota 2 event.
Cybersport includes many popular and obscure games of different genres. Are you a fan of shooters? Counter-Strike: Global: Offensive. Prefer epic-scale battles of kingship? PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and Fortnite are for you. Are you into sports? The merger between the NBA and Take-Two Interactive (publisher of the NBA 2K video game series) has resulted in NBA 2K eLeague. In the world of eSports, there's a video game for everyone.
The choice may even seem like too much. There are so many multiplayer games that it's hard not only to start playing, but even to choose what to watch. This guide to eSports games will help get you going in the right direction. By taking a brief look at the options available, you'll be able to figure out which appeals to you more than others.
This article contains a few worthy cybersports games. They can also make the lists of the best PC games in general, although there are a couple of decent options from consoles as well.
To qualify here, a game must have official tournament support from its publisher. While there are quite a few smaller projects with community support, like Tecmo Super Bowl, the list would become too big with them.
Just because a certain eSports game isn't in the article doesn't mean it's not worthy of attention. Below are some of the best eSports games that attracted amateurs and professionals in 2021 that will continue to be in demand in the near future.
After releasing two excellent yet forgotten Titanfall games, developer Respawn has achieved a well-deserved success with Apex Legends, a shooter in the battle royale genre.
The game is set in the Titanfall universe. It allows you to control agile mercenaries instead of sluggish robots. These colorful characters have a lot of unique abilities. You can travel between dimensions as a Ghost or disguise yourself and create holograms in the guise of a Mirage. Sophisticated communication tools are responsible for coordinating teamwork.
Counter-Strike Global Offensive
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO) was launched by Valve in 2012. It incorporates features from many multiplayer first-person shooters, including the former Counter-Strike and Counter-Strike: Source. Ten years later, the fast-paced PC game is just as good as the younger games. This is due in part to its established gameplay and active community.
In terms of looks, CS:GO's age is starting to take its toll, and thematically the game is not as rich as Overwatch. On the other hand, many like CS:GO for its lack of frills and the presence of a highly competitive cyber sports environment. This includes the $1 million Eleague Major competition.
The saying "Hard in the study, easy in the fight" also applies to video games. A prime example is Defense of the Ancients 2 (Dota 2). It's one of the most popular massively multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBAs) in the world.
In this free-to-play game, you choose one of over a hundred playable characters and head out onto the battlefield. Use the unique abilities, playstyle and attributes of that character to bring your team to victory.
The MOBA genre can be confusing to spectators unfamiliar with the game mechanics. But the annual Dota 2 International competition has a prize pool of over $30 million.
Fortnite is an ultra-popular battle royale game. In early 2020, Epic Games reported that Fortnite had 12.3 million gamers at a time during Travis Scott's in-game concert.
Fortnite has a lot going for it. It's clear game modes, vibrant graphics and a building system. Unstable combat and microtransactions can spoil the experience. However, it's a free-to-play game, so there's nothing stopping fans of the genre from trying it out. It is available on almost all modern gaming platforms.
At the first Fortnite World Championship in 2019, 16-year-old Kyle "Bugha" Girsdorf won $3 million of the $30 million prize pool.
StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void
What's a real-time strategy game (RTS) to do in the world of MOBA games? In the case of StarCraft II, continue to offer the best gameplay in its category and multi-million dollar cash prizes.
The StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void expansion brings military strategy to the most diehard players. At the same time, it's the perfect conclusion to Blizzard's saga. It's one of the most exciting strategy games ever. Admittedly, novice viewers and RTS players may not appreciate all of its complexities.
League of Legends
League of Legends is a free-to-play multiplayer online combat arena produced by Riot Games. It is one of the best games of the MOBA genre. It has elements of role-playing, tower defence and real-time strategy. This combination sets it apart from many formulaic MOBAs.
The accessibility of League of Legends is one of its virtues. That's not to say it lacks complex gameplay elements. The collaboration of skillshots, cooldowns, unique abilities and equipment makes League of Legends a showcase MOBA game, surpassing that of Dota 2 and Heroes of the Storm.
In eSports, Riot Games promotes the game through its League of Legends championship series. The tournament prize pool exceeds $2 million.
Mortal Kombat 11 (for PC)
Mortal Kombat 11 from developers NetherRealm Studios contains more than just shattered skulls, severed spines and splattered blood. It's a story-driven sequel to Mortal Kombat X containing time travel. Characters face off against rivals from the past for the sake of changing the present.
With improved animations and new attack and defense mechanics, mercenaries, ninjas, gods and monsters perform better than before. Mortal Kombat 11 could be a great start for those unfamiliar with the game series.
NetherRealm Studios is promoting Mortal Kombat 11 as part of the Mortal Kombat Pro Series cybersports initiative.
Shooters don't have to be grim, gritty and realistic. Cartoonish fun with guns is to many people's taste, too. For almost a decade Valve's Team Fortress 2 has ruled this niche, but now Blizzard has arrived with Overwatch. It has all the hallmarks of Team Fortress 2. There are colourful levels, several game modes with an emphasis on attack and defence, cool characters with different play styles. There are also a few MOBA-style additions.
Overwatch is an enjoyable first-person shooter with variety due to the number of heroes and classes. As a result, the game has significant cybersport popularity. Blizzard supports several eSports events, including the Overwatch World Cup.
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG)
Like many other open-world survival or first-person shooter games, the goal of PUBG is to outlast everyone else. That said, PUBG doesn't adhere to the norms of the genre. It uses the best aspects of open-world games along with first-person shooter mechanics and the typical MMO player set-up.
There is also a good balance of gameplay elements. You can choose where on the map to parachute out. Everyone starts off unarmed, and a deadly giant flickering blue dome occasionally reduces the playing area so that no one is sitting in the bushes.
The prize pool for the PUBG Global Invitational exceeds $2 million.
An unexpected hit of 2015 among the few sports games that are hugely popular with cyber-sports players. Rocket League, with its fast car rides, explosions and goal kicks, can be a thrill to watch, especially when playing professional games. The accomplishments of amateurs can pale in comparison to the skills of serious gamers.
The Rocket League Championship Series brings together the best players in the world, with the ability to pull off incredible manoeuvres. The latest edition of the tournament has a prize pool of $1 million.
Street Fighter V: Champion Edition
Street Fighter V, despite its weak start and DLC shenanigans, may end up being the most accessible eSports game for people who don't consider themselves gamers.
Two people beating each other to victory is a very understandable idea. It exists in many forms, from gladiator fights of antiquity to professional boxing and bare-knuckle fighting.
As a result, Street Fighter V is one of the few cybersport games that is often shown on television. The biggest tournaments can be seen on Disney XD, ESPN 2 and TBS. Among these tournaments is the Capcom Pro Tour with a prize pool of over $600,000.
Tekken 7, like the previous games in the series, tells the story of fathers and sons. They try their best to kill each other in order to purge the Mishima clan of the Devil Gene. It's a magical DNA fragment that turns some people into hellish brats.
Tekken 7 is known for its single-player variant. That doesn't stop it from thriving in cyber sports, either, thanks to its large number of fighting styles, three-dimensional movement with attack and evasion options, and slow-motion effects. These are triggered when both fighters' life bars are near depletion and they perform simultaneous melee attacks. The game at times resembles kung fu theatre, something not found in competitive fighting games.
Tekken World Tour attracts the best professional players and the prize pool is around $200,000.
Dragon Ball FighterZ (for PC)
Apart from Fist of the Northstar and Jo Jo's Bizarre Adventure, few anime are as suitable for fighting games as the Dragon Ball series. It spans several series, films and generations of characters. Akira Toriyama's series has become a manga, an anime, a game. It focuses on buffalo monkey-like creatures, humans, aliens and androids who trade blows in crushing battles.
Another installment in the Dragon Ball FighterZ series eschews Xenoverse arena combat in favour of 3-on-3 team battles in two-dimensional space. The change in gameplay is one of the reasons why Dragon Ball FighterZ is considered one of the most interesting eSports games. The beautiful design, tense battles and easy controls make the game even better, allowing you to immerse yourself in it and have fun.
Anime fighters have a place to compete in the form of Bandai Namco Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour.
The King of Fighters XIV (STEAM EDITION)
SNK's latest game in the long-running The King of Fighters series could not be considered the prettiest fighting game. In terms of competition, it is one of the best modern video games.
KOFXIV's elaborate combo system, teamwork, large roster of 58 characters, a variety of special attacks, superpowers, attack, defense and movement options make the game fun to watch. All of this also makes KOFXIV intimidating to master. However, with proper effort, the rewards will be worthwhile.
The game takes part in the SNK World Championship series.