It is not in doubt that esports are going to become more popular than ever before during 2020.
With lockdown conditions due to the coronavirus crisis continuing to keep people indoors, sports fans are finding esports are the next best thing to their favourite hobby.
But for anyone who is brand new to following esports, there can be an awful lot to learn about. The fact players compete under a gamer name is confusing enough to start with, before even considering how often they change teams – who themselves often merge together.
Almost any game with a competitive element can be considered an esport, but there are a group of titles that are considered to be the most popular. Let’s have a look at the top esports.
Judged by the number of players alone, Fortnite has to be listed as one of the most popular esports right now. Last year’s Fortnite World Cup had 40 million participants at the start and over two million people watched the final, when Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf won the top prize of $3 million.
The American was just 16 years of age at the time – not bad for a day’s work!
Fortnite is free to play, which means it has a massive potential audience, but until the World Cup it was perhaps not taken quite as seriously by those in the esports community as other games.
League of Legends
Leading multiplayer online battle arena game League of Legends has been one of the top esports for a few years now. With over a decade of competitive tournaments behind it, League of Legends has steadily built a very big audience in the world of esports.
The League of Legends World Championship, which was most recently won by the Chinese esports team FunPlus Phoenix, is one of the most-watched esports events on the planet. More than 100 million people tuned in during the course of the League of Legends competition.
If the category by which the popularity of esports is judged is prize money, then Dota 2 has to be the winner. The game, the sequel to Defense of the Ancients, has the biggest prize pot in the world of esports at its top annual tournament, which is called The International.
Won by OG in each of the past two years, they will have to cope with the loss of key player Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka, who announced his retirement from professional Dota 2 earlier in 2020.
Dota 2 gamers make up the whole top 10 of the richest esports players, with OG star Johan “N0tail” Sundstein currently at the top of the list with his earnings totalling almost $7 million.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Not quite as popular as Dota 2 but still boasting a massive esports audience is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, which is usually referred to as just CS:GO.
Tournaments for the multiplayer first-person shooter have already given away more than $17.5 million in total prize money, with top players including Andreas “Xyp9x” Hojsleth.
More than a million people watched the IEM Katowice CS:GO major, while other competitions of note for this esport include the BLAST Premier and ESL Pro League.