Competitive eSports is huge, and it continues to grow every year. Now, it’s officially recognized as a sport by many countries around the world. And by 2024, eSports is predicted to generate $1.62 billion in revenue.
While the list of eSports games is constantly growing, some titles are still considered the most competitive of all time. Let’s check them out.
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There are plenty of competitive eSports games out there, but these titles are some of the best of all time.
Valorant is a newcomer to the eSports scene, but it’s making a big splash. In fact, top players from other eSports games have ventured over to Valorant.
Now, the first-person shooter is taking its eSports scene to a whole new level. The Valorant Champions Tour 2022 welcomes competitive players from across the world. In addition, three new leagues have also been introduced, which allows for players in different regions to compete.
Valorant has been doing a phenomenal job at attracting viewers during its tournaments. In 2021, the Valorant Champions grand finale drew in 1.1 million viewers. That same tournament also had a pretty impressive prize pool for being a newcomer:
- 1st place: $200,000
- 2nd place: $100,000
- 3rd place: $80,000
- 4th place: $60,000
P.S. If you’re having trouble getting Valorant to run well, check out our post How to Make Valorant Run Smoother with These Tweaks.
2. League of Legends
It’s been over a decade since League of Legends was released, and it’s still one of the top competitive eSports games out there.
In total, players have brought home more than $75 million in prize money since the game entered the eSports scene. Thousands of tournaments have been held over the years.
League of Legends is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA). Competitions feature teams of 3 or 5 players. The goal is to destroy the “Nexus” on the other team’s base. Each player takes on one of five roles:
- Attack damage carry (ADC)
- Carry (Midlane)
Each champion has four abilities that players have to master and use different tactics to win.
League of Legends has more than 7,000 competitive players, so it’s easily one of the top competitive eSports games of all time.
3. Player’s Unknown Battlegrounds (PUBG)
PUBG has been around since 2017, and it has quickly become a favourite in the eSports scene. The battle royale game attracts professional players from across the globe. Today, their tournaments have some of the biggest prize pools in the whole industry.
Since its release, PUBG has hosted more than 40 official tournaments and handed out more than $15 million in prize money.
Playing PUBG competitively isn’t for the faint of heart. The objective is to survive – by whatever means necessary. That means finding the best gear and weapons ASAP, and knowing where and when to land. In addition, players have to know when to fight, and when to take cover while competing with the shrinking safe zone.
It’s a challenging game to win, and that’s part of the reason why players love to compete, and people love to watch. In 2020, the PUBG Mobile Global Championship drew in more than 3.8 million viewers.
In 2022, PUBG Esports has four planned global tournaments:
- PUBG Continental Series (PCS) in April and September
- PUBG Nations Cup
- PUBG Global Championship
Throughout its history, the game has had more than 3,000 professional players.
Want to play PUBG competitively? Check out our post on Mastering the Top 3 PUBG Mobile Maps. Knowing the maps and how to use them to your advantage is half the battle.
4. Dota 2
Dota 2 is another MOBA that’s popular in the eSports scene and has insane prize pools. The game was developed by Valve Corporation and released in 2013.
The game follows the usual MOBA format. Players choose champions or heroes and work together to destroy a structure on the enemy’s base. In Dota 2, two teams of five go up against each other.
Throughout the match, players acquire gold, and their heroes level up. Gold can be used to buy items to help with levelling and improve the hero’s abilities.
Dota 2 hosts several tournaments throughout the year. In 2022, they have four planned events:
- Winter Regional League
- Winter Regional Finals
- Spring Regional League
- The International 2022
The International is their big tournament. The top 12 teams from the previous tournaments will be guaranteed spots. The winning team takes home a huge cash prize and the title of Dota 2 World Champions.
In 2021, The International’s prize pool was more than $40 million.
5. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO)
CS:GO is another big eSports game from Valve Corporation. The first-person shooter also pits two teams of five players against each other. One team plays the “terrorists,” and the other team plays the “counter-terrorists.”
The terrorist group’s goal is to plant a bomb at one of the counter-terrorists sites. The counter-terrorists have to find and defuse that bomb – and they only have 40 seconds to do it.
Since its release in 2012, CS:GO has become a mainstay in the eSports circuit. Its noteworthy tournaments are the World Electronic Sports Games and ELEAGUE. They’ve paid out more than $90 million in prize money over the years.
In 2013, the game’s first-ever tournament, the CS:GO Major Championship, had a $250,000 community-funded prize pool.
Overwatch is a multiplayer shooter released by Blizzard in 2016. Players can choose between 32 different heroes, each with their own skillset. There are three types of roles: tank, damage or support. Teams of six face off against each other in different combat game modes.
There is a lot to love about Overwatch. Its colourful, cartoony appearance is just one thing that draws players in. Characters are fun to play and have very different playstyles. You can choose between attacking and defending, too, which gives you more control over your gameplay.
Overwatch didn’t venture into the eSports scene until 2018. The Overwatch League has 20 teams that are divided into two conferences.
Since its launch, the Overwatch League has paid out tens of millions of dollars in prize money to competitors.
7. Apex Legends
Developed by Respawn, Apex Legends is a hugely popular battle royale game that’s set in the Titanfall universe. Players choose from different mercenaries with unique abilities.
In the Apex Arena, all characters have the same speed, strength and firepower, but each Legend has its own abilities. Choose one that best suits your playstyle. There are defensive, offensive and supportive roles.
Like other battle royale games, the objective is to be the last team standing. Once your squad lands, it’s a race to find weapons, armour and other gear that will give you an edge on the other team.
Apex Legends has pro leagues across the world and hosts the Global Series Championship. This year, the tournament has a prize pool of $1 million. Forty teams will compete for the chance to play in this tournament. More than 50,000 watched Split 1 of the tournament, which was held in January 2022.
8. Rocket League
Rocket League stands out from the eSports crowd because it’s not your usual battle royale or MOBA game. In this game, developed by Psyonix, teams of cars play soccer. The objective is to score goals on the other team and win.
Mastering Rocket League is a challenge. These cars are superpowered, so they move at lightning-fast speed to fly through the air. The crazy physics of this game makes it hard to keep control of the ball and score.
Not surprisingly, Rocket League is a massive hit in the eSports scene. We now have the Rocket League Championship Series, and to date, Rocket League tournaments have paid out more than $8.8 million in prize money.
No list of eSports games is complete without Fortnite. This battle royale game, released in 2017, has been a massive hit. The playstyle and objectives of this game make it perfect for the world of eSports.
The game pits 100 players against each other to see who can survive. Players drop out of a flying bus and land at random places on the map. Once you’re on the ground, you have to start searching for weapons/gear and harvesting materials to survive.
Fortnite quickly became a competitive game after its release. In the summer of 2018, its developer Epic Games hosted several tournaments. One year later, the Fortnite World Cup drew in an impressive 2.3 million viewers.
Compared to other eSports games, Fortnite has the biggest competitive player base and the biggest prize pools.
10. Starcraft II
Starcraft II is a real-time strategy game that has managed to remain competitive in the MOBA-dominated eSports industry. How? They offer impressive prize pools and amazing gameplay.
Professional Starcraft II players can compete in the ESL Pro Tour, which is held annually. CS: GO and WarCraft III also have their own ESL Pro Tours.
The wildly popular digital card game Hearthstone also has a huge competitive scene. Developed by Blizzard, Hearthstone is a turn-based game between two players. Each player can choose a hero, which has a unique ability. The objective is to have the most points at the end of the match.
The Hearthstone Masters is a three-tier program that has live tournaments. The Grandmasters has two eight-week seasons. Matches are streamed on YouTube every weekend. The season ends in a world championship where two players from each region and two champions from China will compete for a $500,000 prize pool.
Blizzard recently announced that 2022, will be the final year for the Grandmasters tournament, so it will be exciting to see what’s in store for the future of competitive Hearthstone.
12. Street Fighter V
There was a lot of drama surrounding Street Fighter V’s launch, but today, it’s one of the most accessible eSports games out there for casual players. Like other Street Fighter games, the goal is to beat your opponent senseless – literally.
The Capcom Pro Tour (CPT) is the home of competitive Street Fighter V gameplay. The CPT has 32 online events and is open to people all over the world.
13. Tekken 7
Tekken 7 builds on the main Tekken storyline. Like Street Fighter, the objective is to go fist-to-fist with your opponent. With the option to choose between many fighting styles, Tekken 7 is a great eSports game.
The Tekken Online Challenge 2021 drew in many players, but there’s no word on competitive tournaments for 2022.
14. Arena of Valor
Arena of Valor is a MOBA developed by TiMi Studios and published by Tencent Games. Teams of five compete to win, and the game has multiple modes.
In this MOBA, teams compete to defend two towers and a core. As a result, matches often wind up with all 10 people battling it out for the win.
In 2022, the game’s eSports ecosystem is expanding and expected to go global. The competition will be split into five stages, which include amateur tournaments, pro leagues, regional cups and the two international competitions: the AIC and the World Cup.
The AIC will have a prize pool of $2 million, while the AWC will have a pool of $10 million.
Smite is yet another MOBA that’s popular in the eSports scene. But one thing you’ll love about this title is that the heroes of this world are mythological characters from different mythologies.
The goal is to destroy the enemy’s Titan and Phoenixes. The Titan is a giant warrior who must be defeated in order to win the match.
The game’s developer, Hi-Rez Studios, has made it possible for teams to compete professionally.
If none of these eSports games appeals to you, check out some other games that you didn’t know had a competitive scene.
For more tips and tricks on how to compete in these eSports games, be sure to check out Twitch or YouTube. You’ll find plenty of pro gamers who can walk you through their strategies and playstyles.