The eSports industry is one that has experienced continued growth for the last half a decade. What started as a casual industry that offered out a few thousand pounds to the top players has exploded into an industry worth millions. Gaming professionals are now taking in big money thanks to cash prizes and sponsorships from major companies.
It’s become apparent that eSports is the future of online gaming, which has only been reinforced by the rise in online gaming during the pandemic. As is the case with most industries, a handful of games have risen to the top and become the main “cash cows”. These are the titles that have the biggest crowds, the most prolific players, and the most substantial cash prizes for skilled players.
Counter Strike: Global Offensive is one of the most popular eSports games out there, but many fans affectionately refer to it as CS:GO. An FPS which puts players into two teams, the Terrorists and Counter-Terrorists, the game has players face off in fast, furious and precise gameplay with a variety of different weapons, all of which are customisable.
The game has attracted significant attention in the eSports world, with over $12m generated in prize money over 2020.Unsuprisingly, as it is an FPS game, success hinges on precise controlling of the player, customising the weapon loadouts, and knowing the various stages inside and out.
League of Legends
Since its conception in 2009, League of Legends has gradually increased in popularity, going from your typical run-of-the-mill multiplayer battle arena to a global juggernaut, advertised all across the internet and being a fiercely competitive eSports industry.
The basic premise of the game has remained consistent since its launch. Two teams of five players each take to the arena in PVP (player vs player) combat. The primary game mode involves traversing the main map, Summoner’s Rift, and destroying the “Nexus” controlled by the opposing team.
What makes League of Legends interesting is the vast number of player characters available, which are known as “Champions”. There are an impressive number of different Champions to pick from, each with their own specialist skillset, playstyle, and typical role within an RPG – think tanks, heaters and the like.
League of Legends is considered by many to be one of the most prolific and successful competitive eSports industries out there, with an excess of $8m generated in prize money in 2020 alone. The game requires teams to work together, so an innate understanding of your own character, as well as the fighters of your teammates and opponents, is key to securing victory.
Dota 2 is another entry that strays into the realm of Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA). In a lot of respects, Dota 2 and League of Legends are similar in that they both share a basic game premise. However, the gameplay and strategies are different enough to earn both a place in the eSports industry.
Once again, we’re back in the realm of PVP combat. The teams are like League of Legends, a 10-player match with two five-man teams. The objective is to find and destroy the “Ancient” of the other team. The structure is located at the heart of the opponent’s territory which adds a layer of risk and reward to the gameplay.
Players adopt the role of a “Hero”, a player character that will have wildly diverse skill sets and abilities depending on the character chosen. This allows for diverse team building.
The level of strategy present in the game is what makes it such an interesting competitive sport. Because your own structure could come under attack at any point, it is important to try and plan ahead by having people stay behind and guard it – thus reducing the pressure you can put on the opponent. It is this level of required thought which brought nearly $9m into the industry in terms of prize money.
So it is probably not difficult to see that the eSports industry is one that has enjoyed both commercial and critical success in the last 5-10 years.
There many speculated reasons as to why this is the case. The growing popularity of online gaming, as well as the creation of cross-platform titles, has definitely promoted certain games. The coronavirus pandemic has also played a noticeable role by driving a large percentage of the population online to play video games. Considering the widespread distribution of internet facilities in the modern period too, it’s not difficult to see how these types of games have become popular.
The industries themselves are fairly ludicrous. They generate fairly substantial revenues and provide a gateway for many young professionals to step into the competitive world of eSports. Sponsorship deals and the opportunity to create a name for yourself are incredibly tempting, especially if somebody has the skills required to thrive in a top-level competitive environment.
It’s highly likely that the industry will continue to thrive and grow even when life returns to a state of semi normality. This is because the wheels of the competitive online gaming industry are now in motion, and most likely cannot be stopped. The last few years have proven that not only is their demand for competitions and large cash prizes, but it is a profitable industry for any company that enters it as a sponsor or provider.