Worldwide 250 million people involved in esports actively play. The growth of this leisure industry has been phenomenal. New games launch every year. Some games dominate the landscape and of course are more popular than others.
What does domination mean ? It can mean different things to different groups, or even different continents around the world. Some games are more popular globally while others are regional successes. Some games have large organised tournaments with large cash prizes and some have lots more players than tournaments.
We list the top 10 esports games by the amount of reward money they have awarded for tournaments. Data collected from Esports Earnings Website.
|1. Dota 2|
|2. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive|
|4. League of Legends|
|5. StarCraft II|
|6. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG)|
|9. Heroes of the Storm|
|10. Arena of Valour|
Release Year – 2013
Total Prize Money Awarded – $224.7 million
Noteworthy Tournaments – The International
Top Players – Johan Sundstein, Jesse Vainikka, Anathan Pham
Dota 2: A popular multiplayer battle arena esports game developed by Valve Corporation. It is a sequel to Defence of the Ancients: All-Stars. It is most popular in North America and Europe.
The game is played in teams of five, each team defends an area on a map. One team wins by destroying a structure called “Ancient” within the other team’s base.
Release Year – 2012
Total Prize Money Awarded – $96.5 million
Noteworthy Tournaments – World Electronic Sports Games (WESG), ELEAGUE
Top Players – Andreas Højsleth, Peter Rasmussen, Nicolai Reedtz
This is another popular esports game developed by Valve Corporation, in collaboration with Hidden Path Entertainment. Moreover, is a first-person shooter game and, importantly, is the fourth one in the Counter-Strike series.
This game is basically played between two teams—terrorists and counter-terrorists. The terrorists take hostages and plant a bomb. The counter-terrorists have to save the hostages and defuse the bomb.
Release Year – 2017
Total Prize Money Awarded – $89.1 million
Noteworthy Tournaments – Fortnite World Cup, Fortnite Fall Skirmish Series, Fortnite Summer Skirmish Series
Top Players – Kyle Giersdorf, Harrison Chang, David Wang
Fortnite is a popular multiplayer online game developed by Epic Games. Firstly, it has three different game modes but still counts as just one game. Secondly, here are the details of each game mode:
Save the World – It involves up to 4 players fighting zombie-like creatures to defend themselves and other survivors.
Battle Royale, is a player-versus-player type of game where up to 100 players fight to be the last person standing. Importantly, it can also be played in teams.
Creative – This is the sandbox mode where players have creative control over the game world.
Release Year – 2009
Total Prize Money Awarded – $75.5 million
Noteworthy Tournaments – LoL World Championship
Top Players – Sang Hyeok Lee, Ho Seong Lee, Jun Sik Bae
This is a multiplayer real-time strategy action game developed by Riot Games. It is quite popular in Asia.
It is played by two teams or either 3 or 5 players each and is a bit similar to Dota 2 in gameplay. Similar to Dota 2, here a team wins by destroying a structure called “Nexus” within the other team’s base.
Release Year – 2010
Total Prize Money Awarded – $33.0 million
Noteworthy Tournaments – WCS Global Finals, World Electronic Sports Games (WESG)
Top Players – Sung Choo Cho, Joona Sotala, Byung Ryul Lee
It is a real-time strategy game that was developed by Blizzard Entertainment. It is a sequel to the original Starcraft game.
The game is set in a science-fiction scenario where three species—Terrans, Zerg, and Protoss. It is divided into 3 parts with the base game Wings of Liberty and two expansion packs. The first part focusses on Terrans (humans), while the other two revolve around the Zerg and Protoss.
Release Year – 2017
Total Prize Money Awarded – $22.2 million
Noteworthy Tournaments – PUBG Global Championship, PUBG Nations Cup
Top Players – Jeong Yeong Bak, Jeong Wan Go, Seung Hoon Cha
This is a battle royale type game developed by UBG Corporation. In this game, up to 100 players compete against each other to be the last one standing. It can be played in teams as well.
Release Year – 2016
Total Prize Money Awarded – $21.7 million
Noteworthy Tournaments – Overwatch League
Top Players – Jae Hee Hong, Joon Yeong Park, Ji Hyuk Kim
This is a first-person shooter game developed by Blizzard Entertainment and is played in teams of six. The goal is either to secure control points on a map or to take a payload from one point to another, within a specified time. The game is very popular in Asia but is played around the world.
Release Year – 2014
Total Prize Money Awarded – $21.1 million
Noteworthy Tournaments – Hearthstone World Championship, GrandMasters, Masters Tour
Top Players – Thijs Molendijk, Wei Lin Chen, Pavel Beltiukov
It is a free digital card game developed by Blizzard Entertainment. It is played one-on-one between two players and is a turn-based game. Each player gets a deck of 30 cards and can select a hero with a unique ability. There are many game modes available.
Release Year – 2015
Total Prize Money Awarded – $18.1 million
Noteworthy Tournaments – Heroes of the Storm Global Championship
Top Players – Won Ho Jeong, Jung Hyeog Lee, Jae Won Lee
It is a multiplayer game developed by Blizzard Entertainment. The game features different players and battlegrounds form Blizzard’s other popular games like Warcraft and Overwatch. Due to a broader playstyle, it is called a “hero brawler” game, rather than a “multiplayer online battle arena” game or an “action real-time strategy” game.
Release Year – 2015
Total Prize Money Awarded – $14.5 million
Noteworthy Tournaments – Honor of Kings World Champion Cup, King Pro League
Top Players – Game player names Cat, NuoYan, and Alan (original names not available)
It is a multiplayer online battle arena game developed by TiMi Studios, but was published by more popular gaming and media conglomerate Tencent Games. The game is played in teams of five and has multiple modes.