Biggest Esports Games every gamer should know

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
3. Fortnite
4. League of Legends
5. StarCraft II
6. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG)
7. Overwatch
8. Hearthstone
9. Heroes of the Storm
10. Arena of Valour

1. Dota 2

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.


2. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

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. 


3. Fortnite

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.


4. League of Legends

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.


5. StarCraft II

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.


6. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG)

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.


7. Overwatch

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.


8. Hearthstone

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.


9. Heroes of the Storm

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.


10. Arena of Valor

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.

Comments (1)
Erin Yarrington
March 7, 2021

Greetings! I’ve been following your site for some time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Kingwood Texas! Just wanted to say keep up the good job!|

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