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Competitive gaming has been around for decades. Traditionally, it was more like a solo-act, and people mostly turned to Atari, SEGA, and Nintendo to kill time. However, now the tables have turned, and gaming is more than just a cure for boredom – it’s a multi-million dollar industry that has turned avid gamers into global icons - nothing short of bigwig celebs. Thanks to the exponential rise in internet speeds and eSports games, the eSports scene is continuously booming with massive prize pools and truckloads of viewership. Do you want to know the hottest eSports games that are driving gamers worldwide insane? Here are the five best eSports games in 2020. Read on and betake your pick to hone your video gaming experience.

1- League of Legends (LoL)

Prize Money (2019): $2.25 M

Viewership (July 2020): 198 K

Genre: Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas (MOBA)

Publisher: Riot Games

League of Legends (LoL) is hands down one of the biggest eSports games ruling the eSports industry.

It’s been over ten years since LoL appeared on the global showground. However, its fandom is still alive and kicking with a staggering 100 million player count per month in 2020, as boasted by Riot Games. Esports encompasses multiple tournaments in LoL, like the European LEC, US LCS, the World Championship, and many more - as well as local leagues like the UKLC.

Over the years, LoL has hosted over 2400 action-packed events and has distributed a grand amount in prize money – approx. $73.5m - among the winning teams.

For those who don’t know, LoL is a team-based strategy game - each team relies on 5 players with unique abilities. LoL is one of those fast-paced, action-packed eSports games that demand top-tier tactics to succeed. All teams compete with each other strategically and make their way through the lane by dismantling turrets and one inhibitor in order to demolish each other’s Nexus – the heart of both teams’ bases.

LoL is by far the most famous PC game. If you want to give LoL a shot, all you need to do is put your thinking cap on and make sure your internet connection offers an ideal speed to facilitate smooth gameplay.

2- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Prize Money (2019): $21.77M

Viewership (2020): 270 K

Genre: First Person Shooter (FPS)

Publisher: Valve Corporation

Debuted in 2012, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO) is one of the top eSports games in terms of multiplayer FPS genre of all times.

CS: GO is a complex 5v5 game with an equally impressive fan-base averaging 100K viewers every day. In the standard game mode, the Counter-Strike series has two teams—the Counter-Terrorists (CTs) and the Terrorists (Ts). While the Ts try to explode one of the two bombsites by planting a bomb, the team of Counter-Terrorists tries to prevent the attack.

CS: GO is a tactical First Person Shooter game that highly regards the wit and intellect of its players and rewards them at the end of each round. All props to Valve for incredible marketing tactics that fuel game records by gaining more players, and rewarding the game fans to incentivize viewership.

3- Fortnite

Prize Money (2019): $15.1 M

Viewership (July 2020): 133 K

Genre: Battle Royale, Survival, Sandbox

Publisher: Epic Games

Fortnite – one of the best eSports games for beginners, is the online Battle Royale game that arrived on the scene in 2017 and has absolutely taken the gaming world by storm! But what makes Fortnite so popular? During the period of one year after its launch this best eSports game drew a peak number of 200 K players. Fortnite did not just shake up the gaming industry but also reshaped pop gaming culture worldwide. Why? Because Fortnite is always in motion by dropping frequent updates and modifying gameplay patches every week to take the video gaming experience up a notch.

Fortnite can be played in three exciting modes: Fortnite: Save the World, Fortnite Battle Royale, and Fortnite Creative.

In Fortnite: Save the World, the players work together to combat zombie-like creatures and build defensive mechanisms to guard their objects. On the other hand, in Fortnite Battle Royale, up to 100 players free-fall into an island and hunt for gear to defend themselves. The last player alive wins the match. And lastly, the Fortnite creative sandboxing mode that gives complete freedom to the player to construct buildings and battlegrounds on up to 4 private islands. These can be shared by up to 16 players in multiplayer game mode under rules that can be tweaked.

4- Dota 2

Prize Money (2019): $34 M

Peak Viewership (2019): 100k

Genre: MOBA

Publisher: Valve Corporation

Released in 2013, Dota 2 – the only rival to LoL, was developed by the publisher of CS: OG; Valve. While LoL has made waves in the Asian territory, the top 25 highest-earning players in Dota 2 are scattered internationally, in 16 different countries, such as the U.S., China, France, and Romania —making it one of the top eSports games in 2020.

Dota 2 also has a 5v5 gameplay where two teams or “heroes” contend to demolish the “Ancient” – a sturdy structure located in the other team’s zone while guarding their own. Dota 2 has a massive eSports scene, and different teams from across the globe participate in professional tournaments hosted by Valve in the Dota Pro Circuit event format. Teams compete in these events to earn qualification points so as to level up to The International – the premier Dota annual tournament. The International championship has a giant prize pool that slowly climbed to over $34 million in 2019 – making it one of the most popular tournaments.

Dota 2 has a steep learning curve that takes a little practice before you get the hang of it. However, there’ll be no stopping you once you pick up the pace.

5- Hearthstone

Prize Money (2019): $1M

Peak Viewership (2019): 100k

Genre: Digital collectible card

Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment

Hearthstone is a free-to-play collectible card game that came out in 2014. It is one of the most popular eSports games with a player count that reached a staggering 100 million in 2018.

The characters and relics in Hearthstone are based on Blizzard’s previously published game lore, World of Warcraft.

There are four different types of cards in the game; minions, spells, weapons, and a hero. The game has two opponents who play one-on-one matches using constructed 30-card decks and a selected hero with a distinctive power. Both players rival to destroy the opponent’s hero.

Competitive Hearthstone started soon after its launch in 2014 with a $250,000 prize pool in the first year. Initially, players from Asia and Europe contested in the competition but, the game gained international fame in no time and earned the most popular eSports game hallmark.

The viewership of the Hearthstone tournament increased drastically in 2019, ranging from 50K to 150K, and peaking at 276K at the Hearthstone World Championship last year. However, in 2020, the viewership was hit by the COVID-19 outbreak, and so far, only one major tournament has taken place.

Ready, Get Set, Go!

The eSports industry is taking giant strides and frequently coming up with bigger and better games. So now is the perfect time to scout your internet options and try out different consoles to pick the game that goes with your style the best, as you begin to master the art of video gaming. All you need is a high-speed internet connection and some team members. And who knows your team gets to win the prize in the coming years!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the most popular game in eSports?

Esports is a vast world that has grown tremendously in recent years. The digital world is filled with a wide variety of games. However, this year League of Legends (LOL) tops the list with over 100 million active players.

What games are played in eSports?

Esports games usually fall into categories such as first-person shooter (FPS), fighting games, real-time strategy (RTS), and the most popular genre— MOBA or multiplayer online battle arena games.

What is the number 1 eSports game?

Speaking of 2020, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the most famous eSports game by tournament -with 2000 players, 287 tournaments and a whopping $7,807,197.62 prize pool.

Which eSports game makes the most money?

As of now, Dota 2 has handed out the highest prize money of more than $219 million. This amount is greater than the tournament money offered by any other eSports game.