Esports have exploded into popular culture over the last couple of years. Less than a decade ago, video game competitions were a niche hobby enjoyed by diehard gamers. Today, esport leagues and tournaments are broadcast on major television networks and watched by around half a billion people over the internet each year.


Best Esports Games
 

This popularity helps them to generate around $1 billion in revenue annually, much of which comes from sponsorship deals signed with major brands like Intel, Redbull, Acer, and OnePlus. 

The growth of esports has also helped many professional gamers to become celebrities, just like successful athletes in other disciplines like football, tennis, and cycling. 

But if you’re new to the world of esports and you’d like to get involved, either as a competitor or a spectator, you may be wondering which game is the best.
 

Dota 2

In 2018, Dota 2 took the title as the game with the highest esports prize in history, paying more than $25.5 million to the competitors. The battle arena game was released back in July 2013, but unlike some other titles in this list, it remains exclusive to PC. 

It was originally developed as a community-created mod for Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos but was eventually turned into an official game by Valve. 

It’s free-to-play, meaning you can download it and start playing without having to spend a single penny. You will notice that this is a common theme among many of the esports titles on this list, and that is probably not a coincidence since it allows players to try the game out without risking any money. 
 

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Counter-Strike is one of the longest-running first-person shooter franchises on the market with the first game being released in 2000. CS: GO was released 12 years later as the fourth title in the main series, though it wasn’t an immediate success. 

The game took off after the “Arms Deal” update in 2013 which added customizations and microtransactions. 

Today, CS: GO is a free-to-play title making it another easy game to start playing. It’s also available on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, in addition to computers.


Best Esports Games, Fortnite


Fortnite

Fortnite is yet another free-to-play game. It has been made available on just about every modern platform, including computers, smartphones, the Nintendo Switch, and the last two generations of PlayStation and Xbox. 

It helped to popularise the “battle royale” genre, with 100 players being parachuted into a map where they are forced to scavenge for resources and fight each other; the last one standing is then declared the winner. 

Its popularity means that there are dozens of major esports tournaments for Fortnite players on every continent. 


PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG)

While Fortnite helped to popularise the battle royale format, PUBG defined it. Released in late 2017, the game has had players competing for a “winner, winner, chicken dinner” for several years now. 

Like Fortnite, PUBG has been released on several platforms, including the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, iOS, Android, PC, and Stadia. However, the main PC version isn’t free to play. Instead, you’ll still have to shell out around $30 (depending on which country you’re in) for the full version. 

That doesn’t put many players off though; the game is still incredibly popular and has esports events for both the PC and mobile versions. 


Hearthstone

Hearthstone is a digital trading card game that was developed by Blizzard. It was released back in 2014 and is still going strong today. If you’ve ever played a real-life trading card game, you will be familiar with the format. If you haven’t then it’s pretty easy to pick up. You’re given a deck of 30 cards, each with different powers. You must try to defeat your opponent by taking it in turns to use one of these powers. 

There are several major esports competitions that use Hearthstone, including the Hearthstone World Championship, the Masters Tour, and the GrandMasters. The game was also included in the esports exhibition at the 2018 Asian Games.


In 2018, the game passed the 100 million lifetime players milestone, an achievement that was helped by the fact that it is also free-to-play. 

 

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