eSports began slowly in 1972. When the first home consoles started to become popular, Space Invaders became the very first game to have an official tournament played for prize money. Ten thousand participants showed up to play that very first tournament, and just a year later, a Donkey Kong tournament was held. From then on, esports grew at a fast rate. Back then, it was all pixel graphics and side scrollers; the most played esports games today are games of a completely different pedigree. Let’s learn a little about them.
Back in the day
eSports today is barely recognizable compared to what it was in the early seventies. A tournament of 10,000 people may seem like a lot of people, but when you compare that to the 173,000 people who attended Intel Extreme Masters in Poland in 2017 — it’s easy to see how much things have changed. It was really in the early 1990s that the phenomenon of esports really began to take off: with titles that we all still know and love, like Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, and GoldenEye.
As game tech improved progressively, so did the players and the amount of access that gamers and fans all over the world had. They could now attend these competitions in person or live stream from wherever they were located. Esports games are popular not only because of the number of people who love gaming but also because of how the game community has blossomed into a safe and exciting space for players and fans all over the world.
Today’s most popular games
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang
This multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game is the most played esports title in the world. It’s not dissimilar from many other games in its category: two teams of five players each face off against each other in ten-minute matches. The gameplay is fast and furious but otherwise typical. Players need to take out as many opponents as they can and defend their tower while fighting to destroy the enemies. There are no level-ups here and no pay-to-play angles at all. You win or lose Mobile Legends based on your skill or lack thereof.
League of Legends
League of Legends (LOL) comes in at number two. LOL isn’t just one of the most played esports games in the world; it’s one of the most played video games by any kind of gamer on the planet as well. With over 140 champions for players to choose from, it’s hardly surprising that people come back to this turn-based strategy game time and time again. Each team competes to reach the others’ nexus — the heart of their base. Your team will need to clear a path or a ‘lane’ to get to the other team’s base and take it out. Taking this out means no access to safety or to the fountain where players can replenish their health again. Earn experience points and power your champion up to afford them the best chance at winning.
Travel to the near future in our number three esports game, Valorant. This tactical first-person shooter (FPS ) sees players taking on the role of agents. These are characters that are based on several different world cultures. In the most played game mode, agents are either attackers or defenders. Each agent has a singular set of abilities that require ‘charging’ by improving skills during the game. Each agent will start the game round with a classic weapon and may earn a better weapon by charging and upskilling. Players can choose from 20 wildly different agents over the course of the game (but only five to start off with) and unlock extra agents as they go.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Some versions of CounterStrike have been around now for almost two decades, so it’s hardly surprising that Global Offensive (GO) is number four on our list of most played esports games. This newest version offers the player access to all new maps, characters, game modes, and weapons, as well as some classic Counter-Strike content. A tactical FPS is an ideal esports game, and this one pits terrorists against counter-terrorists in a race to rescue or hold onto hostages. There are a whopping nine game modes to choose from — so even regular gamers can play over and over again. Each mode has special characteristics that make it worth choosing. The gameplay and the common thread are two of the main reasons that this game is such a winner.
Mobile games are certainly a part of the modern esports revolution, and PUBG Mobile is the first one on the list. The mobile version of the game stays very true to the original. The game starts with players being dropped into the battleground from the air. The map they’re landing on is selected before the match begins. Each player chooses where they’re going to land. The border between the safe zone and the exterior zone starts out at its largest and gets periodically smaller and smaller as the game progresses. Players must fight for weapons and supplies and stay alive through all the dangerous encounters that they have on the island. The only goal is to stay alive.
These are some of the most played and best-loved esports games in the world. Which ones have you tried so far?