During the past year, eSports started gaining attention outside of its community and began to grow in popularity, which in turn boosted the size of the global eSports market. It is estimated that in 2019 alone, almost half a billion people around the world tuned in to watch gamers play, bringing the gaming industry revenue to an all-time high topping $1 billion.
All predictions indicate that the eSports industry is going to continue its tremendous growth well into 2020 and the future beyond. New competitive video games get released all of the time, as well as upgrades to already existing eSports games, which can breathe a new life into the older titles. The industry is growing quickly and the more people are involved in it, the more players will tune in and the more investments will go in the market. A week barely goes by without a new release that is pumped up by its developers. Of course, not all potential eSports games turn out to be as popular as Fortnite or League of Legends, with many smaller releases failing to meet the expectations or simply not being intriguing enough. In the current 2020 eSports update, we are going to discuss the most popular eSport games that are worth following this year, the new and exciting releases, the biggest competitions in the industry and some industry predictions.
Which eSports games are going to dominate the market in 2020?
There are hundreds of different eSports games, but there are only a few that have made it to the top in terms of popularity, players, viewers, and streamers. The most popular eSports games today have millions of players online at any given time, and there are various competitions set up surrounding the games. Here are the top five eSpots games in 2020:
Total Prize Money: $46,150,000
Total Tournaments: 24
Biggest Tournament: The International (2 Million Viewers)
Dota 2 was first released in 2013, following the success of Dota. The game is played in a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) and is free to play. It now records over 10 million active players every month. It is also one of the only games that have managed to dethrone League of Legends as the most-watched eSports game on Twitch in April 2017.
Total Prize Money:$64,338,000
Total Tournaments: 22
Biggest Tournament: Fortnite World Cup (2.3 Million Viewers)
Fortnite is one of the most popular third-person shooter/player-versus-environment (PVE) multiplayer survival-crafting game. The game was quickly re-shaped into a player-versus-player experience with the release of a free-to-play additional game mode – Fortnite Battle Royale, which became even more popular than the original. There are up 100 players on the field fighting each other till the last one stands.
The release gathered over 1 million players on launch and millions of concurrent players in 2019. Fortnite is among the top eSports games in terms of prize money and popularity in 2019, with over $20 million handed out in prizes. It was the top game of 2019 in terms of revenue, bringing in close to $1.8 billion for the developer, Epic Games.
League of Legends
Total Prize Money:$8,948,000
Total Tournaments: 45
Biggest Tournament: LoL Worlds (3.9 Million Viewers)
League of Legends sits third in our list of the top eSports games, with over $8 million in prize money given out as prizes during 2019. LoL is an action-packed competitive game, with elements of First-Person Shooter games and Role-play. In the game two teams of “champions” battle on various maps and under different game modes. Each of the teams has unique characteristics and abilities. Currently, Lol is the most popular game with an audience of almost 4 million people tuning in to watch the tournaments last year.
Total Prize Money: $17,578,000
Total Tournaments: 34
Biggest Tournament: IEM Katowice Major (1.2 Million Viewers)
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was released back in 2012 as the newest game in the long-running popular Counter-Strike series of FPS multiplayer games. The game dominates the eSports world with million-dollar tournament prize-pools backed by the developer Valve, who co-sponsors and organizes the ‘Majors’ events. Many third-party eSports organizers such as the Electronic Sport League host events as well, but on a smaller scale. CS:GO is the most-watched eSports game in the United Kingdom for the past year.
Call of Duty
Total Prize Money: $6,000,000
Total Tournaments: 6
Biggest Tournament: Call of Duty World League – 200,000 v.
This game can be played as a single-player and multiplayer version and is one of the longest-running in the FPS franchise. It is best known for its competitive gaming communities and huge professional eSports tournaments organized by Activision together with multiple other sponsors and groups, such as Electronic Sports League, PlayStation and Major League Gaming.
Other games that are going to dominate the year include PUBG, Overwatch, Starcraft 2, and Hearthstone. Even though the games mentioned above pretty much dominate the industry at the moment, there are a few new game releases in 2020 which have captured the attention of the players.
Here are the most anticipated game releases that we are going to see in the upcoming year:
1. Teamfight Tactics
The auto-battler was developed by the legendary Riot Games as a game mode for League of Legends and is already enjoyed by more than 30 million players on PC every month. It is set to be released for Android and iOS in the summer of 2020.
There is, without a doubt, a lot of indication that Teamfight Tactics will be one of the hottest new eSports games in 2020. Since its release last year, it is already played by millions of people and there been a couple of hundred-thousand-dollar tournaments hosted.
2. Halo Infinite
The Halo series is one of the oldest eSports franchises still running today. The game has been played competitively since the release of its first title – Halo: Combat Evolved back in 2001. With the continuous growth of the eSports industry, the professional scene of Halo has also grown.
The last release of the game has had a total of 75 tournaments played with a total prize pool of $7 million. The game will be released later in the year.
3. Dota Underworlds
It is well known that the popular Dota 2 game is a competitor to the even more popular League of Legends. Analogically, it is expected that Dota Underlords will be a competitor to Teamfight Tactics. The two titles are competing in the same genre and are both expected to rise in popularity in the upcoming year.
Dota Underlords is expected to be released in late February 2020.
4. Doom Eternal
Set to be released later in the year, Doom Eternal is an upcoming competitive game that is expected to top the charts. If you follow the eSports industry, you are probably aware that the Doom franchise has been around for a while.
The first game of the series was released in 1993, and since then, there have been five new releases, with Doom Eternal being the sixth. The game is expected to be released in March 2020.
5. Final Fantasy 7 Remake
The Remake of the popular game from 1997 and will be released in March 2020. Final Fantasy 7 is an action role-playing game developed by Square Enix for PlayStation 4. The players get to follow Cloud Strife, an ex-soldier eco-terrorist who is fighting an evil corporation that is draining the planet’s life energy. The game was quite a hit back in the day and it will be interesting to see if the new release will follow in the same footsteps.
The Top Five Most Anticipated eSports Events in 2020:
1. Fortnite World Cup
The 2019 Fortnite World Cup tournament was one of the most significant events in terms of the total prize pool, which topped $100 million. The organizer of the tournament is Epic Games, the game developer. The final dates for the 2020 Fortnite World Cup and the prize pool are yet to be announced.The event is usually held in the summer.
2. The International (Dota 2 Championship)
The annual world championship for DOTA 2 is one of the biggest eSports events of the year and is quite popular amongst gamers thanks to the big prizes. The total prize pool in 2019 reached $34 million, while the winning team alone collected $15 million. The event is organized by Valve Corporation, the game’s developer. Stay tuned for more information on the 2020 event and its dates.
3. League of Legends World Championship
The annual world tournament for League of Legends has been the most popular event in the eSports industry for the past few years. The 2020 tournament is hosted in China by Riot Games, the game developer, and will feature 24 teams from 14 different countries from around the world.
The tournament dates are yet to be announced, but the qualification rounds are set to start soon.
BlizzCon is a popular gaming convention, and the 2020 event is one of the most anticipated eSports events of 2020. This tournament is annually hosted by the American video game developer, Blizzard Entertainment. BlizzCon is one of the older annual eSports events and has been hosted for the past 14 years. The tournament usually sees a huge number of participants, and there are around 40,000 or more gamers expected to enter the tournament this year. This event features games such as Overwatch, Starcraft II, World of Warcraft.
5. Capcom Cup
The Capcom Cup is a live eSports tournament and is hosted annually since 2013. It usually features 16-32 players who need to win at smaller competitive events to qualify for the final event.
The 2020 Capcom event is going to be held on July 4th and 5th in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The qualifications are going to be held from March 2020 until June.
Voice of the Player Magazine Issue 8, Article List