The Best Games to Back in eSports Competitions

The Best Games to Back in eSports Competitions

Although esports have existed since around 1972, the term “esports” was initially used in 2000

Since then, it has become commonplace in countless households worldwide as tournaments, competitors, and video game fans have grown progressively.

Today, numerous tournaments take place throughout the year that vary primarily based on what game the tournament supports, with some games being more suited for esports than others, while others are chosen simply because they are fan favorites.

The games and the tournaments they’ve spawned are responsible for an esports industry valued at more than $1.72 billion. A good chunk of this amount is made up of bets placed on tournament outcomes through various bookmakers like those run by New Jersey online casinos.

The games below attract significant betting numbers, prizes, players, and viewers that increase exposure and boost the industry, making these games the best ones to back in any esports competition.

League of Legends – Riot Games

League of Legends (also known as LOL) was released in 2009 and rapidly gained popularity among players. The title has an extensive following in multiple countries and is known as the de facto authority in multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games.

The game stands out from competitors because it perfectly mixes tower defense, role-playing, and real-time strategy elements. It is also more complex than other MOBA titles, featuring complex gameplay that comprises juggling cooldowns, unique abilities, and skill shots.

While the game has been a natural choice for many in the esports scene, the fact that its developer has helped its growth in the industry hasn’t hurt. Sponsored by Riot Games, the League of Legends Championship Series is one of the largest tournaments for the game and offers players a prize pool of over $2 million.

Fortnite – Epic Games

In 2017, Epic Games inadvertently did much more than release just a game called Fortnite. Fortnite is one of the most popular battle royale games of all time. It became an instant success and a cult icon, with millions of players logging on daily and many collaborations with popular culture, such as being the platform of choice for releasing new songs and in-game concerts.

Because of its popularity, the game was quickly used in competitive settings, with the unique mix of battle and building skills necessary to succeed quickly attracting players. In 2020, Epic confirmed the game peaked at 12.3 million concurrent players, clearly showing its popularity.


Although already featuring great competition via an internal leaderboard and competition, the inaugural Fortnite World Cup tournament only occurred in 2019. Despite being its inaugural event, the competition had a prize pool of over $30 million, with the winner (a 16-year-old known as Bugha) scoring $3 million.

Dota 2 (Defense of the Ancients 2) – Valve

Aside from LOL, one of the best-known MOBA games internationally is Dota 2. Released in 2013, the game has undergone continuous updates that have kept it at the forefront of players’ attention and contributed to its substantial fan base.

The title features a selection of more than 100 heroes at the start of each game, challenging players to adapt to their choices. Each hero has unique abilities, attributes, and play styles that make playing the game a new experience every time.

Despite being released publicly in 2013, the first Dota 2 tournament used the beta version in 2011. Considering its birth into the esports industry, the game is still widely used, with the yearly Dota 2 International offering prize pools upwards of $30 million and sparking vigorous debate on whether LOL or Dota 2 is the ultimate MOBA game.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive / Counter-Strike 2 – Valve

The third installment in the Counter-Strike series, commonly known as CS:GO, was released to the public in 2012 and quickly gained a massive following. The game’s simple first-person shooter style attracted players looking for easy gameplay, while the nine game modes offered more difficulty for players looking to test their skills.


The addition of a battle royale-style mode called Danger Zone in 2018 again saw the game’s popularity skyrocket. This spike in gameplay carried it through numerous competitions until 2023 when the game was upgraded to Counter-Strike 2 (CS2). During its upgrade, the game recorded 1.5 million concurrent players on Steam.

With CS:GO, a popular title in tournaments, no longer available, many were concerned that CS2 would continue in the esports arena. Although slow to start, the game has been adopted, with tournaments like the ESL Pro League Season 19 featuring it and tantalizing players with a prize pool of $750,000.

StarCraft II – Blizzard Entertainment

Already proving that they know how to make a successful esports contender like Dota 2, StarCraft II is another title by Blizzard that is immensely popular among tournament competitors. The addition of the Legacy of the Void expansion, in particular, is highly favored among contestants.

As one of the relatively few real-time strategy (RTS) games in an industry dominated by MOBA titles, StarCraft II provides incredibly well-crafted gameplay and complexities. These appeal to players seeking to show off their skills, even if they may be daunting to new players or those who don’t understand the depth of the gameplay.


Featured in tournaments with multi-million-dollar prize pools, one of the largest competitions the game was played in was Blizzard’s World Champion Series. As of 2020, this has been replaced by the ESL Pro Tour StarCraft II and the coveted DreamHack SC2 Masters.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) – PUBG Studios

Ask any gamer, and they will instinctively tell you about the similarities between PUBG and Fortnite. Both games were released in 2017 and feature a battle royale mode that adds massive thrills to staying alive. While these similarities have led to multiple arguments over which title is better, there is much more to PUBG for those willing to look deeper.

Alongside battle royale, the game crosses multiple genres, featuring elements of MMOs, first-person shooters, and open-world titles. It also adds a unique difficulty level by making players start with no weapons and allowing them to spawn in any location they choose on the map.

The largest tournament hosting the game is the PUBG Global Invitational. However, PUBG Mobile, the version of the game used on smartphones, also hosts multiple championships, with the PUBG Mobile Global Open being among the largest and offering up to $500,000 in prize money—which is pretty impressive for a mobile game.