What is Esports? A Guide to the Gaming Phenomenon

Posted on June 30, 2021

The rise and rise of esports continues and yet there are still many people who are still unfamiliar with what is now a multi-billion dollar industry.

So in this article, we strip esports back to the bare bones. We answer key questions for newcomers to the industry, answering questions like; what is esports? What are the most popular esports? What are the most popular esports tournaments and much more.

So let’s begin with the first and most obvious question for newcomers to esports.

What is Esports?

Esports is a term used to describe electronic sports (hence esports).

The simple answer to the question of what is esports is that it is a form of competitive video gaming.

This is different from your standard video game, as in esports the game is used to facilitate competition between one or more players against each other. On a standard video game, a player mainly plays alone pitted against the software.

What is esports

In top esports events, there are many similarities with traditional sports events. There can be large prizes on offer for the best teams, the players are professional and large crowds attend these events in their tens of thousands all over the world.

Additionally, millions of viewers can also tune in to watch esports online through a number of streaming services such as YouTube and Twitch. Viewers come from all over the world and esports is also now being shown on a number of satellite and terrestrial TV channels too.

Esports players can play using either personal computers or gaming consoles. There is also a burgeoning market for mobile esports gaming now too. The highest earning esports players can earn huge amounts of money from winnings, sponsorship, endorsement, and streaming.

Almost any game release could become a popular esport, but there are some games that have proven to be especially popular and these are the games most widely played across the esports industry today.

What are the Most Popular Esports Games?

League of Legends

There are a number of very popular games that have become massively popular esports titles around the globe. Some of the most popular are listed below (together with the commonly used acronyms for each of the games if applicable)

  • League of Legends (LoL)
  • Defense of the Ancients 2 (Dota 2)
  • Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO or just CSGO)
  • Overwatch (OW)
  • Fortnite
  • Call of Duty (CoD)
  • StarCraft II (SCII)
  • Rocket League (RL)
  • Streetfighter
  • Player Unknown Battlegrounds (PUBG)
  • Rainbow Six Siege (R6S)
  • VALORANT
  • Apex Legends
  • Hearthstone
  • FIFA
  • Madden
  • NBA2K

Some esports can be played by individuals, such as Hearthstone, Madden, and FIFA, while other esports are played by teams of players as is the case in LoL, CSGO, Dota 2, Overwatch, CoD, and more.

Some esports can be played both individually and as a team, such as the sports titles like Madden, NBA2K, and FIFA.

What makes esports increasingly appealing is that new titles become popular over time and allow players a new challenge and other opportunities within the esports industry to develop.

What are The Biggest Esports Tournaments?

The future of Dota 2 -The International- in Sweden

Almost all of the top esports titles listed above have main tournaments that are the most prestigious (and often highest paying) tournaments of the year. Some of the biggest tournaments for the top esports professionals to compete in include:

  • The International (Dota 2)
  • League of Legends Spring/Summer Splits, Mid Season Invitational, and World Championship
  • Dota Pro Circuit
  • Overwatch League
  • Call Of Duty League
  • FIFAe World Cup
  • ESL, PGL, IEM Majors, BLAST Premier World Finals (CS:GO)
  • VALORANT Masters/Champions

There is fluidity when it comes to which are the best esports tournaments with new tournaments being created regularly and existing tournaments either being revamped, reshaped, or reworked to appeal to an increasing number of teams, players, and viewers.

As Esports has grown the industry has become far better regulated, much more professional and as a result has attracted thousands of sponsors, many of which are household names. With a burgeoning esports betting industry to add further spice, not to mention greater exposure across all forms of media, little wonder that the industry is expected to experience continued growth for many years to come.

So the real answer to what is esports, is that it is a phenomenon.

Ian John Avatar
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Ian John

A lifelong poker fan, Ian is also well-versed in the world of sports betting, casino gaming, and has written extensively on the online gambling industry. Based in the UK, Ian brings fresh insight into all facets of gaming.

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