The world of Esports has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decade, and it currently shows no signs of slowing down. On the contrary, many large game developers have invested considerable time and effort into creating properties specifically designed to be played as Esports. The big arena events are no longer limited to the classic MOBA titles. Instead, the Esports world continues to diversify, and as it does so, its audience continues to expand.
With millions of dollars in prizes on the line for top competitors, these games are not only fun to play but plenty of fun to watch as a spectator, too. What games are likely to command the most attention from Esports fans this year? Let’s look at the five biggest Esports you can follow in 2022.
1. League of Legends Remains Hugely Popular
If you know, you know. League has been the king of Esports almost since its inception. While it certainly wasn’t the genre’s originator, it contributed immensely to popularising Esports and attracting a massive audience. Today, this 5v5 multiplayer online battle arena has more than 150 playable characters and a growing media empire outside of the game. With nearly 7,500 professional players as of 2022 and multi-million dollar prize pools for its seasonal and world championship competitions, there is still a vibrant LoL Esports community to follow and enjoy.
2. DOTA 2 Still Brings the Excitement
By some metrics, the undisputed king of Esports, DOTA 2 by Valve Corporation, takes the original MOBA classic and updates it with everything from more exciting heroes to play to more technically complex gameplay. Although it is similar to League in terms of actual gameplay and team composition, it requires on-the-spot decision-making and quick thinking beyond rote button memorisation. The International, the major Dota 2 tournament held each year, regularly achieves some of the highest prize pools in all of Esports. In 2021, the International awarded more than a whopping $40 million in prizes.
3. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Keeps a Legacy of Competition Alive
While the MOBA genre dominated Esports for many years, Valve Corporation was hard at work to deliver an enhanced version of the classic early 2000s Counter-Strike. Once the cause for many a late-night or missed homework assignment, Counter-Strike is a 5v5 first-person shooter. One team attempts to complete a set of mission objectives while the other team aims to stop them.
CS:GO took this formula and refined it for the world of Esports, adding even more tactical gameplay that demands mastery of a wide range of skills. Viewership for CS:GO tournaments is strong, and with more than $20 million in prize pools across all the annual tournaments, teams have a lot to battle for in tactical gunfights.
4. Valorant Carves Out a New Niche
Valve isn’t the only company to invest in developing new Esports properties. Riot Games, creators of League of Legends, officially released its own first-person shooter title called Valorant in 2020. Using a “hero” system similar to LoL and Dota 2, players must master multiple characters to compete on the battlefield. Valorant plays similarly to Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch, itself a highly popular Esport. The Valorant Champions tournament was first held in 2021 with a cool $1 million prize pool. New and still growing, Valorant is likely to be one of the most exciting Esports to watch as tactics and strategy evolve in real-time.
5. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege Adds Strategy to the Mix
Another popular first-person shooter, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege, brought a long-running franchise into the Esports world. A highly tactical shooter that sees one team defending a building against an attacking team, a great deal of preparation and strategic thinking goes into a successful match. That, and plenty of twitch shooting reactions, too. The combination of skill, strategy, and quick reaction times makes Rainbow Six: Siege an exhilarating game to watch on stream or in person. No two matches are alike, and an interesting metagame between teams often develops over the course of multi-game heats.
The Six Invitational is currently the major championship event for this game, with a total prize pool of $3 million. The winning team takes home a handsome $1 million to split among its members. With rising viewership, Siege is definitely a game to keep an eye on this year.
Enjoy the Esports Excitement Today
From the hectic gameplay of League of Legends and DOTA 2 to the strategic intricacies of games like Rainbow Six, there is no shortage of options for interesting Esports to watch in 2022. Streaming live throughout the year on sites such as Twitch, you can get involved in the community just about any time. Add in the excitement of Esports betting, and it could be the start of a brand-new hobby. What game will capture your attention?