Esports, or electronic sports, are video games that are played competitively, often for prizes. These events are hugely engaging for fans of these games, letting them root for players and teams as they do what they do best.
For game developers, they can be a lucrative source of revenue, helping them sell skins and other unlocks within their games, to get more players to their games and to sell more merchandise and gadgets that can aid esports performance and help players reach the big-time.
The question is: can any game become a successful esport? We have seen games across various platforms become popular with the competitive gaming community, from powerful PC titles to mobile games downloaded from the Google Play store. 2019 looks to be similarly varied year when it comes to esports success.
Which Games Are Already Major Esports?
There are already plenty of games that have found success within esports. These include games like gritty battle royale title PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, military shooter series Call of Duty and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and MOBA games League of Legends and Dota 2. Blizzard Entertainment’s multiplayer shooter Overwatch is a growing esport too, fuelled by the interest in its Overwatch League competition.
These games are considered successful esports because of the mainstream interest in them. It’s not just players of these games who are tuning in or spending money to support the esports scene; they are drawing major sponsors and third-party interest.
With Overwatch League, that looks like big brand sponsors such as Disney, ESPN, and Toyota. Esports betting sites such as Betway have also embraced the game, allowing fans to bet on the outcome of Overwatch League matches.
Fans can place money and bet on all kinds of matchups, supporting their favorite teams or cheering on the underdog. This shows that companies recognize that there is a serious interest in the game and that it isn’t just a niche competition.
One game that could potentially reach the same esports success as Overwatch, League of Legends and CS:GO is Farm Simulator. While a peaceful game about agriculture may not seem like a smart choice, Mashable’s report on the Farming Simulator esports plans explains that there really is a big competitive scene around the game.
When the Farming Simulator League launches sometime in 2019, it will feature a three versus three player (3v3) mode competitive mode. Giants Software, the developer behind the series, hasn’t disclosed what this game mode will entail, but it is putting a lot of money behind the esports initiative.
There will be 10 tournaments across Europe and, including the fight for the champion and other esports tournaments for the game, prizes equal €250,000.
What is Apex Legends? (Starter’s Guide)
Apex Legends, the new game from Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment, came out of nowhere. However, the game, which is a take on the battle royale genre, quickly achieved 25 million players, reports Eurogamer.
It took just a week for it to achieve that figure and it had people wondering whether the game could become a real thorn in the side of Fortnite and other, established games in the genre.
While Respawn and the game’s publisher, EA, haven’t announced any major Apex Legends esports plans yet, it could be on the cards. It has already hosted tournaments on Twitch and the opportunity for expansion is there.
11 Biggest Changes In Fortnite Season 8
Epic Games battle royale game Fortnite took big steps into the world of esports in 2018. The studio hosted seasonal “Skirmish” events for the game which offered players the chance for glory and a whole lot of cash.
In 2019, Epic will only be kicking things up a notch. GameSpot says that Epic has announced a $100 million prize fund for the Fortnite World Cup competition, which will take place later in 2019. This figure makes Fortnite the biggest esports game ever, eclipsing games like Dota 2, which had previously boasted the biggest esports prize pool.
As games like Apex Legends showed, the next big game can come out of nowhere. So, while these games are tipped for esports success in 2019, maybe a new game will show up and surprise everyone.