In a few short years, Esports has become one of the most-watched categories in professional sports. Fans fill stadiums to get a glimpse of the best Esports players, and an estimated 250 million people watch esports worldwide.
By some estimates, esports will surpass many traditional sports in viewership over the next decade. While there’s still debate about whether professional gamers should be considered athletes and which games should be considered esports, there’s no question that the popularity of esports shows no signs of slowing down. In this article, we take a look at some of the world’s most popular esports.
Poker is one of the world’s most popular card games, with the World Series of Poker attracting well over a million viewers on ESPN every year. As an esport, Poker has made a splash on Twitch’s video game streaming platform, where fans watch top gamers play their favorite video games.
Almost 60,000 people tuned in to Twitch in May of 2020 to watch professional poker player Lex Veldhuis crush the competition, making it the most-watched channel on the platform that day. As the unofficial home of esports, that day left little question that Poker is among the world’s most popular esports.
It’s no surprise Poker is popular on Twitch. After all, Poker is one of the most accessible esports, with online poker sites attracting all types of players. Many esports fans play Poker in their free time, and there are lots of online websites that help players perfect their game.
League of Legends
Although its numbers don’t yet compare to those of the Super Bowl, it’s hard to compete with League of Legends when it comes to esports. This popular esports title has experienced exponential growth over the past year, with tournament viewership increasing by around 13% in 2021.
During a League of Legends World broadcast in 2021, there were 4 million peak viewers, shattering its previous record. The game’s championship was second only to Singapore’s Free Fire World Series 2021 for most viewers in history. Europe and South Korea make up the largest League of Legends fanbase, but this esport favorite is gaining traction with fans all around the world.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Counter-Strike made its first appearance in 2000 before anyone knew that the internet would change gaming forever. The second game in the series, Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, came out in 2004, long before esports became popular.
The latest installment in the series. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) was released in 2012, becoming one of the most popular first-person shooter games in esports worldwide.
More than 20 million people play GS:GO globally, and game developer Valve sponsors the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major Championships (Majors), which have been held annually since 2013.
If you’ve played World of Warcraft (WoW), chances are you’re familiar with Overwatch. WoW’s developer Blizzard entertainment created this game that combines elements of the multiplayer online battle arena genre with first-person shooter mechanics.
Players get to choose between different characters to take on missions. The characters are equipped with four different abilities and weapons, making it possible for them to outwit competitors with the right skills. The game boasts more than 3,000 players worldwide.