10) Super Smash Bros. Melee
Editor’s note: To establish this ranking, an esport’s “popularity” is ascertained by combining the average total amount of hours viewed on Twitch over a period, total prize pools and tournament numbers, and in certain cases, introducing player base as a parameter.
Super Smash Bros. Melee might not be the first game to pop into most people’s minds when reviewing popular esports. Accessible and less complex in control, Smash Bros. is a franchise that has, perhaps, resonated the most among a wider, casual audience. And, indeed, many purist fighting game enthusiasts might argue its stature in the genre compared to IPs like Street Fighter, yet Smash Bros. does have a strong presence in the professional scene.
Smash Bros. Melee remains the definitive version of the game in esports, with tournaments still offering up to $50,000 in prize money. That figure might pale in comparison to the massive figures up for grabs in the MOBA scene, but bear in mind that Melee is a 15-year-old Gamecube title. The lack of HD resolution and modern graphics hasn’t hindered Melee’s popularity as a spectator sport, either. Twitch views regularly exceed 1.5 million hours per month.