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Here Are the 10 Most Popular Esports of 2018

Esports

Here Are the 10 Most Popular Esports of 2018

The esports market continues to expand in 2018, with games both old and new managing to draw in huge sponsorships and incredible viewer numbers. We’ve gathered together a handy list of the most popular esports of 2018 so far, using stats collected in this study by Esports Bets, as well as figures from Twitch. Let’s dive in.

Most Popular Esports of 2018

League of Legends

most popular esports 2018

The 2018 esports scene continues to be dominated by MOBA’s, with LoL still managing to pull in a ton of interest with every tournament, stream and event.

The Riot Games developed title easily takes the top spot for most-streamed esports game on Twitch, with over 10 million followers and close to 118,000 streamers, There’s a healthy competitive scene surrounding the game with around 2000 professional tournaments having been held to date.

Total prize funds amount to a staggering $49 million, with the scene being made up of over 5,000 professional players.

The game continues to dominate the esports market, with mid-season invitational games set to take place this week.

Most Popular Esports of 2018

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

most popular esports 2018

The fourth game in the Counter-Strike series, CS:GO remains one of the most popular esports in 2018. It easily takes the top spot for most active professional players, with the last count totaling over 8,500.

The tactical shooter draws in impressive numbers on Twitch, with just over 9 million followers and close to 50,000 Twitch streamers. CS:GO boasts some of the most lucrative tournaments in all of esports, with total prize funds exceeding $42 million.

Almost 3000 tournaments have been held to date, showing the appetite the gaming community still has for this 2012 shooter.

This month sees the ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals, which is offering up a prize fund of $750,000. Sixteen teams are battling it out for the prize, with the tournament taking place in Dallas, Texas.

Most Popular Esports of 2018

Dota 2

most popular esports 2018

Dota 2 continues to be an esports powerhouse in 2018. The Valve-developed MOBA has become a mainstay in the scene over the years and boasts the highest total prize fund count of over $126 million.

This is impressive when you consider the fact that Dota 2 has only held around 850 tournaments to date, a much lower figure than LoL and CS: GO.

And while the game has never been able to match the popularity of LoL in terms of Twitch audience, the game still brings in impressive numbers with 4 million followers and an estimated 52,500 Twitch Streamers broadcasting their gameplay.

Dota 2 sees two teams of five players defending their own base across a map. It has a steep learning curve, given the complexities of how the game’s playable heroes interact with each other.

The game clearly has a huge audience, with Valve releasing a spin-off card game called Artifact this year as well.

Most Popular Esports of 2018

Overwatch

most popular esports 2018

Blizzard’s hero-shooter Overwatch has been steadily growing a devoted esports fan base since release. In this short time, there have been close to 600 tournaments held, with a combined prize fund of over $5 million.

This is largely thanks to the extensive support and resources that Blizzard has put behind its own league, the Overwatch League.

It more closely resembles traditional American sports than its competitors, featuring a set of permanent teams and regular season play.

During its first week, the Overwatch League drew in over 10 million viewers across all streaming formats. The Blizzard Arena, where the events were held, were sold out for all four event days.

The scene has garnered huge sponsorships from the likes of Intel, HP, and Toyota, with the 2018 season currently underway, and finals in July. The last match-up is currently at 173,000 viewers on Twitch, an indicator that the game is only going to get bigger and bigger as an esports game.

Most Popular Esports of 2018

StarCraft II

most popular esports 2018

StarCraft II is the most popular competitive RTS series in the world, with an esports scene that is both prolific and rich. The game is developed by Blizzard and sees players controlling one of three factions – the Terrans, the Protoss, and the Zerg.

The game saw an impressive launch back in 2010 but had started to wain in popularity by 2015. Blizzard switched the game to a free-to-play model in 2017 which saw a huge surge in popularity and served to rebuild the game’s fervid community.

StarCraft II is probably the most enduring esports game in history, still managing to pull in good numbers in 2018. To date, there have been 4,595 tournaments held with a total prize fund of around $25 million.

There are some huge tournaments happening regularly, and the prize pool for the WCS Global Finals is still quite massive.

Most Popular Esports of 2018

Hearthstone

most popular esports 2018

Hearthstone, despite facing stiffer competition over the years in its own genre, and of course from the esport giants that we’ve seen on this list already, has managed to hold strong and remain a popular esport throughout 2018.

Like all of the Blizzard based esports on this list not named Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard does a great job supporting their games through prize pools, tournaments, and opportunities for pros to play on a big stage.

The 2018 Hearthstone Global Games is the premiere tournament for the title at Blizzcon. What’s interesting about it is that Bit cheering via Twitch as a big part of this year’s event, and the United States, despite not placing high, ended up taking a much bigger prize pool because of it.

Most Popular Esports of 2018

Call of Duty

most popular esports 2018

There are two types of gamers in this world. Those that groan when they see Call of Duty pop up in an article like this, or those that get it.

Clearly, lots of people “get” the Call of Duty esports scene because in 2018 it was clearly one of the most popular titles.

Specifically, we’re talking about Call of Duty: World War II since Black Ops 4 has only release a few months ago and the esports scene around hasn’t fully developed.

Other games have a more balanced esports scene that is consistent throughout the year, like StarCraft II. However, Call of Duty’s popularity comes in bursts around the big tournaments throughout the year such as its World Championship.

Expect Call of Duty esports to grow even more in 2019 thanks to the popularity of Black Ops 4 and its Blackout mode. Now CoD can hit two — or even three if you want to count Zombies — genres at once.

Most Popular Esports of 2018

Rocket League

most popular esports 2018

It’s incredible that Rocket League is here. Of course it’s a popular game that deserves every bit of acclaim it receives.

However, unlike some of the massive companies that manage the popular esports games from 2018 on this list, Rocket League had more humble beginnings.

It started off as a free game on PS Plus from a comparatively small team. What made it so popular at first was its unique concept and the how easy it is to jump in and play for fun. This isn’t DOTA 2 or StarCraft II.

That doesn’t matter anymore though does it? Rocket League has grown into one of the most popular esports games of 2018 and that should continue into next year as well.

The average concurrent viewers of the Rocket League season 5 World Championship was at over 100k fans, a huge number according to Esports Charts.

Most Popular Esports of 2018

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege

most popular esports 2018

It’s not surprising that Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege is one of the most popular new esports games of 2018. The game spread through word of mouth like wildfire this year.

Instead, it’s surprising that it isn’t more popular yet. The game’s format is perfectly suited for intense, competitive esports matches, and it has a huge following that enjoys playing it at the amateur/casual level as well. Its format has led it to being of the few games that get to populate Mixer’s Hypezone.

It’s also well supported by Ubisoft, with a steady stream of new characters being added throughout the year, and we fully expect it to continue and grow in its popularity next year.

Most Popular Esports of 2018

PUBG

most popular esports 2018

Despite being very new to the esports scene, and falling behind Fortnite in overall popularity, PUBG  is fast becoming one of the most popular. The battle royale shooter hosted its first ever major tournament at the end of July.

PUBG Global Invitational 2018 was held in Berlin and featured a $2 million prize pool. PUBG continues to be one of the most popular games over on Twitch.

The game’s main problem which is currently holding it back from esports glory is its un-optimized nature. The game is still pretty buggy, something which doesn’t exactly suit a competitive setting.

As the game continues to hit its road-map targets, it inches ever closer to esports domination, and if early tournaments are anything to go by, it will prove to be very popular indeed.

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