Every gamer by now will be familiar with esports; competition using video games. Established in the early 2000s as friendly competitions between amateurs, it has since evolved into one of the most influential factors when building a video game in 2021. Now for those competing, it’s essential for them to have a PC optimised for esports. The phenomenon has even been tipped to one day be an Olympic sport. So what are the best esports games in 2021? Read on to find out.
Since the Battle Royale (BR) giant, Fortnite, burst onto the scene in 2017, it has registered more than 350 million players worldwide. With this, it was perhaps a certainty that it would move towards the competitive arena. The two largest tournaments are the Fortnite World Cup and the Fortnite Champion Series. However, for those looking to break into the competitive scene there are a number of smaller competitions open to enter. At the beginning of 2021, Fortnite developers Epic pledged $20 million for the game’s esports prize pool.
As of May 2021, the top three players are made up of Diego Palma (Arkhram) & Brodie Franks (Rehx) of 100 Thieves, and Shaun Cotton (EpikWhale) of NRG Esports. Do you reckon you’ve got what it takes to compete with the best?
EA Sports FIFA is the largest football video game series on the market. In fact, it’s the best selling sports game franchise in the world – having sold over 325 million copies across 51 different countries. With titles being released annually, it creates a lot of hype every year. The game’s first esports tournament, FIFAe World Cup, for the series took place way back in 2004 in Zurich with the backing of football’s global governing body, FIFA. Since then the game has spawned multiple competitions, with competitors battling it out to win prize money of up to $500,000.
It has become so popular that even some of the largest football clubs in the world have got involved – with the likes of Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Roma each putting forward teams.
Call of Duty: WarzoneTM
The Call of Duty community is massive and with the roaring success of the BR, it was only a matter of time until it’d tap into the market. With this, Call of Duty: WarzoneTM, was launched in March 2020 and it only took a year for the game to reach 100 million players globally. As a part of Activision Blizzard’s big push to get involved in the esports scene, it launched the World Series of Warzone in May 2021. With the first of four events being held in June, a total prize money of $1.2 million has been put forward for the winners ($300,000 each).
Rocket League is one of the most unique games out there today. Dubbed as “soccer, but with cars”, that is essentially the best way to describe the game. As a very light-hearted and fun game, as of 2020 it has gained more than 75 million players worldwide. In 2016, the game’s developer, Psyonix, launched its first esports tournament: the Rocket League Championship Series with a prize pool of just $55,000. Since then, the competition has evolved into a three-day event with a whopping $4.5 million at stake.
The Overwatch League has been heralded by developers Blizzard as the ‘first major esports league with city-based teams’. It pits professionals against each other for a giant cash prize and championship trophy, with 20 teams split into two divisions of ten. The highest performing teams then square off against each other in the playoffs before reaching the ‘Grand Finals’ where only one team can win. With a total over $4.2 million up for grabs in 2021, the winners will walk away from the tournament with a huge $1.5 million!
Released in 2020, Valorant is one of the latest video games to become active within esports. Developer and publisher, Riot Games, created First Strike in its attempt to establish a foundation in the competitive scene. The latest tournament series, Valorant Champions Tour, is a year-long competition that consists of three levels – a regional competition, an international competition and finishing with a world championship. The winner of the inaugural Valorant Champions will be crowned in December 2021.
Dota 2 is one of the best esports games in the world, with one of the highest tournament prize pools. Exclusive to PC, it’s a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) with more than 100 playable characters. Two teams of five are pitted against each other, with the winner being those to manage to enter the opposing team’s stronghold and destroy their ancient. The prize pool is massive, with nearly $35 million up for grabs in 2019.
World of Warcraft
The first, and only, massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) on this list in World of Warcraft. Its subscription-based model has drawn upwards of 12 million monthly subscribers at peak – cemented its place as one of the most popular PC games of all time. World of Warcraft esports tournaments usually focus on 3v3 battles or raids, where teams compete to be the first to defeat the latest AI-controlled bosses introduced into the game. The Arena World Championship in 2021 is set to have a $900,000 prize pool open to competitors.
League of Legends
Like Dota 2, League of Legends is also a MOBA which is also only available on PC. It is also hugely popular in the esports arena, Often cited as the world’s largest esports, some events, such as the annual League of Legends World Championship, are often broadcast on television sports channels such as ESPN. Its similarity to Dota 2 also extends its gameplay, where a team wins by infiltrating the other’s base and destroying a structure called ‘Nexus’.
Somewhat of an honourable mention to see out the list is Cities: Skylines – not exactly a game you’d associate with competitive gaming. In Red Bull’s continued effort to offer a series of unique esports tournaments, it worked with game developers Paradox to host the game’s first major competition – Red Bull Metropolis. This event will give players six 30-minute challenges to put their city planning skills to the test.
Plenty of opportunities to compete
Esports has evolved to be at the forefront of gaming. Are you an enthusiast looking to compete or are you just looking for competitive games you can follow? Regardless of what game you’re into, there are a number of options open to you. This has been your list of the best esports games in 2021!