Where to Look to Join the Esports Elite
By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor), OnRPG Journalist
Competitive esports is a new upcoming thing in the gaming market, and it only makes sense with sporting events being so intricately tied with humanity for so long combined with the rise of the information age. Around 20 years ago we never thought gaming would get this serious and for many years we never realized the potential many games had. But this isn’t an introduction article on what exactly esports are. We’ve already done plenty of coverage on that. This is a look at where these tournaments are heading and what genres and games you should start practicing if you ever want to compete yourself.
I have been asked many questions about the current games that made esports as big as it is, and I have heard and seen many people wondering which games are currently on the top list. If you want to make it in the industry the first step is to know which titles offer the opportunities and then get good at them. I will be looking at the three most popular genres to see which games are currently dominating their niche.
Let’s start this off with one of my personal favorite genres, the First Person Shooters. There are many FPS games currently out there but you need one with a thriving and competitive environment for organized competitions to thrive as well. Also it’s worth considering that some of console based and others PC based.
To top things of let’s start with the number one FPS game, Counter-Strike. Counter-strike, the game that once started as a modification for the known franchise Half-Life, has had one of the biggest communities the esports scene has seen. Unfortunately the FPS genre is a dying breed at the moment and many games are falling down into the big pits of esports hell. Both Counter-Strike 1.6 and Counterstrike Source have been a great franchise for many years and hopefully many years to follow. Hopefully the new upcoming game Counter Strike Global Offensive is able to take back its former glory. If you are a big fan of the First Person Shooter genre this game is definitely worth a look.
Many gamers might hate the following franchise but it is still one of the biggest around with many more releases to follow each year. I am undoubtedly speaking about the Call of Duty series that has been a fan favorite for many years now. Currently both on the PC and Console this franchise is in control of the majority of FPS players, with outstanding tournaments whenever competitive events are held. However, like I said in the above paragraph the FPS is a dying breed and even this franchise is taking large hits on both fronts.
There is also a big franchise that is limited to only the Xbox. Despite this limitation its popularity can’t be denied. Of course you probably know I am talking about the popular franchise of Halo. This series has dominated the Console competitive esports scene for many years but is also taking a huge hit in it market. Unfortunately the FPS scene is a dying breed and it hurts me to see it falling this fast. There are still many other games around such as Quake Live but if you’re interested in gaming for money I wouldn’t recommend looking there either.
Now let’s take a closer to look at another favorite genre of mine the RTS games. I will also give another closer look to the MOBA genre because I feel both these genres are close to the same and they share the same common interest from many players.
Without a doubt League of Legends is by far a rising juggernaut in the esports world, and it carries a huge strength over many competitors with its F2P business model that doesn’t imbalance the matches. Everyone is able to play this game completely free and without any hassle, opening up a much larger audience to be exposed to it and, as a result, more interested in tuning in to watch competitive matches to learn or just root for their favorite players.
When talking about the largest esport in this realm, it can vary a bit depending on which part of the world you’re looking at. League of Legends number one rival currently is the Korea fan favorite franchise StarCraft. StarCraft has been a game that has been running the longest from the games listed in this article and has still a great success with a large community behind it. This is undoubtedly the best funded esport as all major leagues host numerous events around the world with huge cash prizes handed out to the winners. Currently this is the place where the money is at and if you are looking to start up a gaming career you should definitely consider this game since most professionals are actually paid salary to support an organized team. There are even rumors that a player playing for Evil Geniuses earns over 6 figures per year!
The third game to keep an eye out for hasn’t been released but is pushing its esports agenda despite the fact. I am of course speaking about DotA 2 and its The International events. Any company willing to throw out $1 million in prizes on an International tournament prior to launch has guts, and perhaps even a plan to overthrow the status quo. This game has a really big community already even though it’s still in the closed beta phase and there are still a lot of things that could happen with the game. But since this game is being developed by Valve, many players like me have the fullest faith that DotA 2 will achieve great success when it finally hits the shelves. Looking to make a name for yourself in the industry? Place your bets on DotA 2 and you might have a shot!
Unfortunately these two genres are the only proven genres to bring in large scale tournament success so far. There are smaller games showing some signs of future niches like Fifa 12 played on the console and TrackMania Nations Forever, the free-to-play racing game. Both have a cult following but currently seem stagnant, neither growing nor decreasing in player numbers and interest. If you are a big fan of competitive esports like me I should definitely recommend you to try out one of the above named titles if you want to start a gaming career or simply want to know where the fun is at. And if you want to read more news regarding esports I would recommend you to keep an eye on our Starcraft II profile for regular updates from our columnist Kluey!