The Best Esports Games for 2022
If playing video games professionally is one of your goals, you should start improving your skills as soon as possible. We have analysed the best games in the esports industry to help you get started on the path to gaming greatness.
If your parents have ever looked down on your love of video games as a frivolous way to spend your time, they are either a) hopelessly out of touch or b) unable to see the big picture.
Although it may come out as unnecessarily harsh, there is some validity to this point of view. Esports, the competitive gaming branch of the video game business, has collected massive crowds, tremendous prize pots, and sponsorships, all of which enable top players to turn their hobbies into full-time jobs. According to projections made by the research company Newzoo, the annual revenue generated by esports will reach $1.79 billion (Opens in a new window) by the year 2022.
Sadly, it is anticipated that this quantity will be impacted as a result of the continuing COVID-19 outbreak. Even while many esports games have significant online elements, the big events themselves are often hosted in vast venues that are not conducive to social distance. This is because esports are played by people who are interested in competing against one other. Nearly 20,000 people showed up to see the first-ever Fortnite World Cup, which took place at New York City’s Arthur Ashe Stadium earlier this year. Naturally, Epic Games, the company that develops Fortnite, decided to postpone the event scheduled for 2020 and does not intend to host any in-person contests in 2021. In a related development, Valve has decided to postpone the Dota 2 tournament known as “The International” indefinitely.
The term “esports” refers to competitions that are held for a wide variety of video games, including both well-known and lesser-known titles. You enjoy shooters? When playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, you have the ability to pop several caps in an opponent. Are you in the mood for a fight to the death that will go down in history? You won’t need to worry about anything if you play Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds. Are you a sports fan? The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Take-Two Interactive, the producer of the extremely successful NBA 2K video game series, collaborated to develop the NBA 2K eLeague. This partnership represented a blending of the two different worlds. Everyone may find a video game and a community that suits their interests inside the realm of electronic sports (esports).
Perhaps there are too many options to choose from. Because there are so many video games on the market that put an emphasis on competition and online play, it might be overwhelming to try playing professional video games for the first time or even just watching other people do it. The good news is that this guide to the top esports games is intended to steer you in the correct path and answer all of your questions along the way. After all, your time is not going to be well spent on any of the games that are competing for that delicious esports money. And there are an extremely large number of those.
This guide provides information on a variety of esports-worthy games, all of which have been evaluated by PCMag’s editorial staff and come highly recommended for play. In point of fact, a good number of the games that we recommend checking out can also be found in our roundup of the top PC games, despite the fact that we do our best to throw console fans a bone or two.
A game merely has to have official tournament support from its publisher in order to be considered for inclusion in this guide. Other criteria may also be considered. We have a lot of respect for the more grassroots, community-driven endeavours, like the wonderful Tecmo Super Bowl community, but we had to set a threshold for what qualifies as a legitimate competitive game. If we didn’t, almost every single competitive game would be considered worthwhile.
The conclusion is that… If there is a notable esports game that is not listed below, that indicates that we have not yet reviewed it or that we did not score it highly enough for it to be considered for inclusion. What you will see here, on the other hand, are some of the top esports games that will be played by both amateurs and pros in 2021, and perhaps beyond that year as well. Dig in. And most importantly, make sure you enjoy yourself.
The developer Respawn finally received the success it always deserved owing to the blockbuster success of the battle royale shooter Apex Legends, which it developed after two fantastic Titanfall games that were mostly ignored by the gaming community.
Apex Legends is a game that takes place in the same universe as Titanfall but instead of controlling massive robots, you take control of agile mercenaries. To our great good fortune, each of these vivid personalities possesses a wide variety of special skills. You may, for instance, fly between dimensions as Wraith or disguise yourself and generate holograms as Mirage. Both of these abilities are available to you. In addition, innovative communication technologies help keep teams organised and working together.
The enormous momentum that Apex Legends has been building owing to its continuous competitions continues. You can check the extremely substantial prize pools for forthcoming events by looking at the schedule (Opens in a new window) for such events.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
The first iteration of Valve’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (also known as CS: GO) was released in 2012, and it was preceded by a long line of successful multiplayer first-person shooter games, such as the original Counter-Strike and Counter-Strike: Source. Even after so many years, the fast-paced PC game is still competitive with more recent releases, in part due to the fact that it has a well-established core gameplay and an active community.
However, CS: GO is starting to show signs of its age visually, and conceptually speaking, it is not as robust as Overwatch. Even Nevertheless, a sizable number of people take pleasure in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s stripped-down gameplay and its very competitive esports circuit, which includes the Eleague Major, a competition with a grand prize of one million dollars.
“Simple to pick up, difficult to become proficient at.” This expression is used to describe a variety of things, particularly in the gaming industry. Defense of the Ancients 2, often known as Dota 2, is one of the most famous multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games on the world. It is also one of the few games that exemplifies the phrase “less is more.”
This multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) allows you to play for free and gives you the option to choose from more than one hundred different Heroes to control on the battlefield. Each hero has their own set of skills, play style, and other characteristics that can be utilised to aid in the success of their team.
The multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) genre may be incomprehensible to viewers who are not familiar with the game’s play mechanics; however, the annual Dota 2 International has insane cash pots (more than $30 million!) and stiff competition, which makes the game an esport worth watching for those who are willing to learn the ins and outs of the game.
Dragon Ball FighterZ (Zero to Hero)
The Dragon Ball series is one of the few anime franchises that lends itself so naturally to being adapted into a fighting game, with Jo Jo’s Bizarre Adventure and Fist of the Northstar. Akira Toriyama’s manga-turned-anime-turned-game series is all about buff monkey men, humans, aliens, and androids throwing blows in true earth-shattering conflicts. The saga spans numerous seasons, movies, and generations of characters.
The most recent version of the series, Dragon Ball FighterZ, is a video game that does away with the arena-brawling format used in the Xenoverse titles in favour of tag-team combat that takes place on a 2D plane. The gameplay change is only one of the many reasons why people consider Dragon Ball FighterZ to be one of the most exciting esports titles. Other reasons include: Its stunning visual design, frantic battles, and user-friendly control system combine to make it a game that virtually anybody can pick up and play for some Super Saiyan action.
In addition to competing at Evo, the anime fighter is now part of a more robust competitive environment than ever before thanks to Bandai Namco’s Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour.
The current king of the hill in the genre of battle royale games is Fortnite. Because of a Travis Scott concert that took place inside the game, Fortnite was able to host a record-breaking number of 12.3 million players at the same time, which was verified by Epic Games at the beginning of 2020. The popularity of Fortnite is completely off the charts.
Fortnite has a lot going for it, including gameplay types that are easy to pick up and play, visuals that are colourful and crazy, and a construction system that is quite good. The clumsy fighting and the obvious presence of microtransactions distract from the overall experience; nonetheless, given that the game is free to play, lovers of the genre should still give it a chance. The game can be played on almost every system that is capable of running video games.
The first-ever Fortnite World Cup was won by 16-year-old Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf, who took home $3 million of the $30 million in prize money that was up for grabs.
The King of Fighters XIV
The most recent instalment in SNK’s long-running The King of Fighters series isn’t the most visually appealing fighter in town, and it doesn’t usually take the spotlight at Evo, but it’s still one of the greatest competitive fighting games currently available for purchase.
The extensive combo system, team-based action, vast 58-person roster, diverse special strikes and supers, and a variety of offensive, defensive, and mobility options come together in KOFXIV to create a spectator game that is just as exciting to watch as fighters with greater profiles. To be honest, those same characteristics also make KOFXIV a game that may be rather frightening to master, but if you put in the effort, the results are extremely fulfilling.
The SNK World Championship series provides support for King of Fighters XIV despite the fact that it is not a core Evo game.
The video game League of Legends
The free-to-play, multiplayer online battle arena game League of Legends, which is developed and published by Riot Games, is, to put it plainly, the greatest MOBA game that money can buy. The gameplay combines role playing, tower defence, and real-time strategy, a combination that sets it apart from the numerous MOBAs that are all essentially the same and have flooded the market.
Although one of League of Legends’ many strengths is its approachability, this does not imply that the game’s fundamental gameplay lacks any degree of complexity. League of Legends is the premier multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game because of the way its skillshots, cooldowns, one-of-a-kind abilities, and equipment interact with one another. It is superior to games like Dota 2 and Heroes of the Storm.
Riot Games provides assistance for the League of Legends game in the realm of electronic sports competitions by way of the League of Legends Championship Series. The total amount of money up for grabs in the event is more than $2 million.
Mortal Kombat 11
Mortal Kombat 11, the newest instalment in the fighting game franchise created by NetherRealm Studios, has a great deal more than the broken skulls, severed spines, and spurts of blood that have become synonymous with the series. Mortal Kombat 11 is the storyline sequel to Mortal Kombat X. It makes use of time travel to put characters against their opponents from the past in order to change the present.
The gameplay of the mercenaries, ninjas, gods, and monsters has been vastly improved as a result of updates to the animations and the addition of new offensive and defensive mechanisms. As a direct consequence of this, Mortal Kombat 11 is a good starting place for newcomers to the franchise as well as veterans whose interest has waned.
Through its Mortal Kombat Pro Series esports effort, NetherRealm Studios is showing support for the upcoming Mortal Kombat 11 video game.
There is no hard and fast rule that says shooters have to be grim, realistic, or gloomy. Even violent PC games may have a place for lighthearted, cartoony humour. Overwatch, developed by Blizzard, has just surpassed Valve’s Team Fortress 2 as the dominant game in this genre, which held that position for almost a decade. It takes all of the features of Team Fortress 2, such as colourful environments, several game modes that centre on teams assaulting and defending, and unique characters with wildly diverse play styles, and adds a few wrinkles that are similar to those seen in MOBAs.
Because it has a large number of different heroes and classes, Overwatch is a first-person shooter that is not only extremely fun to play but also offers a great deal of mechanical variation. It has, as you might assume, blossomed into a tremendously successful environment for esports competitions. Blizzard provides support for the competitive Overwatch scene through a number of different esports projects, one of which is the Overwatch World Cup.
In PUBG, the primary objective is to outlive all of the other players, much like in many other games that fall under the open-world survival or first-person shooter subgenres. Despite this, PUBG does not follow the standards set by the genre. It incorporates some of the most enjoyable features of open world games, the gameplay of a solid first-person shooter, and the kind of player base that is typical of massively multiplayer online games (MMOs).
In addition to this, the various aspects of the gameplay are well-balanced. For instance, you get to decide where on the map you want to land when you parachute in, nobody has a weapon when the game begins, and there is a dangerous and enormous shimmering blue dome that occasionally shrinks the area that may be played in. It’s stressful, but also really fun to watch.
The total amount of money up for grabs in the PUBG Global Invitational is almost $2 million.
The surprise hit from the year 2015 is one of the few sports video games that is not affiliated with a real-life league but nevertheless has significant popularity in esports.
Seeing pros play Rocket League, with its quick car-based game play, powerful hits, and exhilarating shots on goal, is an unadulterated rush. This is especially true when the game is played by experts. If you think scoring in the nick of time is spectacular, just wait until you see someone with superior abilities drive up a wall, flip off it, and score from centre field. Seriously, if you think that is impressive, wait till you see someone with superior talents do that.
The Rocket League Championship Series is where you can see players from all around the world who are at the top of their game performing unbelievable moves. The most recent tournament offered a total prize fund of one million dollars.
The original Samurai Shodown had a following in the 1990s because to the fact that it included fights with unusual weapons, a backdrop that was modelled on feudal Japan, and gruesome embellishments. However, due to the methodical gameplay and stunning damage scaling, it was a difficult fighting game for some people to pick up. Because the characters strike so brutally hard, a few tiny mistakes may lose you the battle and your quarter.
Samurai Shodown was relaunched by creator SNK despite the fact that there had been no new entries in the series for more than a decade. The developer kept many of the gameplay features that had made the original games so memorable.
The first year that Samurai Shodown was available (2019), it was selected to be an Evo game. Additionally, the game is backed by the SNK World Championship series.
StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void
Fans of military strategy will like the StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void expansion, which also serves as an excellent climax to the epic storyline that Blizzard Entertainment has been telling throughout the series. Even though first-time real-time strategy viewers might not understand all of the nuances that are on exhibit during high-level play, it is undeniably one of the most enjoyable strategy games that has ever been created.
Blizzard made the announcement in 2020 that the World Championship Series, which had been operating for a very long time, will be succeeded by the ESL Pro Tour StarCraft II and the DreamHack SC2 Masters.
Street Fighter V: Champion Edition
In spite of its shaky beginning and questionable DLC practises, Street Fighter V has the potential to be the most approachable esports game for individuals who do not consider themselves to be gamers.
The straightforward notion of two individuals pounding each other until they pass out is one that is really close to becoming universal. Even if there are hadokens, sonic booms, and other ludicrous super-powered strikes, the concept is instantly recognised despite its existence in a variety of forms, including ancient gladiator battles, professional boxing, and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
As a consequence of this, Street Fighter V is one of the few esports games that receives a large amount of airtime on mainstream media outlets. For example, Disney XD, ESPN 2, and TBS have all broadcasted high-profile tournaments featuring this game. It is reinforced by a tournament series called the Capcom Pro Tour, which has a prize pool that exceeds $600,000.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a fighting game that has the same amount of competitive worth as every other fighting game, despite Nintendo’s best efforts to pretend otherwise.
The gameplay mechanics of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate merge combat and mobility in ways that are different from those of typical fighting games. The game is the largest and most successful example of a “platform fighter.” When Ganondorf can’t leap back onto the stage, his strong assaults aren’t as effective because they don’t do him any good. Maintaining awareness of everything going on becomes a difficult task due to the large number of distinct characters and the breakneck speed of the battles.
Nintendo does host frequent Super Smash Bros. Ultimate competitions, despite the fact that the business prefers to maintain a certain degree of distance from the competitive community. However, even if assistance of this kind were to dry up, the grassroots community would continue to keep this scene going strong for many years to come. So, join them. Everyone is in attendance!
Tekken 7, much like the main-line Tekken games that came before it, tells the story of fathers and sons striving to murder each other in order to rid the Mishima clan of the Devil Gene, a mystical DNA piece that changes select individuals into hell spawn. Tekken 7 was released in 2018.
In spite of the fact that Tekken 7 is best known for its single-player story, the game is extremely popular as an esport thanks to its many different fighting styles, its 3D movement (which opens up new paths for attacking and dodging), and its slow-motion effects, which activate when both fighters’ life bars are low and they perform simultaneous close-quarters melee attacks. Playing at a high level will result in numerous situations reminiscent of Kung Fu Theater, which you won’t find in competing fighting games.
On the Tekken World Tour, the greatest professional players compete against one another for rewards that add up to around $200,000 altogether.
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