The development of esports, which began in the early 2000s, has not stopped until now. In 2023, the market is estimated to be worth several billion dollars according to the most conservative figures. Competitive games remain popular through the years due to people’s craving for competition. The betting industry has done the esports industry a serious favour by becoming one of the pillars on which esports stands. Betting and esports predictions has become a separate market, probably not Ledgeаing the whole industry, but perhaps surpassing it. The leading role, however, is still played by games.
Competitive games are, have been, and will be a staple of the industry. But what are they living in 2023, what games remain popular and in demand among users. Is there a place today in a crowded market for new players?
In this material let’s understand how competitive games evolve, if they evolve at all, how competitive titles fill the attention of gamers in 2023 and what to expect from eSports in the near future,
Continued Dominance of Established Titles
When dealing with esports trends in 2023, it’s worth taking a look at what games are popular today. In fact, there are no special revelations here: the market is still dominated by industry veterans, but with a few nuances. These are Dota 2, CSGO, League of Legends and VALORANT. Let’s talk about each of them.
The legendary MOBA from Valve continues its life in 2023, though not as bright as before. Dota 2’s popularity peaked in 2011-2016.
It’s unclear where the industry would be now if VALVE hadn’t held The International in 2011, the biggest tournament then and now in 2023. Imagining a prize pool commensurate with the awards at major classic sports championships was hard to imagine, but $1,600,000 in prize money changed everything.
In 2013, Valve pioneered the tradition of Battle Passes in competitive games, which later helped set an all-time record for Dota 2. At The International 2021, over $40,000,000 was raffled off, still unsustainable for any other championship, and all thanks to fundraising from the game’s community.
League of Legends
Nominally League of Legends is older than its counterpart, but if you consider that DotA has been around since Warcraft 3, it’s a bit younger. However, League of Legends, which was released in 2009, is not a competitor to Dota 2, as the latter simply does not stand up to the competition.
LoL’s popularity in the world is at an all-time high. The League is played in all regions of the world: from Africa to America, from Europe to Asia and China. Riot Games spends a huge amount of resources to maintain the popularity of their MOBA and they do a great job: every year the Worlds series tournament gathers millions of online views and thousands of live audience, and the media component of the game is unrivalled. LoL has virtual bands KDA and Pentakill with platinum songs, a TV series and third-party games.
In the world of shooters, CSGO has unquestioned authority. The shooter from VALVE has held its popularity since the release of version 1.6 and remains the leader among team-based FPS shooters to this day. Local teams enjoy huge media popularity and CSGO tournaments are considered a benchmark.
Another representative of shooters, but now from Riot Games. It is the youngest of all the disciplines on the list, but no less spectacular and in demand. VALORANT championships already gather thousands of arenas and constant updates and support from Riot strengthen VALORANT on high positions.
Rise of Battle Royales
The aforementioned games are monumental, but they’re not the only ones among a wide range of competitive disciplines. RTSs were once able to compete with MOBAs and shooters, but they soon faded away and Battle Royales was born.
Battle Royale games owe their rise to the emergence of PUBG in 2017. The multiplayer game in the style of “king of the mountain” created a boom of such games, and its consequences we see in 2023.
Esports, in its classic form, is absent in Battle Royales, but the games themselves are more alive than ever. Some of them, like Fortnite, can single-handedly eclipse Dota 2, CSGO and League of Legends. To be sure, just look at the number of all sorts of collaborations and marketing promotions in Fortnite. In general, it’s a perfect service game where there are different modes, plenty of entertainment, and a creative space that allows generating an
infinite amount of content by the players themselves.
Among the direct battle royale games we can remember the same PUBG, as well as Apex and Warzone. This trio has stood the test of time and has established itself among the popular competitive games with rare but competitive tournaments.
Mobile E-Sports on the Rise
Speaking of “atypical” variants of e-sports, mobile gameplay should be mentioned. There is an opinion that soon it will be able to catch up, then overtake the classic types of competitive games, which is readily believed.
There are already dozens of unique mobile games on Play Market and App Store, and some of them, such as PUBG: Mobile, CoD: Mobile or Clash Royale have multi million audience. According to Echarts service, the same PUBG Mobile holds the top 3 in terms of prize money for 2023 with a number of 10,000,000 dollars. It is second only to the big players: CSGO and Dota 2.
The reason for the popularity of mobile games is pretty simple. They’re affordable.
It’s no secret that a modern gaming PC costs several times more than a phone capable of pulling mobile games in 2023.
Influence of Streaming and Content Creation
As we continue to think about esports trends in 2023, we can’t pass by streaming. This industry has done competitive gaming a huge favour.
In fact, modern esports owes its existence to streaming. If there were no publicly available platforms like Twitch and YouTube, people would hardly know that there are millions of dollars worth of competitions in PC and mobile games.
In addition, streaming can become a continuation of the career of esportsmen and we know such examples: shroud, Sneaky, Ninja – all of them used to play professionally, but it was thanks to streaming platforms and content creation that they found a “second life”, this time a media one.
Esports in 2023 continues to grow at its own pace and attract new audiences thanks to constant tournaments, the development of competitive games in terms of content and encouraging new players to play them. The development of streaming and the mobile industry, as well as other AI-type technologies, will help eSports to reach new heights and become more mainstream in the future.