The most popular eSports games today may seem somewhat foreign to us oldsters who grew up in the 1990s and before, but the truth is, they all owe a debt of gratitude to our old Atari 2600s and Intellivision systems.
Not only were our systems the building blocks for today’s whiz-bang games, but even the new stuff knows a classic when it sees one — there are plenty of 1980s Easter eggs among today’s best game.
Sit back and relax, then, and check out our rundown of the 13 most popular eSports games as we enter the third decade of the 21st century.
Can you pick out the familiar pieces??
Also known as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, CS:GO belongs to the somewhat controversial class of first-person shooter simulation games.But, while it’s violent themes and role-playing make it a no-go for some settings (school teams, usually), CS:GO remains extremely popular with gamers around the world.
PUBG stands for PlayerUnknown Battleground, which gives you an idea of gameplay — up to 100 players gunfighting against each other, either solo or in teams of your choosing. Another popular, though violent, game
Rainbow 6 Siege
This is a first-person shooter game set in the world of the late Tom Clancy’s Rainbow team, allowing you to suit up as one of several different members of that elite unit. There is even a store and an in-game currency.
Dota 2 comes to us from Valve Corporation as a sequel to Defense of the Ancients, both of them epic multi-player arena battle games. DotA was a crowdsourced/developed spinoff from Warcraft III by Blizzard Entertainment.
Free Fire is a timed survival shooter game, pitting you against 49 other combatants on a deserted island for a quick and breathless ten minutes. The goal is to stay alive, either by killing other participants or staying in teh safe zone — or both.
Rocket League has been described as “soccer with cars” and immerses players in a faced pace competition to use their high-octane vehicles to score more goals than their opponents. So … “soccer with cars.” Given its sporting nature, Rocket League is a favorite in actual eSports leagues.
From the Warcraft series, Hearthstone is sort of like combining collectible baseball cards with superheroes with Concentration, the card-matching game. It’s a supercharged game of wits and popular with eSports teams everywhere.
Call of Duty
Unlike many of the titles on this list, Call of Duty will be familiar, at least in name, to even the uninitiated when it comes to eSports. With nearly 20 years of success under its belt, Call of Duty is one of the most popular first-person shooter games ever, simulating infantry battle in World War II.
Mobile Legends is an online multi-player battle arena game that allows players to engage in combat from their mobile devices, assuming a variety of hero personas and progressing through various levels (or not, depending on your skill).
Another first-person shooter game, Overwatch is all about working with your team to defend outposts in your territory, or to deliver supplies (i.e., payloads) to various locations throughout the Overwatch world as you evade other combatants.
League of Legends
This is another game that might have a familiar ring to the general public. The popular title pits teams of five “legends” against each other, each trying to destroy the other’s base and establish dominance in their shared online world.
Now this is definitely a well-known game even out side the realm of eSports, and it’s a stone-cold classic and favorite among teams and players everywhere. Updated each year (2K19, 2K20, 2K21, etc.), NBA 2K pits the best basketball players on the planet against each other in some of the most realistic game play you’ll ever find.
And, last but not least, we have the addictive Fortnite, which pits 100 players against each other in a one-survivor, player-against-player battle to the death. There are estimated to be well over 100 million Fortnite players around the globe.