The esports industry continues its meteoric rise, becoming more entwined with mainstream culture year by year. The games at its heart are evolving, too, with new titles entering the field and established ones upping their game. So, let’s delve into the top 10 esports games to watch in 2023, focusing on what makes each title unique and why they’re worth your attention.
1. League of Legends (LoL)
League of Legends, developed by Riot Games, has been a cornerstone of the esports scene since its release in 2009. LoL is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) game where two teams of five players each aim to destroy the opposing team’s nexus, a structure located in the enemy base.
What makes LoL stand out are the intense team fights, strategic gameplay, and diverse champion roster. Each match is a battle of wits, skills, and strategy, making it a thrill to watch. Key events like the LoL World Championship draw millions of viewers worldwide, solidifying its place as a must-watch esports title.
2. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO)
Valve’s CS:GO, released in 2012, is a first-person shooter game known for its intense, skill-based gameplay and competitive scene. Teams of terrorists and counter-terrorists square off in various game modes with objectives like bomb planting or hostage rescue.
CS:GO’s mechanics reward precise aim and strategic teamwork, making professional matches nail-biting to watch. Moreover, CS:GO’s esports scene is one of the most diverse, with top teams from regions like Europe, North America, and Brazil. Major tournaments like the ESL Pro League and the Intel Extreme Masters offer high-stakes excitement for fans.
3. Dota 2
Another flagship esports title from Valve, Dota 2, is renowned for its depth and complexity. Like LoL, Dota 2 is a MOBA game, but with a steeper learning curve, introducing more mechanics, larger hero pool, and intense gameplay.
Dota 2 is perhaps best known for The International, its annual tournament with a crowd-funded prize pool that has reached over $40 million in the past, making it one of the most lucrative esports events. The high-stakes environment and strategic depth make Dota 2 one of the top esports games to follow.
Epic Games’ Fortnite revolutionized the Battle Royale genre with its unique blend of shooting and building mechanics. Since its release in 2017, Fortnite has become a cultural phenomenon, attracting casual gamers and esports enthusiasts alike.
Fortnite’s esports scene came into prominence with the inaugural Fortnite World Cup in 2019, featuring a $30 million prize pool. With frequent updates, new game mechanics, and high-profile celebrity collaborations, Fortnite provides an exciting, ever-evolving spectator experience.
Valorant is Riot Games’ venture into the tactical shooter genre. Released in 2020, Valorant combines precise shooting mechanics reminiscent of CS:GO with unique character abilities similar to Overwatch. This combination results in dynamic, strategy-based gameplay.
Since its launch, Valorant’s competitive scene has grown rapidly. Tournaments like the Valorant Champions Tour have attracted top esports organizations and viewership numbers continue to rise, making Valorant a game to watch in 2023.
6. Mobile Legends: Bang Bang
A testament to the rise of mobile esports, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang is a MOBA game designed for mobile devices. Developed by Moonton, it’s particularly popular in Southeast Asia but has a growing global player base.
Its accessibility, combined with gameplay that rivals PC-based MOBAs, makes Mobile Legends an interesting addition to the esports scene. Its premier tournament, the M1 World Championship, has seen increasing viewership and prize pools, signaling the game’s growing prominence.
7. Call of Duty: Warzone
Building on the successful Call of Duty franchise, Warzone takes the series into the Battle Royale genre. Its fast-paced, action-packed gameplay and the familiar Call of Duty mechanics have quickly made it a fan favorite.
The Call of Duty League (CDL) offers a structured, regional esports format, and Warzone-specific tournaments provide exciting viewing experiences. Whether it’s a meticulously executed strategy or an impressive solo play, Warzone’s esports matches are a spectacle.
Overwatch, developed by Blizzard Entertainment, is a team-based shooter with unique heroes, each with their own abilities. Its vibrant graphics and fast-paced, ability-driven gameplay offer a distinct experience in the esports scene.
The Overwatch League (OWL), modeled after traditional sports leagues, features city-based teams from around the world. The league’s structure, combined with exciting gameplay, makes Overwatch a unique and engaging title in the esports industry.
9. Rainbow Six Siege
Rainbow Six Siege is a tactical shooter game developed by Ubisoft. The game puts heavy emphasis on environmental destruction and cooperation between players, offering a strategic depth that few other shooter games possess.
The Rainbow Six Pro League features top teams battling it out in tense, strategic matches, making it an exciting esports title. The game’s focus on strategy over brute force provides a cerebral viewing experience that stands out in the shooter genre.
10. Rocket League
Rocket League, developed by Psyonix, is a vehicular soccer game where players use rocket-powered cars to hit a ball into their opponent’s goal. Its simple premise, combined with a high skill ceiling, makes it both accessible to new viewers and exciting for seasoned fans.
The Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) features teams from all over the world competing in high-stakes tournaments. Its blend of sports and driving mechanics makes it a unique and entertaining game in the esports scene.
In conclusion, 2023 promises to be an exciting year for esports, with these ten games leading the charge. Each game offers its unique blend of strategy, skill, and excitement, providing a variety of viewing experiences for esports fans. Whether you prefer the tactical depth of Dota 2, the frantic building of Fortnite, the precise shooting of Valorant, or the vehicular acrobatics of Rocket League, there’s an esports game for everyone in 2023.