The video gaming world is an intense, passionate community. Unlike any other form of entertainment, video games see their seasoned customers invest hundreds of hours of time and countless amounts of energy into the titles, leading to a unique bond that can last through several releases over hundreds of hours.
The video gaming industry is worth approximately £3.86bn, more than the video and music industries combined, and is soaring at an astronomical rate year on year. With video gaming firmly nestled at top of the tree in terms of value, it’s unsurprising to see so many platforms, consoles, companies and titles all battling it out for the biggest piece of the pie.
This is especially the case in the competitive Esports community, where the introduction of huge sponsorships and massive events have raised the stakes to a whole new level. Making it to the top in this sector is that much harder to achieve, but the rewards are truly mind blowing; here are our top rivalries to follow in the world of Esports.
Fortnite vs. PUBG vs. Apex Legends
Emerging from mods and specialist game modes in titles such as Minecraft, the multiplayer battle royale genre is, in comparison to fellow Esports titles at least, still something of a newcomer to the gaming community. Exploding in popularity in the late 2010s and becoming an instantly recognisable cultural phenomenon, there are very few gaming fans in the world who haven’t at least tried one of the three titles here.
Fortnite was the first of these three titles to be released, coming out in September 2017 amid much fanfare. PUBG closely followed in December that year, with Apex joining the scene in February 2019. All of these titles boast tens of millions of dedicated players and have all introduced various plugins and features that help broadcast matches to spectators, hoping to emerge as the leading Esport in this genre.
Whilst it is hard to judge which one of these titles is ‘winning’ that particular race, it should be said that Fortnite scored a massive win with their Fortnite World Cup earlier this year. 19,000 people packed out New York’s Arthur-Ashe stadium and roughly 2.3million eager fans livestreamed the event on Twitch and Youtube as they watched 16-year old pro player ‘Bugha’ sweep to the solo crown and claim a cool $3million in prize money. There’s still plenty of time for Fortnite’s rivals to play catch up, but there’s no denying that Epic Games has certainly laid down a serious marker of intent in the community.
Counter-Strike vs. Overwatch
The two undisputed kings in the first person shooter community, this rivalry sees a true classic square up against another newcomer to the Esports world. Whilst Valve’s Counter-Strike series has been popular ever since the early 2000s and been at the top of the Esports tree since the early 2010s, there’s no denying the impact Overwatch has had since its release by Blizzard Entertainment in 2016.
Blizzard, who are certainly no novices when it comes to understanding what it takes to make it at the top of the Esports world, released Overwatch with the intention of making a splash in the competitive scene. The Overwatch League regularly draws in hundreds of thousands of spectators, boasts a prize pool of $3.5million and is regularly featured in the leading online esports betting markets.
For the time being however, Counter-Strike remains at the top. It’s established calendar remains one of the most stacked and competitive, and the game has seen something of a revitalisation following the dip in form of the once-all conquering Astralis team. Make no mistake however, Overwatch is right on Counter-Strike’s tail and don’t be surprised to see Blizzard’s latest export eventually steal its spotlight in the coming months and years.
League of Legends vs. Dota 2
One of the age-old rivalries in the world of gaming and the definitive Esports debate: League of Legends or Dota 2? A rivalry that has existed for nearly a decade now and has come to epitomise the video gaming community, these two titles share the crown of being the world’s most popular MOBAs. Blizzard’s League of Legends was released in 2009 and still boasts a playing base of around 80 million.
Valve’s Dota 2, which was born out of Blizzard’s own Warcraft III, can only point to around 11.3 million active monthly users in comparison, but they do possess the most lucrative Esports competition of all time: The International. 2019 saw a record $35million invested into Dota’s premier Esports event, keeping it at the top of the tree and miles ahead of League’s World Championship, which came in at just $2million.
Whilst Dota’s high skill ceiling and intricate gameplay has alienated more casual players, it’s status as the dominant Esport in the MOBA scene cannot be disputed. Everything goes into making The International the no.1 event in the world, with the competition even managing to stay ahead of the likes of the Fortnite World Cup this year. However, with interest in battle royale games on the rise, both these titles might have a fight on their hands maintaining their status as the world’s leading Esports.