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The coming year is all set to be the biggest year for esports in history, and below we’re going to take a run down of the leading titles to watch over the coming months. From rising stars to legacy names, there’s never been a more exciting time to follow competitive gaming.
Arena of Valor
The game that proved to all doubters that the MOBA genre can work on touch inputs, Arena of Valor/Honor of Kings continues to go from strength to strength, even though it has lost some ground to Mobile Legends: Bang Bang in recent years.
Arena of Valor can still lay claim to the highest prize pool for a mobile MOBA however, with 2022’s World Cup providing winners with a share of an incredible $10 million. Whether 2023’s event will top this is an open question, but all signs point to this being likely.
League of Legends
2022 saw League enjoy its pride of place as Numero Uno in the esports scene, and for good reason. Riot Games’ long-term cultivation of its competitive circuit means that no esport is as widely played or as hotly contested as League of Legends nowadays. And when it comes to viewer numbers, nothing can hold a torch to it either.
There’s simply no denying that League has cemented itself as the premier esport, MOBA or otherwise. To this end, it has even distinguished itself as the most widely favored option for use with free bet offers, such as those provided by leading comparison platforms such as OddsChecker, across the esports market.
PUBG has always been a fan favorite, and even today enjoys 30 million daily active players – making it one of the most popular games in the world. However the real success story, at least in recent years, has been PUBG’s mobile version, which has increasingly taken over the reins from its PC version to become gamers’ preferred esport medium.
At present, PUBG Mobile commands the largest prize pools for a mobile esport, beating out all rivals across platforms save Dota 2. With an ever growing competitive circuit, you can count on 2023 bring more of the same for everyone’s favorite battle royale.
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Mobile Legends: Bang Bang
Mobile esports represent the largest single growth area in the industry, and are already the most popular medium for competitive gaming in the historic esports heartland of east Asia. Among the rising stars of this platform you will find Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, which became the most watched esport in the world behind only League of Legends last year.
The secret to its success? Adapting the immensely popular MOBA genre to mobile platforms. To do this, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang has focused on the essence of what makes this genre so compelling – its tactical gameplay, and has scrapped a lot of the more nuanced mechanics that characterize its PC siblings.
Additionally, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang has enjoyed great success with its 10 second matchmaking and 10 minute matches, that make the prospect of playing games on the go much more feasible.
VALORANT may have released back in 2020, but many are pointing to the coming year as the moment when it will ascend into the top ranks of competitive gaming. Riot Games’ answer to the 5v5 hero shooter epitomized by rival Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch and Overwatch 2 has more to offer than charming characters and flashy hero abilities.
In focusing on building a deceptively challenging shooter with a high skill ceiling, VALORANT has future-proofed itself to become the final word in this popular competitive genre. Like any esport, it has taken several years for its competitive circuit to hot up and for teams to recognize that it’s worth the time investment, and with 2022 being VALORANT’s biggest year yet, you can rest assured you’ll be hearing a lot more about this dark horse over the coming months.
Mobile battle royales are a huge growth area at the moment, as demonstrated by PUBG Mobile’s newfound hegemony – but it’s not the only ticket in town. Garena’s Free Fire exploded onto the scene in 2019 when it became the most downloaded mobile game globally. It even pipped League of Legends as the most viewed esport in 2021, and the accolades keep coming.
That same year, Free Fire’s world series finals, which were contested in Singapore, became the esports event with the highest number of peak concurrent viewers in history, with 5.4 million people tuning in to catch the action. Suffice to say, Free Fire has more than made its case for inclusion among the top flight of competitive gaming.
Seemingly eternally confined to playing second-fiddle to League of Legends, it would be a mistake to suppose that Dota 2 and its massive competitive community aren’t doing just fine in the number two spot of most popular esports globally.
And when it comes to prize pools, nothing compares, with headline event The International consistently breaking records across the esport’s industry for gargantuan prize funds that draw competitors from far and wide.
Counter Strike: Global Offensive is no stranger to competition – in truth, just about every tactical FPS owes some debt of gratitude to the series’ pioneering twitch-based gunplay. And while Call of Duty may be more popular than ever, and the likes of Rainbow Six: Siege has enjoyed a minor esports renaissance of late, there’s no escaping the fact that CS:GO continues to rule the roost of competitive shooters.
And that’s not just due to prestige and familiarity – CS:GO’s high speed, positional gameplay, and iconic game modes all serve as the perfect canvas upon which the greatest teams in the world can demonstrate their raw skill.
Rocket League has been around for a number of years, but has recently enjoyed a popular resurgence in the wake of it moving to a free-to-play model at the end of 2020. Now hype surrounding its unique vehicular soccer gameplay is higher than at any point in its history, and it has become a hotly contested esport attracted the interest of diverse teams.
The coming twelve months will no doubt pay witness to Rocket League’s continued growth, not least because there’s nothing quite like it out there today.