ESports had a huge year in 2020, but 2021 could be even more important for the industry.
Newzoo, a research company, has estimated eSports will generate in the region of $1.8 billion per year by 2022 - a gigantic amount of money for something that still has a low public profile. Many believe eSports betting could also be the future of the gambling sector, with many online bookmakers having already moved to set up markets for a variety of eSports. Online betting sites have also been working to set up partnerships with eSports teams. For instance, on May 27 Betway announced that it is teaming up with the Brazilian eSports organization FURIA.
This is everything you need to know about esports in 2021.
The top eSports in 2021
New eSports are emerging all the time. The release of Valorant breathed fresh life into eSports, but there is a lot of competition for eyeballs. The list of great options is growing fast, but some of the top eSports in 2021 include the following:
- Defense of the Ancients 2 (Dota 2)
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO)
- StarCraft II (SC2)
- League of Legends (LOL)
- Call of Duty (COD)
- Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
- Dragon Ball FighterZ
- PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG)
- Apex Legends
- Mortal Kombat
- Rocket League
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Covering everything from sports games, shooters, fighting games and battle royale titles, eSports has something for everyone, which helps to explain why it has got so popular.
ESports on the rise
ESports was one of the industries to thrive during the course of 2020. Among the reasons why was that most other sporting action that year had to be either paused, canceled or postponed.
With eSports able to take place fully online - though big events are normally held in person, in arenas - it stepped up to fill the gap that was left by sports during the global pandemic. Celebrities were among those to take part, with football stars such as Raheem Sterling and Trent Alexander-Arnold picking up controllers for online FIFA tournaments.
Betting on eSports
During 2020, many online bookmakers started offering eSports betting for the first time. Betting on eSports works the same as any other sports betting trends. Users have to predict the outcome of a match or a tournament. Markets depend on the eSport but can include betting on the winner of each map, for example. Among the advantages of eSports betting is that live streaming of the action is often available. This makes it easy for eSports fans to have a bet on a match then follow it live to see if it wins. ESports betting also does not have factors like the weather or injury for fans to worry about.
Esports in 2021 is not a bubble
With so many people, having been stuck at home due to the pandemic, participation in eSports has expanded at a rapid rate over the last year or so. But with lockdowns lifting due to vaccination rollouts, there are hopes the world is getting back to normal. This has led to suggestions that eSports is a bubble that could soon be set to pop.
There are signs that this is simply not the case, however. Activision CEO Bobby Kotick in an interview with VentureBeat claimed that Call of Duty: Warzone, which is a free title, has been downloaded some 80 million times since its release. Meanwhile, millions of people wanted to attend the 2020 League of Legends World Championship Finals, which took place in the Chinese city of Shanghai. While some eSports pros have opted to pursue careers as a gaming influencer or a content creator, there will always be plenty of people dreaming of playing video games for a living. Talk that the growth of eSports is a bubble therefore seems to be wide of the mark.
Coming next for esports in 2021
It seems certain that eSports might grow even faster in 2021 than they did during 2020. New eSports could emerge, such as the following titles:
- Quake Champions
- Halo Infinite
ESports will be taken increasingly seriously. In an interview with Inside the Games, Lokesh Suji, director of the eSports Federation of India, informed that esports is set to be an official medal event at the 2022 Asian Games - taking place in Hangzhou, China - the profile will expand even more.
Now is definitely a great time to be getting into eSports.