What Is The Number One Esports Game?

There’s no questioning the fact that esports as an industry is becoming remarkably popular. It has been estimated that some 1.9 billion people around the world are ‘aware of’ the esports industry to some extent. It’s a diverse and dynamic ecosystem that boasts countless top titles, world-class events, and thousands of skilled competitors. Today, we’re here to look across the entire landscape, identifying the number one esports game out there in the industry.

If you want to know which esports game is the most valuable, the most popular, or the most historic, then read on. In this comprehensive breakdown, we’ll identify the number one esports game, looking at the tournament volume, total prize pools, and the overall audience. It’s a competitive scene out there for sure, and many people are often left wondering which esports game sits at the top of the table.

Let’s answer the question: what is the number one esports game?

Most Valuable Esports Game of all Time


There are dozens of top titles out there when it comes to esports in general, but there are only a few that can be classed as truly something special. For instance, the ‘Big Three’ in esports tends to refer to the likes of League of Legends, CSGO, and Dota 2. However, that doesn’t mean that other, smaller titles cannot compete in the space, as many of the lower-tier games also draw in massive audiences and huge amounts of value to the esports industry in general.

Firstly, let’s look at the top esports games by overall prize pools:

  • 1. Dota 2 ($282m)
  • 2. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive ($133m)
  • 3. Fortnite ($113m)
  • 4. League of Legends ($93m)
  • 5. Arena of Valor ($48m)
  • 6. PUBG ($45m)
  • 7. StarCraft II ($37m)
  • 8. Overwatch ($34m)
  • 9. PUBG Mobile ($33m)
  • 10. Hearthstone ($28m)

As you can see from the metrics above, Dota 2 is the most valuable esports game of all time where tournament winnings are concerned. In 2021, The International 10 took place, a record-breaking esports tournament that boasted a $40 million prize pool. That single tournament edges out almost every other esports game on the list. If we’re talking money, Dota 2 would easily be classed as the number one esports game of all time.

But is that the only thing that matters?

Most Played Esports Game of all Time


Now, let’s take a look at the overall volume of tournaments assigned to these esports titles. While Dota 2 tops the charts in terms of overall value, that can be explained by the fact that it boasts huge prize pools for singular tournaments. It might not be the most popular or the most played, but it’s certainly the most valuable esports game. However, is it appropriate to suggest that the more tournaments an esports title puts out, the more engaging and popular it is overall?

Perhaps, it’s just a case of that title having existed for longer than its competitors – which might be the case with the below listing.

Here’s the all-time ranking:

  • 1. StarCraft II (6422 tournaments)
  • 2. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (6166 tournaments)
  • 3. League of Legends (2690 tournaments)
  • 4. Super Smash Bros. Melee (2633 tournaments)
  • 5. Rocket League (1982 tournaments)
  • 6. Dota 2 (1630 tournaments)
  • 7. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (1587 tournaments)
  • 8. WarCraft III (1426 tournaments)
  • 9. Age of Empires II (1207 tournaments)
  • 10. Counter-Strike (1017 tournaments)

While StarCraft II tops the table here, it’s important to remember that it launched way back in 2010 and remains a widely competed title today. It boasts one of the longest uninterrupted lifecycles of any esports game, and if we’re ranking the number one esports title by sheer competition volume, it certainly takes the prize. However, this may be an argument of quantity over quality.

Most Popular Esports Game by Following


This is an important figure, but it’s a relatively tricky one to really lockdown. We’ve taken a look at the most popular subreddits for the esports games we’re considering, pulling together a list of the most popular ones. For some, the social media following of a game is dramatically important, and these figures make for a great representative example. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 1. League of Legends (5.8m members)
  • 2. Overwatch (3.9m members)
  • 3. PUBG (2m members)
  • 4. Fortnite (1.9m members)
  • 5. Hearthstone (1.9m members)
  • 6. CS:GO (1.6m members)
  • 7. Dota 2 (1.1m members)
  • 8. Rocket League (1.1m members)
  • 9. Super Smash Bros. (879k members)
  • 10. Call of Duty (790k members)

If we’re identifying the number one esports game by sheer following, League of Legends sits proudly at the top of the table. But does this matter as much as value and volume? Let’s decide the ultimate winner in this debate.

The Number One Esports Game

And the winner is… League of Legends.

What is the number one esports game

In almost every metric possible, League of Legends ranks above the competition or comes remarkably close to sitting at the top of every table. In 2021, more hours were watched of League of Legends than any other esports title, and the most viewed tournament in 2020, League of Legends Worlds 2020, drew in more than 3.8m viewers, setting an awe-inspiring record.

As a title, League of Legends boasts a staggering following, it’s remarkably accessible, and it’s a hugely valuable ecosystem. In terms of esports betting, League of Legends is in the top three most-betted on games in the esports industry, along with Dota 2 and CSGO. Finally, it’s exhilarating to watch, boasts thousands of players and prospects, and has a history that stretches back more than a decade.

Do you agree with this decision?