Top 10 Esports Games | What Are the Biggest Paying Esports in 2022?
Each year, the esports industry expands beyond anything we as gamers ever thought possible. Once upon a time, the esports industry was a relatively basic concept, with multi-million-dollar tournaments being a thing of dreams. Today, esports is rapidly rising to become one of the most valuable sports markets in the world, boasting a multi-billion-dollar value. We’re here to break down the top 10 esports games in the market right now, identifying the most popular and the most valuable titles in the industry.
As the overall size of the esports industry grows, so too do the number of tournaments, players, and organisations getting involved. From esports betting to world-class sponsorships, the esports industry is a living, breathing beast of business, and it is only growing more with each passing day. In 2022, a staggering number of high-value tournaments will be held, showcasing the unbelievable talents of some of the world’s finest esports competitors.
So, let’s look at the landscape as it stands in April of 2022. We’re making use of key research from platforms such as EsportsEarnings.com to compile this list of the top 10 esports games out there today. We think some of these numbers may surprise you, so if you’re interested to learn more, by all means – read on.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
By sheer value and following, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is easily one of the top 10 esports games in the world today. It boasts a thriving and diverse ecosystem that contains some of the most-watched esports tournaments in the history of the industry. Furthermore, CSGO has one of the most highly popular grassroots environments in competitive gaming, and millions of people enjoy playing CSGO each and every day.
There’s a multi-billion-dollar skin trading market behind CSGO, and as a brand, it’s backed by some top-tier sponsors, the likes of which include the computing giant, Intel. Even when CSGO tournaments were taken offline due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the popular FPS title remained at the top of the table. Finally, it has been confirmed that CSGO betting is the most popular category for esports bettors, with the overall market cap for CSGO markets sitting at around 50% of all esports bets.
By 2022, CSGO had amassed $133m in prize money, introduced approximately 14,000 players, and seen 6167 tournaments.
PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS (Mobile and PC)
PUBG is often considered to be the game that helped to kickstart the popularity of the battle royale genre. When it was released in 2017, it quickly became an overnight success, and within a short period of time, it spawned a popular and exhilarating esports scene. Today, PUBG esports are hosted on both mobile and PC platforms, and for this reason, we’re lumping both of those formats together.
By sheer numbers alone, PUBG is easily one of the top 10 esports games out there. It’s massively popular and ever-changing, and it boasts a massive community. In January of 2022, PUBG went free-to-play, and it smashed concurrent player records overnight, showing the game still had plenty left in the tank.
By 2022, PUBG had amassed $77m in prize money, introduced approximately 5,000 players, and seen 500 tournaments.
If there’s one game that can be considered a frontrunner in the list of the top 10 esports games, it’s Dota 2. Since 2013, ‘Defence of the Ancients’ has been a leading MOBA within the esports industry, and it’s responsible for a huge portion of the growth of esports in general. Every year, the largest and most valuable esports tournament in the world is hosted on Dota 2’s platform – The International. In 2021, this tournament boasted a $40 million prize pool, which was the largest prize pool in the history of esports.
It’s mind-blowingly popular, with millions of players, a huge social media presence, and an ecosystem that just refuses to quit. It has made many players multi-millionaires, edging out CSGO as the richest esports title in the world. And the most amazing thing? It’s only getting bigger.
By 2022, Dota 2 had amassed $282m in prize money, introduced approximately 4,200 players, and seen 1630 tournaments.
Fortnite is a strange example, but it certainly cuts its way into the top 10 esports games. When Fortnite launched, it was a remarkable success, becoming a fan favourite title almost overnight. Within a couple of years, Fortnite would have blown up, becoming known as the most popular battle royale title, without question. It spawned a thriving competitive ecosystem that, at its height, led to a Fortnite World Cup.
In 2019, the first (and only) Fortnite World Cup was held, boasting a staggering prize pool. It was split into several categories, and the pool for the solo category alone was worth some $15m. However, since the Fortnite World Cup, Fortnite’s esports ecosystem has retreated somewhat, and it’s a little quieter out there today.
By 2022, Fortnite had amassed $112m in prize money, introduced approximately 4,900 players, and seen 750 tournaments.
League of Legends
There can be no doubt that League of Legends is one of the top 10 esports games out there today. It’s massively valuable and boasts one of the most advanced esports ecosystems in the industry, with countless tournaments taking place every year. It’s a truly global esports game, and there are countless sponsors and partners to further boost up the title. There are millions of League of Legends fans out there, and it’s likely that the game will remain at the top of the pile for many years to come.
By 2022, League of Legends had amassed $93m in prize money, introduced approximately 8,150 players, and seen 2700 tournaments.
It has been around for more than a decade and yet, it remains as popular today as it ever has. For some, StarCraft II is seen as being the most popular esports game out there, bar none. As a franchise, StarCraft has enjoyed mass popularity in the Asian esports markets, but like League of Legends, it’s a global esports title. There’s no question about it – StarCraft II is absolutely one of the top 10 esports games out there.
By 2022, StarCraft II had amassed $37m in prize money, introduced approximately 2,100 players, and seen 6420 tournaments.
With the franchise-built power of the Overwatch League, this particular esports title has risen to become a huge success. While the esports scene may have slowed down a little in recent months, it’s due to ramp up again with the introduction of Overwatch 2. Since 2016, Overwatch has been seen as a massively popular title, and many fans enjoy the regular esports tournaments hosted on the Overwatch platform.
By 2022, Overwatch had amassed $34m in prize money, introduced approximately 3,720 players, and seen 790 tournaments.
Call of Duty (Multiplayer and Warzone)
Call of Duty boasts a confusing but legendary esports ecosystem. Since Call of Duty 4 launched in 2007, COD’s multiplayer platform has worked to advance esports at an immeasurable rate. Today, the Call of Duty League, the leading COD esports event, is a massively valuable esports tournament. However, if we look back through Call of Duty’s history, there are different tournaments that crop up once every so often, including on the popular battle royale platform, Warzone.
By 2022, Call of Duty had amassed $50m in prize money, introduced approximately 4,800 players, and seen 1340 tournaments.
Rainbow Six: Siege
Rainbow Six: Siege was always designed with esports in mind. It’s a massively competitive title, boasting one of the largest persistent audiences in FPS esports today. There’s no doubting it’s one of the top 10 esports games of all time, coming equipped with a fantastic balanced and enjoyable game. While it isn’t up there with CSGO in terms of the overall player base, it’s still a fantastic game as a high-performing esports title.
By 2022, Siege had amassed $24m in prize money, introduced approximately 2164 players, and seen 350 tournaments.
Apex Legends is something of an emerging force in the esports scene, but it’s certainly a contender for a high-ranking spot in the top 10 esports games lists. As an esports title, Apex Legends is equal parts exhilarating and cool to watch, and many streamers pull in remarkably high numbers with ease. Ultimately, it’s a popular game, and there’s plenty of life left in the battle royale epic, from EA.
By 2022, Apex had amassed $10m in prize money, introduced approximately 1,600 players, and seen around 400 tournaments.