Calling all aspiring esports champions! If you’re looking for the best esports games to dominate in 2023, you’ve come to the right place. The world of competitive gaming is buzzing with excitement and opportunities, and we’re here to guide you through the top titles that are capturing the hearts and skills of players worldwide.
Esports, the competitive realm of computer gaming, has taken the world by storm, attracting massive audiences and offering lucrative rewards for those who excel. With a diverse range of games across genres like shooters, battle royales, and MOBAs, there’s an esports game tailor-made for every gamer’s preferences and playstyle.
With such a wide selection, getting started in professional gaming might feel overwhelming. To help you navigate this exciting landscape, we’ve compiled a list of the best esports games for 2023. Our selection includes titles with official tournament support from their publishers, ensuring they are prime contenders in the esports scene.
What Makes a Great Esports Game?
So, what makes an excellent esports game? Esports encompasses various games across various genres, catering to different preferences and playstyles. Whether you enjoy shooters like Apex Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, battle royales like Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, MOBAs like League of Legends and Dota 2, or fighting games like Mortal Kombat 11 and Dragon Ball FighterZ, there’s an esports game for everyone.
Let’s dive into the thrilling world of esports and explore the top titles for 2023:
- Apex Legends – Master the art of team-based combat and unique character abilities for a chance at the generous prize pools in ongoing tournaments.
- Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 – Join the battle for supremacy and stake your claim in the world of Warzone.
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO) – Step into the arena of skilled marksmen and compete in the prestigious Eleague Major for a $1 million prize.
- Dota 2 – Unleash your strategic prowess and lead your team to victory on the battleground.
- Dragon Ball FighterZ – Harness the power of iconic characters and engage in Super Saiyan thrills in Bandai Namco’s Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour.
- Fortnite – Jump into the colorful chaos and compete for fame and fortune in the prestigious Fortnite World Cup.
- League of Legends – Join the League of Legends Championship Series and test your mettle against the best players in the world.
- Mortal Kombat 11 – Step into the arena of blood-pumping battles and claim your victory in the Mortal Kombat Pro Series.
- Overwatch 2 – Enter the world of heroes and villains and follow the Overwatch World Cup for epic showdowns.
- PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) – Drop into the battlegrounds and compete in the PUBG Global Invitational for massive rewards.
- Rocket League – Take to the field and witness the world’s best players in action during the Rocket League Championship Series.
- Samurai Shodown – Join the showdown of swordsmen and prove your worth in the SNK World Championship series.
- StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void – Command your armies and compete for millions in cash prizes in the ESL Pro Tour StarCraft II and DreamHack SC2 Masters.
- Street Fighter V: Champion Edition – Unleash your fighting spirit and aim for victory in the Capcom Pro Tour.
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – Embark on the ultimate crossover adventure and watch the world’s best players compete in Nintendo-sponsored tournaments.
Top 15 Best Esports Games
Respawn Entertainment’s Apex Legends, set in the Titanfall universe, has taken the gaming world by storm. In this battle royale shooter, you control nimble mercenaries with unique abilities, creating intense and engaging gameplay. With ongoing tournaments offering generous prize pools, Apex Legends continues to gain momentum as a premier esports game.
Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0
The original Warzone showcased Call of Duty’s prowess in the battle royale genre. Now, with the launch of Warzone 2.0 alongside Modern Warfare II, players can enjoy new maps and modes in this action-packed shooter. As one of the most popular first-person shooter franchises, Call of Duty promises exciting and competitive tournaments for top players.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO)
CS: GO, developed by Valve, has stood the test of time since its debut in 2012. Its no-frills gameplay, backed by a rich heritage of multiplayer FPS titles, continues to attract players and audiences alike. The highly competitive esports circuit, including the Eleague Major with its million-dollar prize, keeps CS: GO at the forefront of professional gaming.
Defense of the Ancients 2 (Dota 2) is a pinnacle of the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) genre. With a roster of over 100 playable Heroes, each with unique abilities, this free-to-play game challenges players to strategize and work as a team for victory. The Dota 2 International, with its mind-boggling prize pool exceeding $30 million, ensures that this esport is worth watching for those willing to learn the game’s intricacies.
Dragon Ball FighterZ
Dragon Ball FighterZ, a 2D tag-team fighting game, captures the essence of the iconic anime series. With its accessible control scheme and intense combat, it appeals to both casual and competitive players. Bandai Namco’s Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour provides an expanded competitive scene for fans to follow.
Epic Games’ Fortnite has taken the battle royale genre to new heights, becoming a global phenomenon with millions of concurrent players. Its approachable gameplay modes, colorful graphics, and building mechanics have earned it widespread popularity. The annual Fortnite World Cup boasts jaw-dropping prize pools, making it a must-watch event in the esports calendar.
League of Legends
Riot Games’ League of Legends stands tall as the leading MOBA game with elements of role-playing, tower defense, and real-time strategy. Its accessibility and complex gameplay set it apart, making it the face of MOBA gaming. Supported by the League of Legends Championship Series, this esportgame offers a prize pool exceeding $2 million.
Mortal Kombat 11
Mortal Kombat 11 by NetherRealm Studios is more than just brutal violence; it offers engaging storytelling and refined gameplay mechanics. With its varied roster and improved offensive and defensive features, this fighting game appeals to newcomers and veterans. The Mortal Kombat Pro Series ensures skilled players get a shot at significant cash prizes.
Blizzard’s Overwatch 2 injects cartoony fun into the first-person shooter genre, delivering fast-paced and team-based gameplay. With an abundance of heroes and classes, Overwatch 2 offers mechanical variety, captivating both players and viewers alike. Supported by the Overwatch World Cup and other initiatives, this game thrives.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG)
PUBG, an open-world survival game, and first-person shooter hybrid, challenges players to be the last one standing. With a unique gameplay style, including parachute drops, weapon scavenging, and shrinking playable areas, PUBG delivers intense and entertaining matches. The PUBG Global Invitational features a prize pool of over $2 million.
Rocket League, a car-based sports game, has earned massive esports love since its surprise hit in 2015. With fast-paced gameplay and acrobatic maneuvers, this game thrills players and spectators. The Rocket League Championship Series showcases the world’s best players, pulling off incredible stunts and securing their place in the competitive scene.
SNK’s Samurai Shodown reboots the classic weapon-based fighting game, maintaining its timeless appeal with updated gameplay mechanics. The title quickly found its place in the esports world, becoming an Evo main event in its first year. The SNK World Championship series further supports the competitive community.
StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void
Amid the dominance of MOBAs, StarCraft II continues to shine as a real-time strategy (RTS) game, attracting millions in cash prizes for top players. The Legacy of the Void expansion provides a satisfying conclusion to Blizzard’s epic saga. With deep strategy and high-level play, StarCraft II remains a staple in the esports landscape.
Street Fighter V: Champion Edition
Street Fighter V, despite its rocky start, remains one of the most accessible esports titles with its universally recognizable premise of intense one-on-one combat. The Capcom Pro Tour boasts a substantial cash pool, attracting casual viewers and mainstream media coverage.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate defies classification, blending combat and movement in a unique platform-fighting experience. With a massive roster of beloved characters, this game offers thrilling battles and constant surprises. Nintendo’s support of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournaments ensures its place in the esports world.
Esports Industry Growth & Trends 2024
As we enter 2024, the esports industry is primed for unprecedented growth and expansion, building upon its astounding success during the pandemic. Esports and gaming have transcended their niche origins, evolving into a multi-billion dollar industry with no signs of slowing down. Projections indicate that the esports market alone will soar to an astounding £1.4 billion by 2025, highlighting the tremendous financial potential and ever-increasing mainstream allure of competitive gaming.
Expanding Global Audience
One of the driving forces behind this industry surge is the continuously expanding global audience. In 2021, the esports audience reached an impressive 474 million, which is set to soar to 577 million by 2024, attracting enthusiasts and newcomers alike. This burgeoning audience presents a golden opportunity for the sports industry to connect with new demographics and tap into the interests of tomorrow’s consumers.
Diverse Avenues for Engagement
As the esports landscape matures, it offers diverse avenues for brands and marketers to genuinely engage with the community. Esports embraces more than just competitive players; it includes commentators, casters, content creators, and streamers, creating a vibrant ecosystem that captivates audiences of all kinds. Brands are exploring innovative ways to associate themselves with esports, sponsoring events and teams, and even venturing into pop-up clothing brands and collaborations.
Integration with Mainstream Entertainment
Moreover, esports’ integration with mainstream entertainment is evident in events such as boxing matches that incorporate esports elements and collaborations with major car brands entering the sim racing market. This blending of worlds extends the industry’s reach beyond the core gaming community, captivating a broader audience with esports and gaming-related content.
The “Metaverse” Trend
An exciting trend on the horizon is the integration of gaming IPs into a persistent world, often called the “metaverse.” This integration enables players to have a persistent avatar navigating various game worlds with dynamic rule systems. Advancements in AI and Web3 integration into this immersive experience open new avenues for a more equitable world, where rewards and fame are earned through meritocracy, revolutionizing the gaming landscape.
Challenges and Opportunities
However, amidst this exponential growth, the esports industry faces challenges, particularly in managing time and budget constraints. With strict project management regimes and controls in place, agencies operate under constant time pressure to align with publishers’ release schedules. The costs of creating high-quality content and running live broadcast tournaments add further complexities, necessitating meticulous planning and execution.
A Promising Future
Overall, the future of the esports and gaming sector in 2024 is brimming with potential, promising further industry growth, captivating innovations, and exciting opportunities for brands to forge authentic connections with the gaming community. As the industry continues to evolve, the focus will remain on genuine engagement, understanding evolving demographics, and swift adaptation to emerging trends and technologies.
Best Esports Games by Genres
- Apex Legends
- Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO)
- Overwatch 2
- Rocket League
Battle Royale Games
- PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG)
- League of Legends
- Dota 2
- Mortal Kombat 11
- Dragon Ball FighterZ
- Samurai Shodown
- Street Fighter V: Champion Edition
Other Notable Esports Games
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
- StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void
The world of esports is rich and diverse, offering thrilling games that cater to different gaming preferences. As the industry grows, these top esports titles promise exciting tournaments, jaw-dropping prizes, and fierce competition, solidifying their place as the best in the business. Whether you’re a player or a spectator, esports offers an unforgettable experience, so join the action and have fun!