A Brief look into popular esports games and genres in 2018
Updated: Apr 9, 2019
The global esports scene in 2018 might appear insurmountably overwhelming to someone coming from outside the field of electronic sports. Not surprisingly, the esports scene might look somewhat confusing even to many gamers that have not yet stepped on this fast-moving train. With that in mind, we would now like give you a nice cross section of all the important video games and video game genres in esports.
The three most popular video game genres in esports today are real-time strategy (RTS), first-person shooter (FPS) and multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA). RTS goes all the way back to the 1990’s and the beginning of esports. In RTS, the player usually controls limited units and resources in real time – the opposite of turn-based strategy games. The title for the most popular belongs to StarCraft II.
MOBA is a relatively new genre that became popular in the 2000’s as a subgenre of RTS. In MOBA, the player controls their own character in a team of other players, who together attempt to gain victory over another team of players with the help of non-player characters (NPC). Important MOBAs include Dota 2, League of Legends (LoL), Smite and Heroes of the Storm.
The popularity of FPS games has its origins in the beginning of 1990’s, with the release of such classics as Wolfenstein 3D and Doom. In FPS, the player controls a character from the first-person perspective – an opposite to the third-person perspective. Important FPS' include Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), the Call of Duty (CoD) franchise, Overwatch, among many others.
However, esports is not limited to RTS, MOBA and FPS games. Other popular video game genres in esports include (but is not limited to) fighting games, card games and sports games. Fighting games were very popular in the 1990’s, and still maintain a strong fanbase today. Important fighting game series include Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Tekken, and Super Smash Bros.
Hearthstone (released in 2014) is a popular card game for mobile phones and PCs, which has managed to popularize the collectible card game (CCG) genre. World of Tanks is a massively multiplayer online game (MMO, where the player takes the control of an armored vehicle. Sports games like Rocket League, which is a vehicular soccer game, have also attracted interest in the esports scene.
So what will be the next big thing in esports? The battle royale genre and its last man standing gameplay, with games like Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) and Fortnite, became very popular in 2017. While it is still quite early to say anything definitive, the massive viewership ratings that these games attract on different platforms will surely contribute to their eventual breakthrough in esports.
Be as it may, while video games are growing in cultural importance and esports is continuing to expand, we are likely to see even more new video game genres in competitive playing!