Comfortable and Furious

The Biggest Esports Games All Gaming Fans Should Know

The esports industry has grown significantly over the past few decades. As competitive gaming becomes an embraced part of pop culture, researchers across various fields are also hoping to understand the industry’s proliferation. A Frontiers in Sports and Active Living study explores the potential of esports to be recognized as an official sport. The findings included insights from various academic disciplines, from business and law to sports and cognitive science. Researchers find that, as sports are typically divided into the physical (football) and cognitive (chess), esports and video games fall under both.

In fact, esports has become so prominent in our pop culture, as highlighted in our previous post covering various Roku gaming documentaries. While some are focused on the video game industry — like The Art of Street Fighting — others highlight the ups and downs of esports athletes, such as one on the rivalry between two Street Fighting esports pros and Unfold, a documentary on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) athlete Hunter who plays for team G2.

By now, esports is as widespread in real-life venues as on the Internet. Many esports events have achieved history-making viewership and boast sizable prize pools, celebrating various esports professionals at the top of their game. Below, we’ll look at some of the biggest esports games all gaming fans should know about:


Tactical first-person shooter Counter-Strike has been responsible for some of the biggest esports events in the world. Since the release of CS:GO, professional CS players have competed in leagues and tournaments hosted by third-party organizations and Valve-sponsored tournaments known as Major Championships. Originally consisting of $250,000 prize pools, Majors have since risen to $1,000,000, starting from MLG Columbus in 2016.

In 2023, developers at Valve announced the long-awaited Counter-Strike 2 (CS2), an update to the decade-old CS:GO. The game featured various technical improvements over its predecessor as it is hosted on the all-new Source 2 engine. This included “responsive smokes” from smoke grenades and redesigned versions of old and loved maps. Much like the CS:GO esports scene, CS2 also expects many CS fans and bettors to take part in the budding scene. Many bettors consult this CS2 betting guide to keep track of the betting odds for CS2 tournaments. This includes the PGL Major Copenhagen 2024 in March 2024 and many more tournaments and leagues to celebrate returning CS professionals.


Considered a viable competitor to the decade-old CS esports scene. Valorant combines tactical first-person shooting with various “agent” abilities that can change elements of a round or the entire game. These abilities include skills that allow players to heal each other or themselves, teleportation, and explosive rocket launchers. As such, Valorant is often considered a more “colorful” Counter-Strike.

Relatively new to the esports scene, Valorant was released in 2020. Since then, developer Riot Games has established an official esports system with four regional leagues competing for Masters trophies and the esteemed Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) World Championship at the end of each VCT season. Many CS esports professionals have shifted from Counter-Strike to Valorant upon its release. Since then, the Valorant esports scene has birthed many legends and icons, including several multi-title winners and iconic rivalries between teams and regions.

League of Legends

Aside from shooters, multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games are also a popular esports staple. Also developed by Riot Games, League of Legends (LoL) has long dominated the esports industry, hosting some of the biggest global esports events and pop culture collaborations on international stages. Every year, LoL fans worldwide rally behind their favorite teams and players. South Korea’s Faker plays for T1 and is one of many notable LoL legends today.

Riot Games continues to innovate aspects of LoL to keep the game and its esports scene fresh. The new League of Legends season saw Riot take a different approach to normal and removed pre-season, launching new content in January 2024, just three days before the 2024 LEC season. This caused a slight disruption in how esports teams are expected to prepare and compete in the upcoming league. Riot also provided pro teams with dedicated tournament servers where they could test out new content early. The new content drop included a new map, monsters, and major item overhauls, which can significantly shift the LoL esports meta.

Dota 2

Finally, another legendary MOBA is Valve’s Defense of the Ancients 2 (Dota 2). Established by Valve in 2011, the Dota 2 esports scene has quickly become one of the highest-earning and most popular esports ecosystems in video game history. By the end of 2011, Dota 2 was considered one of the highest-paying esports games, following the older MOBA-like StarCraft II. The International 2021, for example, peaked at a prize pool of $40 million.

Today, the highest-earning Dota 2 teams sit on millions of dollars. As of January 2024, OG leads this list, amassing total winnings of over $36 million through official esports tournaments. OG is also home to the most successful Dota 2 player of all time, Danish-Faroese N0tail, who won The Internationals 2018 and 2019 and four Major championships. OG sits comfortably over many competitors, including Team Liquid ($28.29 million) and Team Spirit ($27.28 million). This year, Dota fans are undoubtedly excited for The International 2024, which is set to return in September to Europe, where the best Dota teams will clash in Copenhagen’s Royal Arena.





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