Video games have long been described as a new form of art by developers and gamers alike. It is a fact that they are nowadays as impressive and big as the rest of the arts, especially considering the talent needed to develop a top-tier blockbuster game and the revenue and success it enjoys during its lifetime. It is no longer viable to view gaming as a mere pastime activity of certain people because they have evolved and are now a legitimate industry like any other. Actually, they are the fastest-growing industry at the moment and one of the most lucrative.
Gamers far and wide make a living with their talents and the hours spent in the virtual world are making their real-world life easier and more pleasant. Being able to do what you love and get paid for means that you are a professional, and a career as a professional gamer signed to a pro gaming team is the newest most-wanted job description. The reasons for this are many and it is not just about the immense money being put into the industry.
In this article, we will talk about the most lucrative games in the ever-growing eSports industry and determine what is the best chance for the up-and-coming gamers to make it big. There are numerous roads to take and different criteria according to which one may deem a game lucrative. Do not worry though as we will mention it all in the following sections.
Most Popular Streaming Games
The streaming of video games is one of the factors that determine the popularity of a game. Platforms like Twitch and YouTube are the bread and butter of this genre of eSports where the best gamers in the world live stream their gaming sessions to hundreds of thousands of fans. According to Twitch and YouTube data and the top streamers in the world, the most popular games include League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Grand Theft Auto V, Apex Legends, Call of Duty Warzone, Valorant, DOTA 2, Minecraft, Fortnite, PUBG, and FIFA 21. These are currently the most-watched and therefore the most popular games in the world to play, follow, support, and go pro in.
Tournaments and Championships
The true form of eSports comes in the state, regional, and world championships that have long surpassed millions of dollars in prize pools. If we were to declare the most lucrative eSports titles in 2023, we would have to consult the total prize money pool of the tournaments the games have had. In 2023, PUBG leads the way with over $7 million in prize money awarded to 140 players at 2 tournaments. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive comes second with $6 million, 1,727 players, and 157 tournaments. Fortnite sits at $2.6 million, 360 players, and 15 tournaments. DOTA 2 has given out $2.5 million at 27 tourneys to 596 gamers.
1. Defense of the Ancients (DOTA) 2
The popular MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) game has been around for a while but it still enjoys a fan base made up of millions of players. The total prize money up to this day was $231,295,237.22 across 1,493 tournaments and awarded to some 4,000 players. This amount of money is staggering if we consider how young the industry is and how much room it still has to grow. While the game is not as popular with casual gamers and streamers as some other titles are, it is by far the most lucrative eSports title in terms of competitive tournament play with serious organizations and teams battling to sign the best professionals from all over the globe.
2. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO)
The most popular first-person shooter (FPS) in the world is the contemporary installment in the long-running series of arena-style shooting games. Across 5,512 tournaments there have been so far, around 14,000 players have collected $110,929,202.33 in prize money. The competition is fierce and there are already established teams that battle it out at every major event, so the best chance new players have is to be much better than average players and join a pro team. Betting on CSGO is a story for itself and the whole gambling on professional video games is nowadays as popular as sports gambling. To learn more about it, make sure to check out https://www.myesportsbettingodds.com/csgo-betting-sites/.
The most popular battle royale title in the world is both loved and hated in the online world. Those who like it however prevail and they are responsible for making this arguably the most popular game by the name alone. More oriented towards the younger gamers, it still has an enormous following on the pro scene where the prize pools for tourneys surpass millions. There have been 693 of them so fart where more than 4,500 players took home $102,226,034.08. Fortnite is famous for bringing licensed skins into the game and the players are able to play as virtual characters from other games, movies, and even real-life stars. Their aim is to elevate the game into a brand new experience that surpassed the video game genre boundaries.
4. League of Legends (LOL)
Despite being more than a decade old, LOL is going as strong as ever in terms of its player base. Popular all over the world, it has more players than DOTA 2 and is actually the more popular MOBA out of the two. However, the championships and tournaments have been lacking in recent years and despite the game being the original big name, lucrative title, across some 2,500 tournaments, 7,244 players picked up “only” $82,101,371.07. In 2023 alone, there were 22 tourneys with a $1.5 million split among 532 players.
Amateurs and Pros Unite
Last but not least, we have to mention that the most popular games in the world are not necessarily the top eSports titles. For example, despite not having a competitive pro stage like the rest, GTA V is the highest-grossing entertainment title in history, which means it has made more money than any movie, music album, or anything else considered entertainment. What is more, Apex Legends has newfound fame and attention thanks to the new additions to the game but the pro stage is quite poor in comparison to the rest of the titles discussed.
In 2023, there were 55 tournaments where 451 players took home just over $1 million. It can be said that the most fun and enjoyable game professionals and casuals equally like are free to play, AAA titles backed up by big companies that offer high-quality streaming. Despite the high learning curve and a lot of skill needed for most modern games, the top-4 lucrative titles mentioned above are in a league of their own in terms of true eSports though.