Esports have grown into one of the largest areas of gaming today. 2016 saw lots of games show that they have a huge esports following and they have made plans for bigger and better tournaments in 2017. The launch of the Nintendo Switch saw Nintendo set their sights on the esports scene with Splatoon, too. While we wait and see if that becomes a reality, there are lots of great esports that you can get involved in right now and here are some of the best.
Since its release, Overwatch has quickly become a dominant force in the world of esports. The first person shooter by Blizzard with its ever growing cast of characters has seen universal acclaim winning several prestigious awards. Overwatch is kind of a mash-up of shooters and MOBAs in the same way Rocket League combines football and cars – and both games work wonderfully. Overwatch sees two teams competing to capture points, move payloads or hold areas. It involves high degrees of strategy and coordination that few shooters have accomplished and at the same time looks beautiful. In 2016, sixteen national teams battled it out in the Overwatch World Tournament for prize money of $288,000. This is an astounding figure considering that Overwatch hasn’t even been out for a full year yet. There are lots of smaller leagues and tournaments happening all the time, so whether you want to compete or watch there is plenty to enjoy.
Street Fighter V
Street Fighter V saw a bit of shaky release but has gone on to be the premier fighting game esport. With a roster of characters that is constantly increasing and high-level tournaments happening all the time, there has never been a better time to get involved in fighting game esports. Players are also constantly battling it out to be ranked at the top of the in-game leader board as well fighting in outside tournaments. The Capcom Cup 2016 had a prize pool of $360,000, so there is a lot to play for in the big Street Fighter V tournaments. Not only does Street Fighter V look lovely, but it sounds great as well. Hearing the special moves, punches and kicks make contact with enemy players works wonderfully with the game’s own music soundtrack that it makes every game that much more enthralling. Watching players pull off amazing combos and riding on the highs and lows of a tournament is a great feeling, so if you have any interest in Street Fighter or fighting games in general, then check out the esports scene.
MOBAs are a big deal right now. They have been for a number of years, but they are consistently growing year on year. Players love to watch the best professional players participate in tournaments and try to take their plays into their own games. Dota 2 might still be a smaller game that League of Legends, but that doesn’t mean the community and tournaments are any less exciting. Last year’s International tournament saw sixteen teams competing for a prize pool of a massive $20 million. This huge sum makes
every match important, every move exciting and means that every fight could mean the difference between victory and defeat. The outcome of these matches can be made even more exciting if you have a bet on the outcome. The Betway Arena King of the Hill competition team Virtus Pro were clear favourites with 3/20 odds on the 27th March for their match against Team Spirit. Adding in that extra layer of competition makes a match that much more important to you and even more intense. The International 2017 is set to be an even betting tournament with an even larger prize pool, so it is definitely not one to be missed.
Smash Bros. Melee
Many people might be surprised to know that a GameCube game from 15 years ago has an esports scene, but it does. Smash Bros. Melee features iconic Nintendo characters like Mario, Link and Samus battling it out with up to 4 players at a time. They all use special moves that are specific their own game worlds and character. Smash Bros. Melee also has a range of exciting stages based on classic games like Game and Watch or Star Fox. There is a lot of action and skill to enjoy in a Smash Bros. Melee game and the community is smaller than a lot of other esports right now it is still active. The prize pools reflect this smaller player base coming in at around the $50,000 mark, but that doesn’t reflect the quality of the matches. They are still as fun and exciting to watch as any other esport. The fact that it is smaller only means that the scene is more intimate, so right now might be a good time for you to get involved and make a name for yourself or enjoy watching this esport grow into something wonderful.