As we march into 2023, the esports craze is continuing its boom times with no sign of slowing. Destined for its time in the limelight in the 2010s, what was an organically growing scene exploded into mainstream awareness at the outset of 2020.
While the global sporting industry recorded total losses in excess of $8 billion, the esports industry, primed as it was to capture viewership with its remote nature and grassroots competitive circuit, grew 18% virtually overnight to become a $1 billion industry.
The industry’s year-on-year growth has yet to abate, with projections pointing to it breaking the $3 billion mark by 2028. There’s no denying it, esports is here to stay. This is further evidenced by the fact that free bet offers, such as those provided by leading comparison platform OddsChecker, are now used by fans on major esports competitions in the same way as conventional sporting events.
For much of its history, esports has been closely associated with PC gaming, a platform that serves as the ideal home for twitch-based FPS titles and tactical MOBAs alike. But with esport’s new found prestige, that picture is rapidly changing.
While it’s true that leading esports athletes and teams are faithful to PC-gaming, ever increasing numbers of new spectators and gamers alike are turning to the more affordable and accessible devices they have at their disposal in order to get in on the action. This has led to significant growth for both the console, and particularly mobile esports sectors over the past three years.
While many prophesize a time in the near future where mobile will effectively displace PCs as the home of competitive gaming, that day has yet to dawn – despite the fact that certain mobile titles are giving headline legacy games a run for their money, both literally in terms of prize pools, and in terms of viewer numbers.
Below we take a look at what ended up being the most popular esports across PC, console and mobile platforms over the course of 2022. From rising stars to industry mainstays, we can guarantee you’ll be hearing a lot more about these games in the coming year.
Consoles have historically been hampered from expanding into some of the more technical esports genres by their input methods. First person shooters bypass this problem entirely, especially those built from the ground up to play well with a console controller. Last year saw Call of Duty remain at the top of everyone’s rankings, with the 2021 iteration of the series, Vanguard, causing a sensation at Call of Duty tournaments around the world.
We also saw Microsoft, which has thrown an enormous amount of investment behind its top tier Halo tournament, the Halo Championship Series, build up some serious hype for the 2022 edition, with saw teams competing on Xbox Series X|S flagship for the second year running.
Last year bore witness to the ongoing rise of mobile esports, with “mini-MOBA”, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang continuing to demonstrate that the genre can not only work on touch inputs, but flourish there with its retooled mechanics and snappy 10 minute matches. Elsewhere, PUBG Mobile made a mark with a total annual prize pool of some $24 million, beating out all other cross-platform esports save Dota 2.
As mentioned, the accessibility of mobile gaming makes it an appealing option. We expect to see more mobile and cross-platform esports in 2023.
The past year has been an exciting time for PC esports. Classics like CS:GO continue to prove a huge draw, and newer games from Valorant to Overwatch 2 are making in-roads and building up loyal followings. Yet, as ever, the two big MOBAs – Dota 2 and League of Legends, continue to rule the roost.
Activision Blizzard’s headline Dota event, The International, continued to break records in 2022 with the largest prize pool in esports, now up to $32 million. League of Legends, meanwhile, further cemented itself as the premier esport globally with viewer counts that dwarf its rivals.