The Most Popular Esports 2021

most-popular-esports

Many people think that regular sports are more popular than esports. Indeed, giants such as soccer and cricket still reign supreme. However, during the last few years, esports have become increasingly predominant. Both due to the ease of viewership and the massive player bases of the games.

The most popular esports tend to fall into the MOBA, Battle Royale and Tactical Shooter genres. The popularity of the genres are mainly due to the fast time to kill, high skill-cap and the dynamic gameplay. We’ve listed the most popular esports based on Twitch viewership during Q1 2021, delivered by Newzoo.

most-popular-esports-graph
The list is based on esports viewership statistics from Newzoo for Twitch for Q1 2020.

League of Legends, Riot Games

Esports hours watched: 101,954,820

League of Legends, commonly referred to as LoL, is a MOBA-game developed by Riot Games. The game is based on 5v5-teams competing in an arena with the goal to gather strength in order to kill the opposing team’s base, the Nexus. The game has been around since 2009 and has one of the biggest player bases in esports with 115 million active monthly players (2020).

The esports continues to flourish with the 2020 Worlds Championship having 3.8 million concurrent viewers and a 2,2 million dollar prize pool. 

Discover Abios Coverage for League of Legends here

Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Valve Corporation

Esports hours watched: 56,215,103

Counter Strike: Global Offensive, also known as CS:GO, is a Tactical Shooter developed by Valve Corporation. It is a team-based game with the objective to kill the opposing team, as well as defusing and planting bombs. The game has held immense popularity and is one of the biggest esports to date.

Read more about why some games turn into esports

CS:GO has several major tournaments including IEM Katowice, PGL Major and ESL Pro League. PGL Major is set to be played in Stockholm in 2021, with a prize pool of 2 million dollars.

Discover Abios Coverage for CS:GO here

Dota 2, Valve Corporation

Esports hours watched: 32,834,055

Dota 2 is a MOBA-game developed by Valve Corporation. The game is an official sequel to Warcraft III and is often considered as the one popularising the MOBA-genre for the general public. Dota 2 has the same premise as LoL, but with a higher learning curve.

The Dota 2 esports scene has been in a curious place since the cancellation of the 2020 International. Nevertheless, the championships are characterised by record-breaking prize pools due to crowd-funding. The prize pool for the 2019 tournament was at a whooping 34 million dollars with 1.1 million viewers. 

Discover Abios Coverage for Dota 2 here

Rocket League, Psyonix

rocket-league-popular-esports
Image Credits: Psyonix

Esports hours watched: 19,402,135

Rocket League is a sports game by Psyonix. The objective is for players to play in teams of three as cars and throw balls into the opposing teams’ goal.

Due to its fast pace and ease of play, it has amassed large popularity from casual and professional players alike. During its grand tournament, the Rocket League Championship Series Season 9 in 2020, it amassed 261k peak viewers and a prize pool of 414k dollars.

Discover Abios Coverage for Rocket League here

Valorant, Riot Games 

Esports hours watched: 12,030,558

Valorant is a Tactical Shooter developed by Riot Games. Similarly to CS:GO, it’s based on 5v5-teams competing on arenas to win objectives and killing of the opposing team. The key difference is that the playable characters in CS:GO are roughly the same for everyone, while they are hero-based in Valorant. This means that players can use abilities and traits unique to the different characters to gain tactical advantages.

Riot Games released the game in May 2020 and has already rolled out world tournaments in 2020. In 2021, one of the biggest tournaments, VCT Masters Stage 2, will feature a prize pool of 600k dollars.

Discover Abios Coverage for Valorant here

Rainbow Six Siege, Ubisoft

Esports hours watched: 9,097,940

Tom Clancey’s Rainbow Six Siege is a game developed by Ubisoft. It’s a 5v5 Tactical Shooter with several different objectives including rescuing hostages, defusing bombs and taking site-control. The game heavily emphasises team play and environment destruction.

The Rainbow Six esports scene is booming and had a 3 million dollar prize pool and a peak viewership of 303k people during the 2020 Invitational.

Discover Abios Coverage for Rainbow Six here

PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUND, PUBG Corporation

pubg-popular-esports
Image Credits: PUBG Corporation

Esports hours watched: 8,800,458

PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUND, or PUBG, is developed by the PUBG Corporation and is available for both smartphones and computers. The game has popularised the Battle Royale-genre and has paved the way for other successful titles like Fortnite. It builds on the premise to survive as long as possible on an island while killing off other players. The player survives by scavenging for weapons, killing other players and avoiding the walls of the declining playable area.

The biggest PUBG-Tournament, the PUBG Global Invitational.S, got cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. However, it made a great comeback in 2021 with a prize pool of 7 million dollars and peak viewership of 221k.

Fun Fact: The game comes from several mods created by game- and concept designer Brendan Greene, who went by the nickname “Player Unknown”. Hence, “PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUND”.

The Discover Abios Coverage for PUBG here


Do you want to get esports data from the most popular esports games?

Posted by
Kristina Skogvard

Content Marketing Manager

Abios NewsletterGet the latest from Abios

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with anything and everything Abios.