Dominik Petermeier

These are the biggest eSports Games in 2022

The Most Popular eSports Games 2022

Video games are becoming more popular every year and more and more gamers are finding their way into the virtual worlds of the numerous games. The video game industry now generates more revenue than the film and music industries. But for many, gaming is no longer just a hobby. More and more professional gamers are finding their way into professional eSports and compete against each other in competitions for sometimes high prize money. However, just as great as the popularity of the sport is the selection of different genres and games. Which are the most popular eSports games and where can the highest prize money be earned? This is the ranking of the top 5 according to the number of professionally active players.

MOBAs are among the most popular eSports games.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

  • Genre: First-person shooter
  • 13,029 Professional players
  • Prize money awarded: $102,373,165.54 in 5,245 tournaments
  • Studio: Valve Corporation
  • First release: 21.08.2012
  • Age rating: USK 16

In the classic game mode of the strategic first-person shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), two teams of 5 players each compete as terrorists and anti-terrorists. In contrast to most other shooters, a player who has fallen in battle cannot immediately re-enter the game. A player who gets killed can only support his team again in the next round of a match. In two different possible game scenarios the teams get different missions:

  • Bomb Defusal: The team of terrorists tries to place a bomb at one of the predetermined zones and guard it long enough until the timer ignites. The goal of the antiterrorists is to eliminate the team of terrorists before they can place their bomb or to prevent the explosion by defusing the bomb.
  • Hostage Rescue: On the side of the terrorists are two immobile hostages. The antiterrorist team must free at least one of the hostages and carry it to the hostage rescue zone. Players carrying a hostage cannot fire and move slowly. If an antiterrorist is eliminated during a rescue operation, the terrorists can carry the hostage back to their initial position. A victory is also possible if the respective opponent team is completely eliminated.

A special feature of CS:GO is the steep learning curve compared to other first person shooters. The large number of tactical game positions of the different maps, grenades and weapons, which all have a different recoil when firing, makes the shooter extremely demanding and challenges even experienced players.
With a total of 13,029 professional players, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is currently the most popular eSports game.

Counterstrike is currently the most popular eSports game.

League of Legends

  • Genre: Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA)
  • 7,130 professional players
  • First release: 27.10.2009
  • Prize money awarded: $79,003,448.94 in 2,477 tournaments
  • Studio: Riot Games
  • Age rating: USK 12

In League of Legends, the most famous real-time strategy game, two teams compete against each other on a classic MOBA map. Each team is made up of five out of over 150 different selectable characters (champions), each of whom takes on one of the five available roles: Toplane, Midlane (Carry), ADC (Attack Damage Carry), Support and Jungler. Each available champion has four different abilities and requires different tactics. The players of each role compete against the same roles of the opponent team in their playing positions.
The goal is to gain the upper hand over the opposing team by destroying objectives as a team and thus penetrate their Base and finally destroy their Nexus.
The 7,130 professionals who work in League of Legends eSports elevate League of Legends to number 2 in the most popular eSports games.


  • Genre: Battle Royale
  • 4,346 Professional players
  • First release: 25.07.2017
  • Prize money awarded: $97,138,425.00 in 655 tournaments
  • Studio: Epic Games, People Can Fly
  • Age rating: USK 16

The original hype from the release of the Battle Royale Shooter "Fortnite" has still not subsided. The game principle is simple. A total of 100 players compete against each other on a huge map. The last survivor wins.
Unlike other Battle Royale titles, however, Fortnite has a special focus on obtaining various resources and building structures. These can create a tactical advantage in the fight against other players or provide cover.
The total of 4,367 professional players make the young Battle Royale Game the third most popular eSports game at the moment.

Dota 2

  • Genre: Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA)
  • 3,837 Professional players
  • First release: 09.07.2013
  • Prize money awarded: $227,319,907.51 in 1,432 tournaments
  • Studio: Valve Corporation
  • Age rating: 12 years
Although Dota 2 has less professional players than League of Legends, it still awards significantly higher prize money in competitions.

Similar to League of Legends, Dota 2 plays five-on-five on a MOBA map and follows the same game principle. Dota 2 features appealing graphics and a more tactical and less game-mechanical focused gameplay.
The choice of over 110 different heroes and five different playable roles makes the game as varied as its counterpart.
Despite a comparatively small number of tournaments, Dota 2 scores with the highest prize money by far, which is mainly paid out at the annual The International Championships.
With 3,837 professionals, the MOBA ranks 4th in the ranking.


  • Genre: First-person shooter
  • 3,494 Professional players
  • First release: 24.05.2016
  • Prize money awarded: $26,049,333.28 in 743 tournaments
  • Studio: Blizzard Entertainment
  • Age rating: USK 16

With Overwatch, World of Warcraft developer Blizzard Entertainment has created a successful link between first-person shooters and MOBA. Basically, the game plays like a shooter in the first-person perspective. But as in MOBAs, you can choose from many different characters for different roles, each with different weapons and four different skills. So it is possible to outplay the opponents and bring them to their knees by clever use of those abilities.
With 3494 professional players Overwatch makes it to the fifth place of the most popular eSports Games.

Other popular eSports Games

Next to the five games mentioned above there are several others that need to be part of the list of biggest and most popular eSports games: 

  • Hearthstone with approximately 100 million registered players
  • Rocket League with over 50 million registered players
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege with more than 40 milliom players
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PubG) with more than 400 million total players
  • FIFA with approximately 50 million players.  


*All numbers from statistics of 2020 and 2019 will be updated shortly

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Dominik Petermeier