- May 02, 2023
E-sports betting is very similar to traditional sports betting. But the games are different. Traditional sports gambling means that the sports are taking place physically. Examples of traditional sports gambling games are football, basketball, baseball, and horse racing. On the other hand, e-sports betting games take place using digital devices like mobile phones, consoles, and desktops. Gambling games are online games that players have to download on their devices to be able to participate. E-sports is a rapidly growing iGaming industry that has taken the world by storm. With millions of people tuning in to watch sports tournaments, it is clear that the popularity of this industry is only going to continue to grow.
Popular E-sports Games
As mentioned earlier, gambling games in e-sports are quite different from traditional ones. Although, there are some traditional games that can also be played online, like football in FIFA World Cup, which is one of the most popular e-sports gambling games. But besides football, there are other popular e-sports games that people worldwide are competing against.
Defense of the Ancient (DOTA) 2 is one of the most popular and successful e-sports games in the world. It is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game developed by Valve Corporation, and it has been played competitively since its release in 2013. It holds the title as the largest prize pool in the history of e-sports in 2021. DOTA 2 The International (TI) prize pool during that time was around US$40 million.
DOTA 2 ranks 2nd in the top PC games based on current players this 2023 according to Steam Charts (Figure 1 & Figure 1.1). Moreover, it ranks 7th in the most watched games in 2023 (Figure 1.2). Unfortunately, despite the popularity of the game, it hasn’t been doing well in the past years as the current number of players keep on going down. The peak of DOTA 2 was last year, November 2022, when the current number of players was more than 500 thousand (Figure 1.3).
Figure 1. Steam Charts: Top Games by Current Players
Figure 1.1 Steam Weekly Chart: Most Played Games
Figure 1.2 Popular e-sports Games based on views
Figure 1.3 DOTA 2 2022 Data
League of Legends (LOL)
When talking about League of Legends (LOL), South Korea is the leading one. In fact, it is said that the country is the one that started the e-sports phenomenon. The most popular LOL e-sports player is a South Korean that goes by the name "Faker." He won an outstanding amount of U$1.2 million playing and competing LOL.
League of Legends (LOL) currently surpasses DOTA 2 when it comes to monthly players. Unlike DOTA 2, LOL average monthly players are increasing. Now, there are more than 150 millions of current LOL players in the world (Figure 2). Additionally, LOL can now be played on mobiles, which made the game even more accessible. That said, LOL also has millions of viewers online, making it rank 2nd as the most watched e-sports game (Figure 2.1).
Figure 2. 2023 LOL Average Monthly Players
Figure 2.1. Popular e-sports Games based on views
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO)
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO) is a first-person shooter game developed by Valve Corporation and Hidden Path Entertainment. It is another most popular and successful Steam game in the world. Currently ranking 1st in the top selling games and most played games (Figure 3 & Figure 3.1), it is said to be that around 326.09 million people have downloaded the game. That said, it is without a doubt that this year CSGO is still the most popular e-sports game to exist.
Figure 3. Steam Weekly Charts: Top Selling Games & Most Played Games
Figure 3.1. Steam Charts: Top Games by Current Players
Valorant is relatively new in the industry but is already becoming popular. The game was made by the same company that produced League of Legends, Riot Games. There are about 80 millions of downloads of Valorant in the world (Figure 4). Moreover, there are more than 18 million active players just this month of April 2023 (Figure 4.1)
Figure 4. Most Popular Game in the World by number of Downloads
Figure 4.1. Tracker Network: Valorant Tracked Players
PUBG (PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds) is a popular online multiplayer battle royale game developed and published by PUBG Corporation. It has gained immense popularity since its release in 2017 and has a growing e-sports scene. The industry has become a significant part of PUBG's success and popularity, with many fans tuning in to watch live streams and broadcasts of professional matches. The game's developers are also constantly making improvements to the game to ensure that it remains competitive and exciting for players and fans alike.
Currently, PUBG Mobile has more than 500 million downloads in Google Play Store (Figure 5). Moreover, PUBG Mobile ranks 4th in the most watched e-sports in 2023 (Figure 5.1)
Figure 5. Google Play Store: PUBG Mobile
Figure 5.1. E-sports Charts: Popular e-sports Games by views
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang is a popular multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game developed and published by Moonton. It is one of the most popular mobile games in Southeast Asia and has a growing e-sports scene. Just like PUBG Mobile, MLBB also has more than 500 million downloads (Figure 6). In addition, more than 70 million people in the world are currently playing MLBB (Figure 6.1). It is also the most watched e-sports game this year (Figure 6.2).
Figure 6. Google Play Store: Mobile Legends: Bang Bang
Figure 6.1 Active Player: Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Live Monthly Player
Figure 6.2. E-sports Charts: Popular e-sports games by views
Reason for the Popularity of E-sports in Asia
E-sports is relatively popular in Southeast Asia or Asia, in general. With over 400 million Asian internet users, it has become easily accessible to play, watch, and stream. Additionally, the current Internet penetration has kept on increasing throughout the years. In fact, among all the regions in the world, Asia has the highest Internet penetration. From 2017, Asia’s Internet penetration has increased from 40.2% to 67.4%. Southeast Asians are the reason why Internet penetration is high in Asia. They love to use the Internet to access different platforms like social media, e-commerce sites, and gaming.
Moreover, from the given data above, you may notice that mobile games have more downloads. This is because mobile usage in Asia is at 64% and only 34% are desktop users. This is because e-sports games are now becoming more accessible by being available on mobile devices.
As a result, investing in e-sports competitions or tournaments has attracted many investors. There's no doubt this industry will generate a significant profit. In addition, its audience is expected to grow even bigger in the upcoming years. By the end of 2026, the audience is expected to reach around 34 million. The more audience you have, the higher the players you can get.
With the rise of the said industry, e-sports betting will also get the chance to expand. It became even more popular because of the Covid-19 pandemic where people are finding alternative ways to satisfy their gambling needs. Physical sporting events were negatively affected by the said pandemic. Thus, even bookmakers opt to e-sports betting to keep their business going. As a result, the e-sports betting market in Asia became even more popular and is expected to reach 118,393.74 million by 2023.
Betting on E-sports Games
Besides watching the tournaments of these e-sports games, people are also betting on the teams that they feel will win the tournament. For numerous people, e-sports is more accessible as the tournaments are streamed throughout different platforms like YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, and Discord. Cryptocurrency has even made e-sports become more popular, as bettors can now use cryptocurrencies when gambling. So not only are the tournaments only but the payments too!
That’s why it is no surprise that the e-sports market size grew tremendously. In 2022, its market size value is around US$671.78 million. It is expected that this number will continue to rise each year and will reach US$2,709.03 million by the end of 2028. Therefore, the e-sports industry is a promising industry for those that are interested in entering the iGaming industry. With the help of an e-sports package network company, gambling operators or bookmakers can enter this betting industry in no time.