The term ‘esports’ implies generality. To someone unfamiliar with the scene they might understandably have the impression that esports competitions measure overall ability in a variety of games, much like a ‘digital decathlon’. In reality, the opposite is true—no matter what the ‘esports’ nomenclature implies it is a sport steeped in specialization. The best players specialize in one individual game and the fanbase primarily follows just one platform. Bettors tend toward being ‘generalists’ in most sports but even the most extensive esports odds menu will cover only a dozen or so titles.
Logic suggests that this specialization of players and fans has a fairly obvious linage. Fans, it could be assumed, enjoy playing a certain game and thus like to watch high level professional competition in the same game. Based on statistical analysis, it doesn’t work that way. A significant percentage of esports fans (42%) don’t play the games they enjoy watching at all. This means that esports has earned a niche as a spectator sport unto itself and not based on players becoming spectators. Another logical but incorrect assumption is that a hardcore esports fan will follow the entire scene. That’s also not the case as 70% of esports fans only watch competition in one title such as League of Legends, or Overwatch.
FANS AND BETTORS FOCUS ON A FEW GAMES
It’s not within the purview of this article to provide an in-depth explanation of the games that are the most popular for esports bettors and spectators. What we are going to do is to give you a list of the top four along with a quick capsule explanation of their premise. It’s not necessary to become in expert in a game to bet on it successful but it helps to know some basics about what is going on:
DOTA 2: Dota 2 is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game in which two teams of five players compete to destroy a large base held by the opposing team. The game is contested on a single map and players are forced to play ‘offense’ and ‘defense’. Dota 2 is (in)famous for being a difficult game with a steep learning curve but one that becomes extremely addictive once competency is reached.
LEAGUE OF LEGENDS: League of Legends (usually abbreviated LOL) has a number of similarities to Dota 2. It’s also a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game that requires teams of players to simultaneously attack and defend a base. LOL has several game modes and a more complex in game economy than does Dota 2.
OVERWATCH: Overwatch is a team based multiplayer first person shooter game that features squad based combat. Players assume the form of one of several hero characters, each their their own unique skill sets and role classes similar to a fantasy role playing game. Like the previous two games, the focus on the game is on head to head combat against another team though the scoring process is more complex and based on a point and reward based system.
COUNTER-STRIKE: GLOBAL OFFENSIVE: Usually abbreviated as CS:GO this game is another team combat competition in which players assume the role of either ‘Terrorists’ or ‘Counter-Terrorists’. The object of the game is to eliminate the other team and in the process include certain game objective. At the end of each round players are rewarded with in game currency based on their performance.