5 Popular eSports Game Genres

eSports, aka competitive gaming, is much larger than most people realize. One reason is that it occurs in professional tournaments, collegiate leagues, and big areas. Another reason is the amount of dedication and hard work it takes to qualify for these tournaments, not to mention the huge cash prizes involved. In fact, it is because eSports is comprised of some of the most popular video game genres, some of which have games that are already enjoyed by casual gamers.

Depending on the type of game they play, professional esports players must utilize different strategies in order to win. In fighting games, the right timing, character movement, and button combination can mean the difference between victory or defeat. Likewise, tabletop card games might require a balanced deck and smart use of individual cards or characters in order to win. For those who are new to eSports, here are the different types of game genres you can play.

Fighting Games

This is one of the first genres people associate with competitive gaming, mainly due to its historical relevance in pop culture. In the ’90s, the Evo Championship was founded by Tom Cannon through a shared passion for fighting arcade games. Since its founding, people from all over the world come to participate in the tournament, which is held annually at various venues in the Las Vegas Valley.

One of the most popular fighting game series is Street Fighter, which was created by Capcom and came to popularity with Street Fighter II. Another notable fighting game series include Namco’s Tekken, which features hand to hand combat similar to Street Fighter. Yet perhaps the most interesting contemporary fighting game series in Esports is Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros., which features hundreds of characters from Nintendo game franchises duking it out in different battle stages.

First Person Shooter

If fighting games are the first genre people think of when they hear the word “e-Sports,” then the first-person shooter is not far behind. As the name implies, first-person shooter games involve a shootout from the first person point of view. First person shooters can be played solo, but some gameplay also occurs in teams as well.

When played on a console, the game series that are usually performed in eSports are Halo and Call of Duty. While Call of Duty usually features various military branches and a variety of settings, Halo primarily features a sci-fi setting. First person shooters like Doom can also be played on PC, but first-person shooters are known mainly as a console game. Currently, one of the most popular first-person shooting games is Overwatch, which established an official Esports League in 2015.

Multiplayer Online Battle Arena

A spinoff of real-time strategy games (i.e., games played with several players over the internet), MOBA games have risen in recent years to become their own genre. MOBA games feature five players on a team, with each player controlling a different character. Teams often battle each other or try to accomplish some objectives before the other side does. These games are almost always played on a personal computer and almost always over the internet (there exceptions being LAN networks for the competitive scene).

One of the most popular MOBA games is the fantasy fiction game League of Legends, which is published by Riot Games. In the United States, the LOL North American Championship Series is held annually, with top players qualifying for the League of Legends World Championship. Another MOBA game is Dota 2, which is published by Valve and originally began as a World of Warcraft spinoff. Each year, Valve hosts The Dota Pro Circuit, whose top players are allowed to play in the tournament known as The International.

Tabletop Card Games

In its purest form, tabletop card games are any card game played on a flat surface (i.e., a table or the floor). However, some of the most popular card games are played on console or PC. These games usually involve tactics that include fantasy or sci-fi characters, cards with different abilities, and deck building.

In the United States, Wizard of The Coast’s Magic The Gathering is one of the most popular card games ever. Set in a fantastical multi-verse, new cards are added every year. Last year, MTG officially entered the Esports world with the creation of The Magic The Gathering Pro League. Other popular TCG are Konami’s Japanese card game Yu-Gi-Oh! and Blizzard Entertainment’s Hearthstone. Yu-Gi-Oh!’s annual Esports tournament is the Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship, while Hearthstone has the Hearthstone Grandmasters.

Sports Games

Much like their real-life counterparts, sports such as basketball and football have quite a bit of competition in video game form. For basketball, there is the NBA 2K game series, which was made to emulate the basketball games of the National Basketball Association. The games can be played online and on a console. Last year, the Esports NBA 2k pro game league was launched.

Meanwhile, football has the FIFA game series published by EA Sports. These games are played on consoles and PCs, but in Esports they are played on the Xbox and PlayStation. The biggest FIFA tournament is the FIFA Interactive World Cup, which is hosted every year by EA Sports and FIFA.


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