What is the biggest esport: Ancients 2 (Dota 2) or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO)?

There are two metrics which can be used to determine which game provides the biggest esports scene. The first is the amount of total prize money that is allocated to events. Defence of the Ancients 2 (Dota 2) is the top dog in this category, primarily due to the crowd-funding that developer Valve holds for their biggest tournament of the year, The International. Players can increase the prize pool of The International by buying in-game items. In 2018, the total combined prize money for all Dota 2 tournaments that took place during the year was over 41 million dollars. This was followed by Valve’s first-person shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) which clocked in at over 22 million dollars. The newcomer on the scene Fortnite gained immediate investment as it’s tournaments handed out over 20 million dollars, coming in ahead of esports giant League of Legends which had total combined prize money of over 14 million dollars.

The other primary metric is viewership. What is an esport without fans? These statistics only include viewers using the YouTube and Twitch platforms but it paints an accurate picture for the rest of the world. Dedicated Chinese streaming platforms often have unreliable numbers but it’s clear that a massive number of Chinese fans are also now tuning into esports events. The leader in this metric is League of Legends whose viewers watched a combined total of 240 million hours of esports events. CS:GO was next with 212 million hours, then Dota 2 with 180 million hours and finally Overwatch with 96 million hours.

So combining these two metrics we get a clear top three esports of League of Legends, Dota 2 and CS:GO. The youngest of these games is Dota 2 which is six years old, CS:GO is seven years old and League of Legends is over ten years old. These games have had a lot of time to build up dedicated fanbases for their esports which makes what Overwatch and Fornite accomplished in just a year or so even more impressive. These two games can be expected to compete with “the big three” in the coming years.


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