The new decade is well underway; and one of the biggest surprises of the past decade was the unstoppable rise of esports.
Many people predicted a huge rise in esports popularity, but no one predicted that it would become as big as it is in 2020. Players are competing for multi-million dollar prize pools, spectators are logging crazy hours of viewership, and the sponsorships continue to grow.
If the current trajectory continues, esports will continue to sweep across the world and infiltrate popular culture in ways that we’ve never seen before. I wouldn’t be surprised if a 24/7 esports channel launches on basic cable within the next few years.
And who knows, maybe esports will become as popular as Monday Night Football by the end of this decade!
But despite all of the changes that have come to esports in the past 10 years, one thing has remained pretty much the same: the games.The most popular esports games have been out for five to 10 years! DOTA 2 came out in 2013, CS:GO came out in 2012, and League of Legends came out in 2009!
The only relative new-comer is Fortnite, but even that game came out in 2017. We have no problem with these games, and we are thankful for regular updates to the games we know and love.
But it begs the question: What’s on the horizon for esports? What new games do we expect to burst onto the scenes in 2020?
In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the new esports games in 2020. We’ll discuss brand new games, sequels, and more.
So grab your headsets, check your internet connection, and dim the lights, because we’re diving into the future of esports.
The Best NEW Esports Games of 2020
The first thing we should note is this is all pure speculation at this point. If history is any indicator, it won’t be clear if a game will become an esports success until well-after its initial release (with maybe the exceptions of Fortnite and Overwatch - both of those games were successful in the esports community right off the bat).
It takes time for games to gain popularity in esports because competitors and fans need time to see if the game is: competitive, balanced, fun to play and fun to watch. If a game doesn’t meet all of those four needs, it’s destined to be forgotten in a matter of months.
Anyway, here are the games that I expect to make a splash in 2020. Spoiler alert: two of them are mobile!
League of Legends: Wild Rift
League of Legends on PC is one of the reigning kings of the esports empire, so it only makes sense that their newest expansion into the mobile arena will be (at the very least) a success.
Just like the original League of Legends, Wild Rift is a MOBA developed by Riot Games. The key difference, of course, is that Wild Rift will be mobile-focused.
While it’s not entirely clear how mobile games will fit into the esports atmosphere, it is the logical progression as mobile phone processing speeds and 5G technology becomes more ubiquitous.
Ok, so this game might not come out in 2020, but it’s destined to be an esports classic. The original Overwatch came out in 2016 and was an immediate hit in the community because it was focused on balanced and competitive gameplay.
Now that the Overwatch creators have a few more years of experience under their belt, there is no reason to believe that Overwatch 2 won’t follow in its predecessor’s footsteps.
Teamfight Tactics is yet another release from Riot Games. It came out on PC last year, but it is set to be released on mobile in March of 2020. Teamfight Tactics is an auto battler, which is a relatively new genre of games.
I haven’t had a chance to play Teamfight Tactics yet, but it appears to be a great entry-level option for new gamers. In fact, it could very well act as a springboard into more advanced MOBA games like DOTA 2 and League of Legends.
The Best Recurring Esports Games of 2020
There are a few game studios that churn out new games on an annual schedule, primarily in the sports genre. Here are the most popular recurring esports games that will feature new releases in 2020.
Call of Duty (Possibly Black Ops 5)
There’s not a lot out about the next Call of Duty game, but the 2020 release is highly anticipated due to the lackluster response of the 2018 release, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
If the rumor mills are right (and right now there are no signs indicating otherwise), the 2020 Call of Duty game will be Black Ops 5, produced by Treyarch Studios.
It’s no surprise that there is a ton of hype surrounding the new FIFA games every year, since soccer is the most popular sport in the world.
Even though sports games don’t get as much fanfare as MOBA or FPS games in the esports community, there is still a huge following for these types of games.
The NBA 2k franchise is the next most popular sports series. While the NBA is obviously the most popular in the United States, the league has a huge following in Europe and Asia - two of the continents with the largest esports communities.
As we mentioned earlier, the majority of the largest esports games of 2020 will more than likely be old titles - and we don’t see that changing anytime soon. In modern gaming, game developers are more likely to release updates to an old game than they are to release a brand new game from scratch.
It makes sense. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Right?
Here are the games that we expect to continue their esports dominance this year:
- DOTA 2
- League of Legends
- Counter Strike
- Rocket League