Gathering around a screen to watch other people play computer games? Up until relatively recently that would’ve seemed like an alien concept. But now more than ever, Esports is hugely popular.
The industry has captured a whole new audience hungry for some sporting action recently. But what are the main games associated with Esports? And how does it all work?
Here we take you through everything you need to know.
What are the main games?
There are three main titles associated with Esports; Counter-Strike, League of Legends and Dota 2.
The trio all attract huge audiences and fall into one of two categories. They’re either first-person shooters or battle arena titles, which means they can be fought by individuals or as teams. Let’s delve into them.
League of Legends
This one falls into the battle arena category. Two teams of five players face-off in an arena called ‘Summoner’s Rift’ where the aim of the game is to destroy the other team’s base – or Nexus – while defending their own.
Each player chooses a character from the 148 available before attempting to level up by destroying minions, enemy towers or fighting over neutral objectives to increase their team’s chance of winning.
A typical League of Legends game can last anywhere from 20 minutes to one hour, with different teams often coming together from across the map to engage in tactical battles in a bid to destroy the opposition nexus.
FunPlus Phoenix, G2 Esports, SKT 1 and Cloud 9 are some of the most successful teams in recent years, while Korean (LCK), China (LPL), Europe (LEC) and North American (LCS) leagues are set to resume this weekend.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Battle arena games are good if you enjoy a tactical fight amongst a shed-load of carnage, but first-person shooters like Counter-Strike produce some seriously edge of your seat gaming.
It involves two teams being split into separate groups – Terrorists and Counter Terrorists (CTs) – before going head-to-head in 30 two-minute rounds across a selection of classic maps.
The aim of the game is this; the terrorists’ must plant a bomb at one of several sites, while the CTs must split their resources to defend those sites. Games can also be won by killing every member of the opposite team.
On our Sportsbook punters can bet on the Match Result, Map 1 and Map 2 winners, Round Handicaps and each Pistol Round Winner, where players are only able to fight with the aid of a pistol.
It’s a game contested in various leagues worldwide, the biggest of which is the ESEA Pro League. It consists of four groups of six teams including Astralis and Natus Vincere, who are one of the best teams around right now.
If there’s one thing Esports players love it’s a battle royale. And much like League of Legends, Dota 2, or Defence of the Ancients 2 to give the game it’s full title, sees two teams of five go head-to-head.
Once again both teams are attempting to destroy each other’s bases, although Dota 2 is arguably more of a tactical affair which can lead itself to even more thrilling contests.
It’s a game which is generally more about major and minor events, too, rather than adhering to a league structure. A tournament called The International offered a cool $34,330,068 in prize money last year.
However, the onset of coronavirus has put pay to two of those major events already in 2020, although regional divisions such as the South American Aorus League and the Sigul Pro League are still up and running.
Are there any that replicate real sports?
In the wake of the aforementioned coronavirus various Esports replacements have been popping up in place of the real thing. Not only are they hugely entertaining, you can get bet on them too. Here’s what’s on:
FIFA Ultimate QuaranTeam
Love Football? Love FIFA? Then you’re going to love Ultimate QuaranTeam. Set up by Leyton Orient, it sees 128 players representing their clubs on FIFA and battling it out to become the Ultimate QuaranTeam champ.
Ok, it’s not quite the Champions League, but unlike Europe’s premier competition it’s not behind a paywall either. You can stream every game live on each individual club’s Twitch account and watch the action unfold.
👀 So here it is in all its glory, the final 128!
Under 15 minutes to go. 😬
Answer below to help pass the time.
Who you want to draw ___________
Who you’ll probably draw __________#UltimateQuaranTeam
— Leyton Orient (@leytonorientfc) March 17, 2020
We’re already halfway through the tournament which means there are still plenty of games yet to come. Plus, any profits we make from bets placed on the tournament will go to charity, so it’s all for a good cause too.
Nantes, Manchester City and Middlesbrough are all near the head of the betting. Unsurprisingly they all have Esports professionals representing them. Who do you think will take home the inaugural crown?
Boxing has been one of the other mainstream sports to delve into the world of eSports with EA’s Fight Night Legends pitting legendary heavyweights against each other in a bid for virtual victory.
Simulated versions of Joe Frazier, Lennox Lewis, Mike Tyson and Eric Esch are all in the mix. They’ll have to go some to defeat eMuhammad Ali, though, who is 1/2 favourite to float like a butterfly and sting like an ‘e’ and take the heavyweight crown.
F1 has also been getting in the mix with last weekend’s Bahrain e-Grand Prix which was won by Guanyu Zhou and contested by famous faces such as Lando Norris, Sir Chris Hoy and Liam Payne. Keep an eye out for more of those in the future.
Betting on Esports
Betting on Esports couldn’t be simpler. To bet on established games such as Dota 2, League of Legends and Counter-Striker, just go to our Sportsbook and tap or click onto the Esports tab..
You’ll then find a list of matches on today, tomorrow and in the future. You can then click on those matches, take a look at the various markets available within each battle and decide how you want to bet.
For Esports based on actual sports, just click into that sport’s tab and see what we have to offer.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication