Picking the right game to go pro in esports

Breaking down the eight primary types of Esports

An esport is any game in which players compete against each other in a virtual tournament. As long as there is a way to measure performance, almost any game can be used. Esports athletes can compete in events alone or as part of a team. Team and player prize rewards for players can vary widely.

The following are the primary eight types of esports games used in tournaments with prize pools.

Fighting Games

Fighting games are one of the most popular types of esports. Some of the first big games to get national attention were Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter II. In fighting games, two players fight against each other by kicking, punching, and using special moves.

Some of today’s most popular fighting games include Mortal Kombat X, Super Smash Bros. Melee, and Street Fighter V.

Some of the top fighting games with rewarding prize pools include:

Fighting games can be compared to conventional sports in some ways, such as:

  • They require physical skills such as reflexes, coordination and timing.
  • They involve strategy, tactics and adaptation to different opponents.
  • They have rules, regulations and formats that govern the gameplay.
  • They have fans, sponsors and media coverage that support the scene.

However, they also differ from conventional sports in some ways, such as:

  • They are digital rather than physical activities.
  • They have more diversity in terms of genres, styles and mechanics.
  • They have more accessibility in terms of platforms, devices and locations.
  • They have more innovation in terms of technology, design and content.

Racing Games

Esports athletes take the wheel in racing games and race against one or more other drivers at the same time. Racing games can be realistic simulations, arcade games with cars that don’t really exist, or a mix of both. Racing games like Mario Kart, Need for Speed, and iRacing are all very popular.

Racing games are a popular genre of esports that involve competing against other players in various types of vehicles on different tracks or courses. Some of the best esports racing games are:

Sports Games

Professional sports like football, basketball, baseball, tennis, golf, skateboarding, boxing, and soccer are used as models for sports games. In either a realistic or an arcade version of the game, players compete against each other in their favorite sports. The Madden football series is still one of the most popular esports games. Madden Bowl 22 gave away $1 million in prizes. However, games like Sim Football are more challenging because the player sets the meta for their teams instead of having it set based on the stats of pro athletes.

When you choose to invest time developing your skills in sports games, you should look closely at the opportunity cost involved as sports game titles have much smaller esports career opportunities compared to other game styles.

Some of the bestselling sports video games in 2023 are Nintendo Switch Sports, Cricket 22 — The Official Game of The Ashes (PS5), Madden NFL 22 and Tony Hawk Pro Skater. However, top esports games titles with professional leagues supporting player career paths include  NBA 2K and Rocket League. If you want to go pro in sports games, do your homework 😉.

Digital Card Games

Digital card games are a type of video games that emulate collectible card games (CCG) or trading card games (TCG). They are a turn-based game format in which players attack, cast spells, and perform other actions using cards. They usually involve building a deck of cards with different abilities and effects, and playing them against an opponent or a computer.

Hearthstone, which was originally released in 2014, remains one of the most popular digital card games in esports today with Legends of Runeterra, Magic: The Gathering Arena and Slay The Spire also gaining in popularity.

Some possible analogies between digital card games and conventional sports games are:


Real-Time Strategy

Real-time strategy (RTS) games feature players progressing simultaneously in-game (as opposed to turn-based strategy in which the action stops after each player’s move). The idea behind RTS games is fairly simple. The game takes place on a world map where two or more players are pitched against each other. To advance in-game, players must micromanage resources, military and non-military units, building construction, new technology investigation, and diplomacy. Typically all RTS games include four main elements: buildings, technology, resources, and units.

Some popular RTS games are Starcraft II, Warhammer III, Age of Empires, Company of Heroes, and Total War.

Some possible analogies between RTS games and conventional sports games are:

  • Chess: Both games involve moving different types of units with different abilities on a board or map. Both games also require planning, tactics and foresight to outsmart the opponent3.
  • Football (soccer): Both games involve controlling multiple players or units with different roles and skills. Both games also require teamwork, coordination and strategy to score goals or objectives4.
  • Poker: Both games involve managing resources and bluffing. Both games also require risk assessment, decision making and adaptation to changing situations5.

First-Person Shooter

First-person shooter (FPS) games are defined by a first-person point-of-view camera of the character being controlled. The character usually wields a firearm or other weapon of some type. FPS games can pit the player against other human players (player-versus-player [PVP] style) or against the game’s artificial intelligence (AI).

First-Person Shooter (FPS) games are a type of shooter video game that lets you fight with guns and other weapons from your own point of view. The player controls the main character and sees what’s going on through their eyes in a three-dimensional space.

Some examples of FPS games are Call of Duty, Modern Warfare, Half-Life, Doom and Halo and Team Fortress.

Some possible analogies between FPS games and conventional sports games are:

  • Skeet shooting: Both games involve shooting at moving targets with accuracy and speed. Both games also have different types of firearms and ammunition that affect the performance and style of shooting.
  • Biathlon: Both games involve skiing and shooting as two main components. Both games also require stamina, coordination and concentration. Both games also have different modes and courses that challenge the player’s skills and adaptability.
  • Laser tag: Both games involve shooting at opponents with infrared beams or lasers. Both games also have different teams, modes and scenarios that require teamwork, strategy and tactics.

Third-Person Shooter

Third-person shooter (TPS) games use a camera angle that allows players to see their entire character, as opposed to just their weapon. The player character is visible on-screen, and the camera is usually positioned behind or over their shoulder.

Some top ranked TPS games are Fortnite Battle Royale, Grand Theft Auto IV, Resident Evil 4, Star Wars: Battlefront 2 and Dead Space.

Some possible analogies between TPS games and conventional sports games are:


Multiplayer Online Battle Arena

Popular examples of MOBA games are: League of Legends, Dota 2, and Battlerite.

Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games are a type of strategy video game in which two teams of players compete against each other on a set battlefield. Each player is in charge of a single character with a unique set of skills that get better as the game goes on and help the team’s overall strategy. Usually, the end goal is for each team to destroy the base or core of the other team.

Some possible analogies between MOBA games and conventional sports games are:

  • Rugby: Both games involve two teams trying to advance towards the enemy’s territory and score points by reaching their goal or base. Both games also have different positions for players with different roles and skills.
  • Hockey: Both games involve two teams trying to score goals by hitting an object into a net or a core. Both games also have different lanes or zones where players can move and attack. Both games also have fast-paced action and physical contact.
  • Baseball: Both games involve two teams taking turns to attack and defend. Both games also have different roles for players with different abilities and specialties. Both games also require teamwork, coordination and strategy.

Risk and Rewards – picking the right game for you

The most financially rewarding esports games to play are those that have large prize pools, frequent tournaments and many players. According to esportsearnings.com, some of the highest-paid esports games in the world are:

Of course, playing these games professionally requires a lot of skill, dedication and luck. Not every player can make a living from esports, and only a few can become rich and famous.

Check out the Top tournaments and prize pools

The Top 10 Prize Pools for Esports in 2022! Over the past 25 years, players in esports have won some of the most amazing prizes. Since the first official video game competition in 1972, where the winner got a year’s subscription to Rolling Stone for being the best Spacewar player, the industry has changed a lot.


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