The Most Popular Esports Genres: A Detailed Analysis Of Gameplay And Competitiveness

The esports industry has experienced an unprecedented surge in popularity over the past decade. It has evolved from a niche market into a global phenomenon, with a staggering $1.8 billion valuation and a projected growth rate that shows no signs of slowing down. The driving force behind this meteoric rise is the diverse array of games that make up the industry. This article aims to delve into the most popular esports genres, providing an in-depth analysis of each genre’s characteristics, gameplay mechanics, and competitive scene.

Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas (MOBAs)

MOBAs, or Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas, are the pinnacle of the esports industry. Originating from Real-Time Strategy (RTS) games like Warcraft III and StarCraft, MOBAs have carved out their own unique niche. They feature intense 5v5 Player versus Player (PvP) combat, where each player controls a unique hero character with distinct abilities. The gameplay revolves around balanced arena maps, which play a critical role in determining the outcome of matches.

Popular MOBA games like Dota 2 and League of Legends have amassed millions of active players worldwide. These games are known for their intricate gameplay mechanics, extensive hero rosters, and strategic depth. The competitive scene for MOBAs is also thriving, with major tournaments such as The International for Dota 2 and the League of Legends World Championship attracting millions of viewers and offering multi-million dollar prize pools.

In recent years, the MOBA genre has seen numerous updates and innovations, keeping the gameplay fresh and exciting for players and spectators alike. The genre continues to evolve, solidifying its position as one of the most popular esports genres.

Battle Royales

The Battle Royale genre has taken the world by storm, with its unique blend of survival, exploration, and combat. The premise is simple yet thrilling: a large number of players are dropped onto a vast map, and the last player or team standing wins. This genre has captivated audiences with its high-stakes gameplay and unpredictable outcomes.

Games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) and Fortnite have become household names, drawing in millions of players and viewers. Other games, such as Call of Duty: Warzone and Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier, have also adopted the Battle Royale format, further propelling the genre’s popularity.

The competitive scene for Battle Royales is as intense as the games themselves. Major tournaments offer substantial prize pools, attracting top-tier players and teams from around the globe. The genre has also seen a slew of updates and new releases, keeping the gameplay fresh and the competitive scene vibrant.

Hero Shooters

Hero Shooters are a unique fusion of MOBA and First-Person Shooter (FPS) elements. These games feature a roster of unique heroes, each with their own abilities and playstyles. The gameplay involves team-based combat, where coordination and strategy are just as important as individual skill.

Overwatch and Apex Legends are prime examples of popular Hero Shooter games. They have garnered a dedicated player base with their dynamic gameplay and diverse hero rosters. The competitive scene for Hero Shooters is also thriving, with major tournaments like the Overwatch League and the Apex Legends Global Series.

In 2023, VALORANT, developed by Riot Games, has emerged as the most popular Hero Shooter. With its blend of tactical shooter mechanics and unique hero abilities, it has captivated the esports community.

Rise of Mobile Titles and Console Esports

The esports landscape is not limited to PC games. Mobile titles and console games have seen a surge in popularity, bridging the gap between casual gamers and esports enthusiasts. Mobile games like Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and Arena of Valor have become some of the most popular esports genres, boasting millions of active players and lucrative tournaments.

Console esports has also seen significant growth, with games like Call of Duty and Fortnite leading the charge. The rise of cross-platform play has further blurred the lines between PC and console gaming, fostering a more inclusive esports community.

Other Popular Esports Genres

The esports industry is home to a diverse array of genres. Fighting games like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat have been a staple of esports tournaments since the late 90s. First-person shooters like Call of Duty and Halo have defined the competitive gaming landscape for years. Racing games, real-time strategy games, sports games, third-person shooters, and card games all have their own dedicated esports scenes.

Each of these genres brings something unique to the table, from the high-octane action of first-person shooters to the strategic depth of card games. They cater to a wide range of player preferences and playstyles, contributing to the rich diversity of the esports industry.


The esports industry is a vibrant tapestry of different genres, each offering a unique gaming experience. From the strategic complexity of MOBAs to the high-stakes survival gameplay of Battle Royales, the most popular esports genres cater to a wide range of player preferences and playstyles. This diversity is a testament to the versatility and appeal of esports, and it is a key factor in the industry’s rapid growth.

As the esports industry continues to evolve, new genres may rise to prominence, and existing ones may undergo significant changes. Regardless of these shifts, one thing is certain: the world of esports offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a casual gamer looking to dip your toes into competitive gaming, or a seasoned veteran seeking new challenges, there’s no better time to dive into the diverse world of esports.

Frequently Asked Questions

Esports has become a $1.8 billion industry with a CAGR of 21.9% forecasted up to 2030. It is the fastest growing sport for betting worldwide. The most popular esports genres played today are:

What are MOBAs?

MOBAs, or Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas, are the preeminent genre in esports. They originated from RTS titles like Warcraft III and StarCraft and feature 5v5 PVP combat, unique hero characters, and balanced arena maps.

Which games fall under the Battle Royale genre?

Battle Royale games gained popularity with titles like PUBG and Fortnite. They involve dropping a high number of players on a large map, where they compete to be the last player or team standing. Other games like Call of Duty: Warzone and Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier have adopted this format.

What are Hero Shooters?

Hero shooters combine elements of MOBAs and tactical FPS games. Games like Team Fortress II, Apex Legends, and Overwatch have won over esports gamers with their unique gameplay. In 2023, VALORANT, developed by Riot Games, is considered the most popular hero shooter.

What are some popular fighting games in esports?

Popular fighting games in esports include Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Marvel vs. Capcom, Tekken, Killer Instinct, and Super Smash Bros. These games have been featured in tournaments since 1999, with the Evolution Championship Series being one of the major competitions.

Which genres are included in esports?

The most popular esports genres include MOBAs, shooters, and fighting games. MOBAs are strategy games where two teams compete against each other to destroy their opponents’ main structure, with examples like League of Legends and Dota 2. Shooters are action games where players use weapons to defeat enemies, with examples like Halo, Call of Duty, Counter-Strike Global Offensive (CS: GO), Overwatch, and Fortnite. Fighting games are focused on 1v1 combat and are typically viewed from the side, with examples like Street Fighter, Tekken, and the Super Smash Brothers series.