League of Legends: Developed by Riot Games, League is usually considered the most popular esports game (last year its official esports channel hosted the second-most traffic on Twitch). In the real-time strategy game, two teams, each composed of five heroes, attempt to capture each other’s base—all while earning gold to purchase better weapons and equipment. You can almost compare the game to basketball, in the sense that a team can field a squad that’s designed to maximize a particular strategy. The best teams are the ones that are the most mechanically talented, and also who best understand the strengths and weaknesses of their roster. Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok is widely considered to be the best League player on the planet. You may remember him from an ESPN The Magazine cover story from a few years back.

Overwatch: Published by Blizzard, Overwatch is similar to League of Legends, except it’s played as a first-person shooter. “Overwatch League,” the professional structure for the game, is unique in that Blizzard has assigned cities to the brand of each team and is selling them as “franchises” to a variety of ownership groups. Examples include the London Spitfire or the New York Excelsior. It’s a relic of American sports tradition that you don’t really find in other esports.

Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive: Counter-Strike is a first-person shooter that’s been played as an esport since the early 2000s, and Dota 2 falls under the same genre as League of Legends. Valve, the publisher of both games, is unique because it has a fairly hands-off approach when it comes to funding its esports events. “The International,” which is the name for the yearly Dota world championship, amasses its prize pool through an in-game item Dota players can buy called a “Compendium.” If you buy the Compendium, which is full of miscellaneous digital goodies for your characters, a portion of the fee will kickback into The International’s budget. It’s a crowdfunding strategy that’s given The International the most ludicrous bounties in gaming. Last year, for instance, Valve distributed $25 million to its winning teams—far and away the most lucrative prize in esports.

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