The Top 10 Most Competitive Games in the Last Decade

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The Top 10 Most Competitive Games in the Last Decade

The gaming world is evolving daily. With new features, competitive game genres, and new technologies getting implemented. With the popularity of the gaming industry increasing in the last 10 years, even more competitive games started appearing in the market. Titles like League of Legends, Overwatch, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Rocket League, and many more. The introduction of esports and competitive games took the gaming industry to a new level. More leagues, games, teams, tournaments, millions of fans – games weren’t games anymore.

The development of competitive multiplayer games represents a significant turning point. What began as a small group playing arcade games has become a worldwide industry. 

Millions of fans tuning in to watch professional gamers compete in high-stakes tournaments. Competitive games support employment across many industries. Moreover, they generate significant revenues yearly, affecting the economy significantly. It’ll be interesting to observe how the gaming business develops and its influence on other industries.

What Should a Good Esports Game Have?

A game that’ll succeed in esports is one with a very high skill ceiling. Everyone must be able to understand the fundamentals. Players must be allowed to develop their abilities to incredible heights for that to happen. Millions of people can play a game that’s too easy to grasp but will never develop into the competitive games genre. Viewers must witness extraordinary feats of individual brilliance that experts can only do. 

At first glance, all competitive esports games are simple – win rounds, and whoever has the most is the winner. But esports isn’t only matches and rounds. An excellent competitive game should be playable in various ways. 

Game developers must find the perfect balance between a too-easy and too-hard game. A game that isn’t well-balanced becomes boring fast, and there are few opportunities for regular and professional esports players. 


The most essential thing that competitive games do is competition they provide among players. A game can have a huge player base, well-balanced gameplay, and perfect mechanics, but if it lacks competition, it cannot be considered a part of esports games. 

Large Player Base

Steam Competitive Games Player Count
Steam Competitive Games Player Count

The best competitive games have large player bases. These people play the game, watch streams, attend tournaments, read interviews, etc. It’s like the fans in real sports competitions. An example of an excellent game that was brilliant in skill cap and competition but lacked the player base was Hawken. 

Fair Gameplay

One of the things the gaming community hates the most is pay-to-win games. This game genre is one of the most controversial and has no place in esports games. Pay-to-win means that a player can buy better gear with real money and then use that to their advantage. 

This type of game is most popular in the RPG and MMORPG genres but has also made its way through other games. This game scheme doesn’t work in competitive games because all players should have access to the same type of weapons, accessories, and gear. Competitive games have none of that. A game cannot be part of the esports games roster with pay-to-win elements. 

Enough Funding

The availability of funds is the final and most crucial factor in esports games. Through esports, professional players may use and showcase their unique abilities in the game. It’s also a fantastic marketing tool for competitive games due to its appeal and popularity. But it’s costly. 

A large budget is necessary due to the expenses in the gaming industry. From hiring casters and recruiting teams to shipping equipment and publicizing a tournament-style event. Smaller competitive game developers could need help finding a position for their games in the esports industry, even if they meet all the requirements. 

What Are the Main Skills That Esports Gamers Should Have?

Regarding esports and competitive games, they should have a high skill cap. The games should have various skills and ways to battle your opponents. Let’s look at some essential tools professional gamers use to win. 


We must consider the importance of excellent communication in competitive games. You must communicate with your esports team members since many things might happen. While you may have one action plan, your teammate may have another. 

The key to success is merging these disparate thoughts into a unified totality that provides the squad with a synchronized mentality. If you’re playing Smash with a partner, you’ll almost need to order your teammate to grab the opponent at some time. 

Critical Thinking

Quick critical thinking is one of a player’s most effective skills in competitive games. In a one-hour game, you can make thousands of small decisions that, over time, can decide the outcome. You should know when to attack when to wait, and when to defend. You must watch your opponents, analyze their actions, and create strategies in seconds. 


To be a successful esports player, a gamer must multitask and do it well. It’s difficult for some people to do more than one or two things at a time. In competitive games, you rarely do less than three or four things. 

Watching the map, analyzing your opponents, deciding what items should be bought for the next round, watching your teammates while following the opponents – it’s hard not to multitask while gaming. That’s why people playing competitive games have mastered this skill. 

Observe Your Surroundings

While this sounds easy at first glance, once you start playing, you’ll see how difficult it is to focus on two things simultaneously. Let’s consider League of Legends, one of the most popular competitive games. 

There, you have many different mechanics, and one of them is the mini-map. The mini-map gives you visibility around objects on your team in the game. For example, your side of the map, “wards” you have placed for visibility, other players, etc. You can easily miss an ambush if you don’t pay enough attention to the minimap and get baited in the enemy territory. 

Knowledge of the Game’s Mechanics

As in every sport, the players need to know how it’s played, the rules, and what’s possible and impossible. Players competing in competitive gaming know precisely how the game mechanics work. This includes skills, characters, guns, maps, accessories, boosters, etc. Knowing what does what in a video game is the first step to mastering it. 


The ability to persevere under pressure distinguishes a professional from a casual player. Success in every endeavor depends on self-improvement, and having the ambition and passion to develop your abilities and yourself is crucial. 

Making an effort to grow and embrace both your triumphs and failings is difficult. In your chosen game, there’ll undoubtedly be a time when you have to learn a painful lesson. Failure may be advantageous since it lets us remember our errors and enhance our performance the next time we play. We must also celebrate our victories to keep our determination. 

Top 10 Most Competitive Games in the Last 10 Years 

When it comes to competitive games in the last 10 years, we’ve seen multiple releases that grabbed the audience’s attention and never let go. These games are from various genres and have different types of mechanics and gameplay. Yet again, they still managed to get the top spots in gaming. Let’s see which of these games made it, what they have in common, and what are the reasons they became a huge success. 

Top 10 Esports Games Prize Pools
Top 10 Esports Games Prize Pools


Since its official release in 2017, Fortnite has gained the attention of a big part of the gaming online community. The free-to-play battle royale quickly became one of the most popular video games, capitalizing on the success of other popular Battle Royale games like H1Z1 and PUBG. 

The game has a wide range of cosmetics, and on top of that, it combines the mechanics of a third-person shooter with building and inventory management. This makes it an excellent choice for the esports games roster. The game starts with 100 players who are thrown onto a gigantic map. To survive, they must scatter resources and battle for victory. The last survivor wins and takes first place. 

Fortnite World Cup: The Fortnite World Cup was a video game-based gaming competition. It featured players from all around the world, who were competing for the high price – $30 million Solo and Duos Finals. 

Rocket League

Rocket League is a sports video game developed by Psyonix. It features a mode for competitive esports games where teamwork and outmaneuvering the opponents are the two essential things. It’s now available for free on Epic Games. 

The objective of the game: this game is basically football with cars. Players’ primary purpose is to score goals in the opponent’s net. 

How it is played: each team has half of the field and a net. Once the game begins, both teams rush to get the ball (hitting it with their cars). The clock starts ticking once the ball gets in play, and the game begins. Once a goal gets scored, all players are returned to starting positions, and everything repeats. 

Esports: The Rocket League Championship Series concludes the Rocket League season each year. The greatest teams from Europe, North America, Oceania, and South America battle for over $1,000,000 in prizes and the title of World Champions. Teams must compete in regional regular seasons, tournaments, and qualifying to proceed to the next level.

Some players find it strange how the game is competitive. At the same time, some cars are either hard to unlock while playing for free or are fully locked and can be obtained only with real money. Yet, the differences in the cars aren’t that big. Moreover, this problem can easily be solved by the competitions only allowing players to use one car. Usually, that’s the Octane since it’s the best-balanced one. 

PlayerUnkown’s Battlegrounds

This game became an instant hit as soon as it was released. It wasn’t the first battle royale game to hit the scene, but it was certainly one of the most successful. Currently, PUBG is one of the most-played games in the world, featuring tournaments for millions of dollars. According to Playercounter, PUBG currently has more than 340,000 playing users. 

How is it played: In case you’re new to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds or the battle royale subgenre or simply want a refresher, here’s how it works. You and up to 99 other players are dropped from an airship onto a large region at the start of the game. You can set up wherever on the map you believe would best suit your next move. After landing, you aim to be the last individual or team standing. The goal may be accomplished by scavenging for the greatest weapons and gear, locating the best vantage locations, and outperforming your opponents.

Becoming Free To Play: after the huge success of PUBG, an additional game was released for mobile devices – PUBG Lite. It featured the same gameplay and mechanics but was downsized enough to be playable on mobile phones. While the mobile version of the game didn’t become one of the most competitive games out there, it certainly was a huge success, having more than 600 million downloads.

To survive after dropping into PUBG’s relatively realistic open landscape, you must be far more stealthy and tactically smart than you’d be in Fortnite’s run-and-gun action. You may set up a smokescreen to deceive a gang of hostile players holding you down from a neighboring ridge, or you could wait for a passing aircraft to drown out your footsteps so you can enter a house unnoticed. 

Although the wide range of weaponry makes it more difficult to fire than other contemporary shooters (even after you’ve customized them with scopes and larger magazines), firefights are typically heated and entertaining. PUBG is a more strategic competitive game with more real-life tactics than its competitors. 


Blizzard has its fair share of competitive games. One of the more recent ones is Overwatch. The game takes huge inspiration from Team Fortress 2, featuring two teams fighting over different tasks, claiming checkpoints, and essentially getting the victory. 

Every character in the game comes with its unique abilities. The team must utilize the different characters’ advantages to win. Some use stealth mechanics, others are ranged fighters, and some are built like tanks, made to withstand nearly all of the opponents’ attacks. 

Overwatch League: By employing a framework akin to traditional sports, Blizzard tried to establish a reputation in competitive gaming. The league’s city-based franchising was a notable change from what fans were used to. The idea was to establish a league that would help the industry gain popularity. Despite the large investment of the $20 million franchise buy-in, investors from traditional sports, esports, and other industries hurried to secure their places.

The Overwatch League’s initial seven cities were announced as Seoul, Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, New York, Shanghai, and Florida. Twelve teams would compete in the league’s inaugural season thanks to the addition of teams from London, Philadelphia, Houston, Dallas, and another Los Angeles franchise.

Characters with enhanced map vision, shields that deflect oncoming blows, and armor that teammates can pick up are all available. Characters can stun, debuff, or lay traps for their enemies. Some of them can teleport enormous distances, travel great distances in a jetpack, or accelerate up every teammate inside an area of influence. The roster has a wide variety of styles and abilities.

In contrast, several mechanisms are more efficient than you might expect from a class-based shooter. Only a few heroes are armed with multiple weapons. Even then, they must choose between attack and utility. Only a handful of heroes have a second fire mode. 

There’s no ammo management, not even beyond the specified loadouts. Most rifles need reloading, but they have a limitless supply of ammo to pick from. Although there are still a lot of complications, Overwatch seems distinct from its competitors due to its utilization of abilities.

Dota 2

Dota 2 has reached unimaginable heights since its PC launch in 2013. Valve definitely can design a successful esports game. Dota 2 is no different. The game’s history is interesting since it began as a mod before becoming a worldwide phenomenon. Dota 2 has reached an unprecedented level, with over 2,000 tournaments completed to date and counting. 

As the game approaches its tenth anniversary, the International and other competitive events will alter, and it will be interesting to see how they do so with a new decade ahead of us.

Since the game’s existence in 2003, new players and strategies have entered the competitive Dota scene. As of The International 2015, professional Dota 2 is one of the highest-paying esports games in the world. Dota 2 is a multiplayer, competitive game that’s played everywhere. 

Professional teams participate in competitions supported by businesses, associations, and Valve. Players who have paid for tournament access may watch games and hear voice commentary thanks to DotaTV, a feature built into the Dota 2 client.

Apex Legends

Apex Legends is yet another Battle Royale game, but it’s different from the rest. Here, we can see completely new mechanics like flying, dodging, shooting, and riding combined. 

Since the release of Apex Legends, it has grown, garnering more people’s attention daily. The fast-paced gameplay never fails to give the players an adrenaline rush while they run, slide, jump, dash, and dodge bullets while firing simultaneously. 

The focus of this battle role is entirely on the mobility and versatility that the players have. Different characters have different abilities that can be used in different ways during battle. The playable characters (Legends) have special abilities and strengths that you can make fit your game style. 

Skills and Mastering the Mechanics: the beauty of this game is that even if you go against a fully armored opponent, you still have a chance of winning. Most battle royale games out there focus more on the guns than the characters, which means that if someone manages to get their hands on one of the more powerful guns, it’s pretty much game over. 

In Apex Legends, you have a chance even if you go against your opponent with a kitchen knife. The game focuses more on the moveability of the Legends rather than the weapons that can be found. This means that skill plays a huge role here. 

Some techniques can slow down a fight, allow for retreats and regrouping, and give breathing room before the next confrontation. The gameplay isn’t necessarily quick and violent. 

Wraiths can retreat after briefly being invisible if things grow too heated. Pathfinders can construct zip lines that cross whole arenas. When a squad is trapped in the open, Gibraltar can deploy a dome shield to defend the area or give them extra time to react. 


The creators of League of Legends, Riot Games, wanted to get a piece of the shooter market. To do that, they released their first-person shooter game, Valorant, which became an instant success. 

As soon as the game launched, it was standing toe-to-toe with the other big titles on the market. The marketing strategies that Riot Games used were top-notch. They gave streamers early access to the game to show it to future players. Once the game was released, everyone wanted to start playing. 

That being said, we have to mention that even though Riot used a lot of marketing and planning on the release of the game, it wouldn’t have been such a success if it wasn’t good. Valorant stands apart from the competitors because it remixes Valve’s original concept. 

Like Overwatch, the characters joke at the beginning of each round and breach the fourth wall to proclaim the elimination of the enemy’s “imposter” on the opposing team. It depicts the positive attitude of Overwatch, which helps make every setback a bit less painful.

Valorant’s dynamics are enough to keep it alive as a competitive shooter. It’s worth spending time on since winning is an intrinsic motivation based on the merits of excellent gameplay. Because it stresses skill and strategy, much like competitive games, the time-tested demolition mode remains an appealing environment for intense FPS moments.

While Spike Rush is quick, full matches require a significant time investment. You can play the best-of-seven games in 10 minutes without committing to anything long-term. All attackers have explosives, the purchasing procedure has been replaced with random load-outs, and Agent abilities are charged at the start of each game. 

Because power-ups are scattered around the level, you may play it like an arcade game. Spike Rush removes some critical strategic features and seems too short for the time it takes to get rolling, but it provides a nice change of pace when needed. It would be fantastic to have more options on this mode.


We saw that esports games are usually shooters, battle royales, or sports-themed games. While these genres are players’ favorites, we want to spice things up and put one game that differs slightly from the other esports games – Hearthstone.

Hearthstone is a card strategy game released by Blizzard. Since its launch in 2014, the game has changed a lot, bringing in new features to the players. While this game wasn’t the first PC card game, it helped out the genre and opened the door for other developers to try their luck. After the huge success of Hearthstone, other card games started appearing. Such examples are Gwent, The Elder Scrolls: Legends, and Artifact. 

The first Hearthstone tournament was held at BlizzCon in 2013, months before the game’s official release in 2014. Blizzard wanted to show off their game and chose eight players to compete for the title “Hearthstone Innkeeper’s Invitational.” 

After that, in 2014, Hearthstone had even more tournaments. EGX Rezzed and DreamHack were two of them. At that time, a cheating scandal was happening at the tournaments, which maybe wasn’t the best thing that should’ve happened, but it helped boost the game’s recognition even more. 

Rainbow Six Siege

Now, we continue with the esports games in the first-person shooter genre, and this time, we’ll cover Rainbow Six Siege. That’s a tactical first-person shooter where every round is attackers versus defenders, and the goal is to claim particular objectives. Every round of this competitive game has a different thing that must be done, ranging from extracting hostages, creating paths to specific rooms, or a bomb defusal round. 

While we mentioned this is a shooter game, it’s not only about shooting. Every game’s playable character (operator) has unique gadgets and features that assist the team. 

Since Rainbow Six Siege is a tactical video game, it seems sensible that teams and professional players would be interested in playing. When Rainbow Six Siege was first published in 2015, it quickly drew a sizable following of gamers who took the game seriously enough to engage in competition.

The Rainbow Six Siege competitive scene is developing tremendously in 2023. In significant Rainbow Six competitions, top-tier teams compete for major organizations like G2 Esports, Team Liquid, Astralis, and FaZe Clan.  

You may bet on Rainbow Six’s most well-known yearly competition, the Six Invitational, which is presented. A $3,000,000 prize pool was offered for the 2023 competition, which took place in February. The game follows its massive success as a single and multiplayer shooter, which opened the door for it to become part of the esports games scene. 


Smite is a game that combines two genres into one – MOBAs and RPGs. It features MOBA-style maps, playable characters, and abilities but also has RPG elements, like the player’s movement and the camera angle.

At the time of its release, Smite had different characters, and the developer of the game, Hi-Rez, did a fantastic job incorporating them into the esports game. The game features more than 100 playable Gods, each with its own abilities. You could see Zeus, Hercules, Thor, etc.

The principles contained in Smite look to be bound for success, emphasizing accessibility and esports games. Still, the designers have relied too much on the shift in perspective, doing little more to separate themselves from the competition. 

Given its enormous competition, we’re still determining if Smite has what it takes to last the long haul in its current condition. Of course, the game will be constantly updated with new Gods, maps, and balance changes.

During unranked play, participants can select from six distinct play modes. Conquest, Arena, Joust, Siege, and Assault are the five static ones. Match of the Day, the last game, is an updated variant of one of the previously stated modes that emerges once every 24 hours with new settings and regulations to keep things interesting. “Clash mode,” a prospective seventh option being tested, is now in open beta. 

Smite’s two ranking play modes are Conquest and One vs. One. These features make it one of the most popular competitive games out there. 

While we already mentioned the benefits of playing competitive games and why they’re such a massive hit in the gaming industry, we want to see how they’ve become so popular. Are the players looking only for the prices, or do they like to do what they enjoy the most? 

The world of esports games is a fast-paced one. New games come out, new tournaments start, and others finish. Gamers are constantly evolving, adapting to the latest changes in the games or the tournaments and competitive gaming in general. Let’s look at a few reasons why esports games became so popular. 

Games Are More Accessible

Esports games don’t only consist of PC titles and are no longer simple LAN games. These tournaments are streamed over multiple platforms. Some don’t require players to move from their houses. You don’t have to get to the tournament hall and spend money on travel, accommodation, and tickets to watch the games. Everything is digital now and available from the comfort of your home. 

With the advancements in competitive games, we now see mobile titles implemented into the industry as well. 


The general public enjoys esports games. Nobody stopped playing League of Legends or Rocket League months after they started. This leads to communities where like-minded individuals assemble to discuss their common interests in the activity and exchange advice, methods, and other information about esports. 

These groups are dedicated and continue to expand as additional people with similar interests join. The communities are also a good way for competitive games to get attention and more players. The more shares and people talk about it, the better it’ll be for the esports games. 

Higher Game Quality

One of the reasons why people play esports games is the fact that they’re almost always top-notch quality. Competitive games shouldn’t have any slowdowns, lags, quality issues, or other things that may ruin the gameplay. 

These games are played at the highest levels in the gaming industry, which means that one bug or a breakdown can cause a team to lose a match or even the game. That’s why developers are always cautious when working on their esports games, ensuring everything works well. 

Is Competitive Gaming the Future?

Competitive games have been part of the gaming industry since the dawn of gaming. They started as small LAN parties and tournaments hosted locally, with the implementation of competitive games, turned into massive tournaments with millions of fans and substantial prize polls. 

The most exciting thing about competitive games is that if the game is good and gets proper marketing through SEO strategies, it cannot die. We can take Counter-Strike as an example. This competitive game started as a mod for Half-Life, then got released as a stand-alone game and immediately got the hearts of the players. 

Even now, decades after the game’s first launch, you can find hundreds of servers and thousands of daily active players, even though it’s no longer part of the roster of the games. This shows how much gamers love competitive games. 

For many players, competitive gaming is the future. Some even say that developers will shift from creating single-player titles to multiplayer ones, focusing more on the competitive side. This is because these games get played for extended periods and usually get more attention from the media and the gaming community.

Parents and Esports

Some studies show that competitive games will replace conventional sports, with parents enrolling their children in different games. For example, instead of football, they can play FIFA or Rocket League, or Counter-Strike will replace paintball, etc. While many think only from the negative side, think about the opportunities and the positives. There are going to be little to no injuries. 

Kids who play games will still develop their motor skills, situational awareness, teamwork, communication, etc., without the risk of falling, breaking a bone, or something worse. 

The esports games can be accessed from home, which saves time in commuting, and many times, the games are much cheaper than one day of traditional sports training or outdoor activities. 

Women In Esports

As you can guess, esports games, competitive games, and the gaming industry, in general, are male-dominated. With the rise of esports games, more females are showing interest in gaming, with more and more competitive games getting women’s teams and tournaments. 

Something interesting that can happen in competitive games is women and men playing in the same teams and competing against each other. While in conventional sports, even the most strategic ones, males and females cannot compete together. Yet, this could change. It would make for exciting battles and matches that we’re yet to see happening in the gaming world.


We cannot say that competitive games are at their peak because they rise every minute. More players are getting involved, tournaments are getting bigger, games are getting better, and the competitive genre, in general, is one of the most played in the gaming industry. 

Games include shooters, MOBAs, RPGs, card games, and RTS games. This means that no matter what game you like, which genre you play, or how much time you have to play daily, there’ll always be a game that matches your preferences. 

Competitive games are the future of gaming. Either because of the natural verge of humans competing against each other and showing dominance or because they offer a lot to the gaming industry. Regardless, they allow players to increase their skills, communicate more, and demonstrate teamwork.

We mentioned some of the best competitive games released in the past decade, but this doesn’t mean there are no other great games. Other excellent game examples are CS:GO, League of Legends, Street Fighter, Call of Duty, and many more. 

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Chantelle started her career in IT before eventually finding her way into Marketing. This eventually became her passion, along with Digital Marketing, SEO, and Brand and Web Development. Today, she helps businesses find their voice and grow online.

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