The Weekly Raid: Will 2018 Be The Year Of E-Sports?

There's no question to e-sports scene is growing, but despite all the hype I'm just not convinced its quite 'taken off' just yet. Total tournament winnings have been increasing year by year (see chart), but the majority of that cash is concentrated among 3 titles: Dota 2, Counter Strike Global Offensive, and League of Legends.

Overwatch laid much of the groundwork for its e-Sports scene in 2017, but 2018 will be the real test. Total Overwatch winnings clocked in at $3.3 million for 2017, compared to $19 million for CSGO. Playerunknowns Battlegrounds has also staked a claim to the e-Sports scene. Now that the game is out of Early Access, the developers are busy getting PUBG e-Sports ready. We don't know what that means quite yet, but we do know PUBG has the potential to elevate the e-Sports scene to new heights simply due to its massive popularity.

In the mean time, smaller studios are bearing fruit for wise decisions made years prior. Hi-Rez just held their annual Expo (Jan 4-8) which includes the Smite and Paladins World Championships. The prize pool for the Smite championships alone was $1 million! That tournament alone gives 2018 a nice boost, but will total winnings continue to climb. 2017 saw a total winnings, among all games, of $110,838,945. And more importantly, what would it mean for eSports to 'take off'? I don't have a clear definition. Its about total prize pools sure, but I think we need a cultural break out moment. Something the whole country, if not world can get behind. The best comparison I can draw is with poker. The World Series of Poker has been around for a long time, but it was the season aired by ESPN where Chris Moneymaker bluffed his way to victory that cemented poker as a cultural phenomena for at least the next decade.

Has eSports already made it? Whats your gauge? Do you think eSports has a bright future, or is it more sizzle than steak? Share your thoughts with us live or via comments!

Lifelong gamer always looking for the next virtual adventure. I'm still waiting for the next big MMORPG. Until then, you can find me hopping between multiple games.

  • Zariarn

    Don't know. Don't care. And it's not a sport.

    Next raid. LOL!

  • I'm optimistic. The fact that Twitch paid ~$90M for streaming rights for the Overwatch League shows there's real money in this space.