An introduction to eSports
Most punters will have heard of eSports by now. But, while this is now a popular online sports betting category, there are still plenty of people who are unsure of what exactly it is and how it works.
The word itself is derived from combining the words electronic and sports. From this you can get a general idea of what it is about. Essentially, it is competitive video gaming, where teams or individuals compete against each other in a set game or tournament on a platform such PC, Xbox or PlayStation.
This is not a new concept. For years, gamers have used local area networks or LANs and the Internet to compete against each other using the multiplayer function. As technology and gaming has developed, so too has the competitive nature of the players, giving rise to professional leagues and a billion-dollar industry. Of course, the eSports betting element arose naturally, as it allows punters to wager on the outcome of a tournament or game, much as they would with any other sport.
Categories and Genres
If you want to get down to the heart of what is eSports; you first have to understand the various categories or genres within it. These genres can be easily understood by looking at them as different types of video games. Each one is different, and requires a unique skill set to be the best.
At the moment, the four most popular categories are:
- First Person Shooters (FPS)
- Action Real Time Strategy Games (ARTS)
- Real Time Strategy Games (RTS)
- Multiplayer Online Battle Arena Games (MOBA)
Each game, with the exception of MOBA can be played in teams or individually. The aim of each is different and so is the way it is played, and the strategies used to win. With first person shooters for example, the idea is to kill as many of the opposing team members while protecting your base. Other categories require world building and smaller battles and working together to achieve a desired effect.
League of Legends (LoL) has grown to be one of the most popular MOBA games in the world. It’s also the ideal option for eSports fans looking to wager on matches and tournaments, as it offers plenty of markets.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, or CS:GO for the initiated, is a first person shooter game that’s setting the eSports world ablaze. This eSports game offers plenty of betting opportunities for the avid punter looking for ways to win big online.
Dota 2 is multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game that was first developed and published by Valve Corporation back in July of 2013. It is essentially a standalone sequel to the already popular Defence of the Ancients MOBA game, which was created as a mod for Warcraft III.
Heroes of the Storm is a multiplayer online battle arena eSports game that was developed and published by Blizzard in 2015. The history of the title dates back to 2010, when it was first unveiled as a custom map for the arcade feature in StarCraft 2.
Fortnite: Battle Royale is a Multiplayer Online Battle Royale (MOBR) game developed and released by Epic Gaming in 2017. The game sees over 100 players dropped onto an island where they must collect weapons, create defences and be the last player standing while the map shrinks.
Heroes of Newerth (HoN) is a classic Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) game first launched in 2010. While it may not be as popular as Dota 2 or League of Legends, it has a dedicated fan base and a HoN Tour World League, and offers plenty of online betting action.
Valorant was originally announced as Project A in October 2019 by Riot Games, only receiving its current name months later. It’s a kind of post-modern title, combining elements of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends, and Overwatch.
League of Legends has a monthly player amount in excess of 115 million, so it’s very understandable that Riot Games would want to take full advantage of its popularity. They’re doing this by releasing League of Legends: Wild Rift, essentially a mobile-friendly version of the original title.
With each eSports UK category, there are specific games that teams and leagues will use most often. For example, with the MOBA genre, League of Legends is very popular, while under the FPS genre Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) is tops.
Dota 2 and StarCraft 2 are a bit of a mix of genres combining real time strategy with multiplayer battle arena aspects. Other popular options include Smite, World of Tanks, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, Call of Duty and StarCraft II.
More recently, we have seen the rise of sports-themed games. FIFA is a popular option, where teams and individuals compete in electronic Football matches. Similarly, electronic Basketball, Formula One, Tennis are gaining traction. With Formula One for example, there is a replication of real-life sports where players join a specific team and race in Grand Prix tournaments spread out through the year.
Traditional Betting Differences
While eSports betting and traditional wagering on things like Tennis, Football, Cricket and F1 may sound similar, there are some fundamental differences punters need to know about.
Firstly, traditional events are usually determined by a single outcome and don’t have a match system. This means that competitive gaming actually has far more intricate betting options as they are decide by match. There is also far more scope for putting money on smaller things, like kill streaks, so the markets are more varied.
eSports are also based a lot more on luck, and whereas in something like Football the better team should win almost 100% of the time, this isn’t always the case here. The outcomes are less clear and dependent on RNG’s, so wagering is a lot more swingy than it would be if you opted for more traditional events.
Players, Leagues and Tournaments
As with all forms of sport, eSports has become a major international industry with professional players, professional teams, dedicated leagues and international tournaments with prizes worth millions of pounds. In the UK, the most prestigious league is the European Gaming League, which is shared with most European countries.
There are plenty of domestic leagues and competitions in the UK, the US, Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and China. There are also international tournaments and leagues that offer players the chance to compete against the world’s best on an international stage. Popular international tournaments include the Wargaming.net League, the Hero Pro League, the Halo Championship Series, the FIFA Interactive World Cup, the Electronic Sports League (ESL), the International (Dota 2), Battle.net Championship and the eGames.
For enthusiasts, online eSports betting is simply the practise of putting money on the outcome of these tournaments, leagues and matches. As you would expect with such a broad genre, there are many different types of wagers that can be placed online. Most bets pertain to the specific type of game being played.
The easiest way to get started is with tournament and match bets. At the start of any competition or tournament, future bets can be placed on which team or individual will be the winner. As with most tournaments, bets can also be placed on which teams will make it through the initial rounds, make the finals, and who will be the winner of a specific group. During the tournament itself, there are a whole host of bets that can be placed on individual games. The most popular in this category is the match bet. This simply comes down to predicting which team/individual will win the particular matchup. This is also where you can find markets like over/under or handicap betting.
For more experienced bettors, there are plenty of prop markets to keep things interesting. These are wagers that are based on individual statistics and the player’s skills. With first person shooter games, a good example is a wager on which team will draw first blood or make the first kill. There is also odd/evens, which is where you predict if there will be an odd or even number of kills in the match. In CS:GO and other options there is also knife round which can become its own wagering category. With Dota 2 and League of Legends, the eSports UK markets include a Map winner and Map overtime. Together, these markets create a huge range of betting options for the avid punter.
As with all sports though, it is important to gather as much information about the teams, their history and their statistics as possible before putting money down. That’s why our site is a great place to be when wanting to learn more about eSports betting. We’re a one stop hub for everything you need to know, and can direct you to the best bookmakers offering the widest selection of markets, provide news and insight into the latest events and outcomes, and a whole lot more.