Breaking Down the eSports Industry

Breaking Down the 2020 eSports Scene and Understanding What the Present & Future Holds

eSports is quickly taking the world by storm – very few people would argue with this definitive statement. However, more importantly, is that as this whirlwind moves from continent to continent, there are a lot of complexities, structures, regulations, and acronyms. Understanding the tiers of eSports games, which determines what game is best and most popular, and how games, leagues, and teams break down. Here are the tiers of the top games in the world right now:  Tier 1: Riot’s League of Legends, CS: GO; Tier 2 Valorant, Fortnite, Dota 2, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Rainbow 6, Hearthstone; Tier 3 Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, Overwatch, Rocket League, Starcraft, Legends of Rune Terra, Fifa2020, and Teamfight Tactics.

eSports Industry in 2021

The TEO PC Games Impact Index has been weighing the following KPIs since 2018 to determine which games are the “top” games in eSports.

  1. Monthly active PC players are weighed at 30%.
  2. Distributed Winnings weighed at 25%.
  3. eSports Hours Watched weighed at 20%.
  4. Hours Watched by viewers anywhere weighed at 15%.
  5. Concurrent Streams which weighs at 5%.
  6. The number of Tournaments being held around the world weighs in at 5%.

These KPI’s have been used by the eSports Observer supported by Newzoo metrics and data. There have been lots of changes within the second and third tier of games since 2018, although Riot’s League of Legends has remained at the top of it all since day 1.

Breaking Down the 2020 eSports Scene and Understanding What the Present & Future Holds

League of Legend’s (LoL) influence comes from its global reach whereas Fortnite’s tournaments are more tightly controlled by its publisher, Epic Games. The more money and tournament matches are held, the greater the score rises. More traditional metrics, without KPI, would look simply at viewership and prize money. Based on more traditional metrics, CS:GO comes out number 1 because of its total distribution of $8,000,000 in prize money for 2020 alone. The Intel Extreme Masters Katowice, Poland tournament for CS:GO had 1,000,000 people view it live.

The top competing teams included Astralis, Cloud9, FaZe Clan, Fnatic, Ninjas in Pyjamas, and Renegades within Group A. Group B included 100 Thieves, Evil Geniuses, G2 eSports, Team Liquid, and MAD Lions, E.C. The 2020 Katowice Tournament was the last high-profile event before the pandemic hit. Natus Vincere swept G2 eSports in the final round.


The winning team, coached by Andrii “B1ad3” Gorodenskyi has the following team roster: Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovacs (arctic warfare police AWP/sniper), Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev (assault and captain), Kirill “Boombl4” Mikhailov (in-game leader/shot-caller), as well as CEO Yevhen Zolotarov and Eugene “ug1n” Yerofeyev (team manager), Egor “flamie” Vasilev and Denis “electroNic” Sharipov.

These types of teams, approximately 7 people large, are literally the lynch-pins and central nodes of the billion-dollar eSports market. The two most popular games CS: GO and League of Legends. To help understand LoL a little deeper, LoL is split into two domestic leagues – LoL Championship Series (LCS) with North American teams in addition to the LoL European Championship (LEC) along with two more in the global scene.

Each league has ten teams each with Spring and Summer seasons and 2018 marked the first attempt to franchise the league with 10 permanent places within the LCS including 100 Thieves, Cloud9, Counter Logic Gaming, DignitImmortals, Team Liquid, and Team Solomas, Evil Geniuses, FlyQuest, Golden Guardians, Immortals, Team Liquid, and Team SoloMid. The global scene includes the Lol Pro League which is reserved for Chinese teams while the Lol LCK team is for South Korean teams.

Top players in LoL include the whole 100 Thieves roster such as Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho, William “Meteos” Hartman, Tommy “ry0ma” Le, Cody “Cody Sun” Sun, and William “Stunt” Chen. Whereas traditional entertainment markets rely on “celebrity” status, the opportunity of evolution within the world of eSports is to look more closely at whole teams as coordinated bodies of “talent” that function far better as investments than the individual, celebrity brands.

For instance, teams have players who can sub in or sub out, they include coaches and managers, and they also yield data and analytics that can be tangibly observed and studied from an investment standpoint. This is far superior to betting on a single person to become a “star” that can easily lose sponsorships, contracts, prize money, and more through any accidents or anything that goes wrong. Again, the future of eSports is a lot like professional sports, value rooted in data, analytics, team coordination, strategy, science, and mathematics. This is where the future is going – we might as well get grounded in the basics where we are.

Notable players from the 2019 winning team include dupreeh, device, Xyp9x, Magisk, gla1ve, and zonic.

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