Although esports was booming before the COVID-19 outbreak, the global pandemic certainly helped to increase the popularity of these games even further. As entire families were confined to their homes with little else to do, playing video games seemed like a great way to pass the time.
Now an industry worth more than a billion dollars, the biggest esports games and tournaments pay out millions of dollars in prize money. Professional players of DOTA 2, League of Legends and CS:GO are becoming superstars, much like the biggest names in football or basketball. But as we look to the future, who will be the next big names to emerge? And which up-and-coming games have the potential to make it as fully-fledged esports?
Developers 343 Industries were another company heavily impacted by the pandemic, leading to substantial delays to the release of Halo Infinite. As such, this particular title is more likely to be one to watch for 2022.
But Halo Infinite is certainly packed full of potential, given the resurgence of shooting games in recent years coupled with the long and successful history of the franchise. Several top names, including Cloud9, Sentinels, and Saiyan, have already confirmed they will switch over to competing in Halo events.
In the esports community, there is a degree of confidence that Valorant has huge potential to become the next big thing. As creators of the massively successful League of Legends, Valorant’s developer Riot Games already has a strong history in the esports arena.
Having set aside a huge budget for the development and marketing of Valorant, big things are expected. Several of the world’s biggest esports franchises have already thrown their weight behind the title and top players are already switching to Valorant from other titles.
Another Riot Games title, League of Legends: Wild Rift suffered a delayed release because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But now that it’s out there, it’s been extremely well received by gamers.
The League of Legends name carries an awful lot of weight globally, which is sure to help boost Wild Rift’s popularity. And with very little competition in the North American mobile gaming sphere, there’s every chance that the game could blow up.
Nathan “NBK-” Schmitt
Having committed more than a decade to play CS:GO, Nathan “NBK-” Schmitt made a big decision in June 2021. Having spent the majority of the year outside of OG’s starting roster, NBK- has opted to ditch CS:GO in favor of playing Valorant.
Schmitt has the potential to do very well and is already firing warning shots to the competition. He said of his decision, “I have done it all from local LANs to winning Majors, ground through the ranks, and sat on top of the world. But memories are made to stay in the past. It’s time for a change and I’m coming to dominate.”
Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu
The 20-year-old Korean is starting to make a name for himself in League of Legends. Playing for Damwon in 2020, he achieved notoriety at Korea’s top LOL tournament, the LCK Summer Season. Never before had a jungler notched a pentakill in the event. But Geon-bu did exactly that after proceeding to sneak around, taking out every player on his opponent’s team.
Expect to see his name listed on esports betting sites as one of the favorites to win future MVP titles. Esports tournaments are hugely popular gambling events nowadays, with many bookmakers offering odds on thousands of different events, not only League of Legends. Comparisons of the best online gambling sites can help you to find the safest places to bet, offering the best odds and a wide range of deposit and withdrawal options.
Aurimas “Bymas” Pipiras
Although “Bymas” has been on the CS:GO scene for a few years, he has not come close to living up to his potential. Not until recently, that is.
CS:GO legend NiKo named him as a potential breakout star in 2020 after the two had worked together at FaZe Clan. Aged just 16 when he joined, Bymas was raw and NiKo was not able to get the best out of him. But since the switch to mousesports in August 2020, the Lithuanian is enjoying a new lease of life, winning tournaments to boot.