The biggest competitive video games in history

League of Legends competitive games

While many gamers enjoy relaxing with a co-op or singleplayer title, others are fiercely competitive and live to become the very best in their chosen game.

Some games lend themselves better to this competitive gameplay than others – focusing on balanced mechanics and high skill ceilings instead of immersion or story line.

eSports has seen a massive boost in growth throughout the world, with new competitive games seeing bigger tournaments and more interest from gamers.

We took a look at the biggest competitive video games in the world, ranked by total lifetime prize money awarded (according to

Dota 2

Total prize money awarded: R948,344,862 ($60,628,883)

Dota 2 is unquestionably the biggest competitive game in terms of prize money awarded. The MOBA features countless tournaments each year, including Valve’s International tournament – which boasts prize pools north of 10 million dollars each year.

League of Legends

Total prize money awarded: R449,097,319 ($28,711,358)

League of Legends is the biggest competitor to Dota 2 in prize money, although it still maintains a larger player base than Valve’s MOBA.

StarCraft II

Total prize money awarded: R297,816,227 ($19,039,767)

StarCraft II is the sequel to the highly-competitive StarCraft game, developed by Blizzard. The game is perceived as the ultimate in competitive real-time strategy games, and has an esxeptionally high skill ceiling.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Total prize money awarded: R212743855 ($13,600,983)

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is one of the fastest-growing games on the competitive scene, and is built upon the premise of the original Counter-Strike mod, which saw massive success in the early days of eSports.


Total prize money awarded: R168,376,030 ($10,764,492)

Originally developed as a mod for Half-Life, Counter-Strike quickly evolved into a pure competitive shooter that focussed on skilled, fast-paced gameplay.

Starcraft: Brood War

Total prize money awarded: R105,207,700 ($6,726,061)

Starcraft: Brood War is the predecessor to StarCraft II, and was the original competitive real-time strategy game. Blizzard created a balanced game with a high skill ceiling that challenged players for years after its release.


Total prize money awarded: R84,438,612 ($5,398,267)

Smite is a relatively recent arrival on the eSports scene. The game has only recently begun to see tournaments and leagues, and it is already catching up to its competition. Smite is a unique take on the MOBA genre, featuring a different player perspective than the classic top-down view.

Hearthstone: Heroes of WarCraft

Total prize money awarded: R66,994,064 ($4,283,015)

Hearthstone: Heroes of WarCraft is a trading card game developed by Blizzard. The game has been successful due to its free-to-play model and accessibility.

WarCraft III

Total prize money awarded: R63,509,774 ($4,060,260)

WarCraft III is another classic game developed by Blizzard. Although it had a reasonably large competitive scene, the game’s biggest achievement was producing a popular mod named Dota, which went on to become the biggest competitive game in the world.

Heroes of the Storm

Total prize money awarded: R59,621,301 ($3,811,665)

Heroes of the Storm is yet another addition to the crowded MOBA genre. Featuring heroes from all of Blizzard’s games, the title has been rising in popularity and has a number of dedicated competitions which boast large prize pools

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The biggest competitive video games in history

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