With the world of the sport still struggling to resume, recover, and adapt to a post-COVID era, competitive video games known as Esports have stepped in to fill the void left behind. Whilst it was already a blossoming community before, recent estimates suggest that the Esports has undergone a level of revenue growth in the past two months that is comparable to what a good two years would look like for most industries.
So whilst there’s no traditional Premier League or NBA to sink your teeth into just yet, there is a sports game popular in the world of Esports that could be a perfect replacement. Here’s our take on the best sports-themed Esports titles.
The world’s most successful football/soccer simulator, EA’s Fifa franchise is always ranked amongst the most heavily discussed and anticipated titles in the Esports world prior to its annual release.
For a real, authentic experience of being out on the pitch and replicating the feeling of being inside a packed stadium, there’s really no beating EA’s flagship title. With one Juventus-shaped exception, it holds the rights to every team, every player, every kit, every league and every stadium present in the top tiers of competitive football and regularly rakes in billions of dollars from its armada of fans around the world.
The continued updating and refreshing of Weekend Leagues, Pro Seasons and Ultimate Team Divisions have led to the creation of top-tier events such as the eNations Cup and eWorld Cup, however, what has really made the Fifa scene blossom into one of the most hyper-competitive has been the impact it has had on influencers and streamers. From big personalities such as KSI to real pros such as Fnatic’s Tekkz, it is arguably the biggest reason as to why the game never fails to remain in the limelight.
Strap in for one of the most exhilarating games out in the market right now: Rocket League. Football mixed in with a bit of Need for Speed, Rocket League plops players in mini turbo cars and puts them in a giant futuristic-looking soccer pitch.
The immense skill ceiling has led to one of the most exciting competitive scenes in Esports, Rocket League betting and wagering has become immensely popular amongst its fans, and teams such as G2, Renault Vitality and FC Barcelona have all shown the bridging going on between virtual and real-world sports brands. Breathless, fast-paced action is the aim of the game with Rocket League and is always a good time, regardless of the level you kick things off at.
Basketball’s answer to EA’s Fifa, NBA2K is the official game focused on all things, surprisingly, on the NBA. Having been released every year since 1999, NBA2K has brought some of the finest faces to ever grace the court to life pixelated life and given gamers the opportunity to dribble and dunk just like Lebron or Steph Curry.
The NBA2K League is the official Esports strand of the game and takes inspiration from the likes of Overwatch and League of Legends in the virtual world and, naturally, the NBA in the real one. It’s a unique combination and one that is probably the best representation of what collaboration between real-world and virtual teams could look like in the future going forward.