By Cody Perez
May 24, 2019
There are countless games out there that have a competitive multiplayer element in some way. There are even games that allow for esports of some kind like competitive tournaments and streamers with plenty of fans who like that game.
But there are very few games that actually allow for an official esports league. What I mean by this is a league that is owned or at least sponsored or run by the developer and/or publisher behind the competitive game. Only a couple of these exist.
Overwatch and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (plus its predecessors) are the two main games that come to mind. What I mean by an esports league is a group of teams that compete for a season, and it eventually leads to a championship of some sort.
There are many games with official tournaments and championships but not this level of commitment. As such, I am going to go over the top 10 games that I think need a league. You may be wondering why this is so important.
Well, I think it’s important for a couple of reasons. For starters, it shows that the publisher and/or developer behind that game is committed to its esports scene if it backs the league. In addition, it creates a unique level of fun for fans that isn’t really found anywhere else currently.
There’s a reason that professional football, soccer, basketball, and other leagues are so popular. Fans get the chance to tune in each week during the season and see their favorite team(s) square it off. There is a consistent excitement for several months out of the year, whereas tournaments are much briefer.
I’m basing this list off of a couple of factors. There is, of course, the factor of how easily a league would make sense for the game. But I am also going to consider how fun a league for that game would be and how likely it seems this will happen for that particular game.
It would do Apex Legends a lot of good to have an official esports league from EA and Respawn Entertainment. The problem with this line of thinking, though, is that there are a ton of other problems with the battle royale game that need to be fixed first, hence, its place on this list.
Before it can even have a league, Apex Legends will need to fix its competitive issues, something that was worthy of its own dedicated blog post. After all, it doesn’t even have a ranked mode or anything like that, and it doesn’t really let you check a sufficient leaderboard around the world.
However, Apex Legends does lend itself well to a league of some sort. While it is difficult for a battle royale game to have a league, it could be very unique. The fact that this game solely focuses on teams of three at this time makes this even more interesting.
Teams of three could duke it out each week against one another and see who wins. Teams could move up and down the rankings as the weeks go on, leading to a final tournament or championship to see who is the absolute best in the world. It would be pretty cool, but this is one I don’t think will happen soon.
Thankfully, unlike my last entry on this list, Final Fantasy XIV does have an official esports scene of some kind. Called the Feast, Square Enix does host various seasons of this ranked competitive multiplayer for the MMORPG every few months or so.
Though it does consist of seasons, it isn’t really a dedicated league of any kind. Instead, it’s more of a free for all to see who will be the best for that particular period of time. There is no true structure to it in any way, which is unfortunate because it would be cool to see a league for an MMO.
There could be a group of official teams that are selected by Square Enix to represent the best of the best, and they could battle it out in the game live each week for a few months of the year. Same as with the last entry, this could lead to an official tournament or championship.
Final Fantasy XIV makes more sense, too, since the Feast can be just one team against another. Considering it is one of the most popular MMO games on the planet, it is possible that a ton of fans like myself would show up each week to cheer on their favorite teams.
The first MOBA on this list, Smite is certainly ripe for an official league of sorts. Like others that I’m going to mention, it does have an official esports tournament and championship, but it would be nice to see a league as well.
It would be cool to see official teams from around the world and different regions challenge each other every single week for several months of the year. There is already ranked play and tournaments going on, so it would be cool to see a minor league for players and teams to try to make it into the big league.
Smite has such unique gameplay compared to most MOBA games since it is in the third person perspective behind the shoulders of the character rather than above them in an isometric point of view. It is also one of the few MOBA games available on console, too.
This could allow for players on console to have a chance to be part of the league as well, something that isn’t really possible with most similar games to this one. I think it would be a great idea, but it is admittedly not as popular of a game, hence, its place on this list.
Fortnite is one of the biggest games on this list, and it also has some of the most esports-friendly content here, too. The problem, though, with Fortnite’s esports content is that it lacks tremendous focus. The main thing beyond the ranked play is the World Cup.
This is a fantastic initiative that other games could do well to imitate. Players around the world are able to have a chance to win money through a tournament system that is basically open to everyone. This is fantastic since it allows anyone to have a shot at esports.
The problem with this, though, is that it’s all over the place. I’m not asking Epic to change or remove this, but add an additional option for fans and players. It would be awesome to see a dedicated league that features top players, streamers, and teams from around the world.
Perhaps those associated with the league wouldn’t be allowed to participate in the World Cup, either. They could have their own championship, complete with fame and tons of money to win. Given the game’s popularity, it only makes sense to give fans another option to keep watching it.
Dragon Ball FighterZ is one of the biggest fighting games in the esports community right now, and for good reason. It’s gorgeous, fun to play, and extremely fun to watch as well. As such, it has a pretty healthy esports scene with many tournaments around.
It would do well to benefit the game with an esports league of some sort. The problem with this, though, is that the game is primarily a one player versus one player affair. As such, a league would take a bit more work to adjust compared to other games on this list.
I think that it would be worth it, though, because it seems like a great experience that fans would appreciate. With huge personalities in this community like SonicFox and many more, there’s no doubt in my mind that it would be entertaining to watch for several months of the year.
My personal recommendation for a Dragon Ball FighterZ league is to have teams of a few players that go up against a different team of players each week. It can be a best of three or best of five where the players are randomly picked to play against another one until one team wins enough matches to be declared the official winner for that matchup.
There’s no doubt that the FIFA games are the biggest sports games in the world, and for good reason. Soccer (or football) is the biggest sport in the world, and so it only makes sense that the video game version gets the same treatment as its real-world counterpart.
There are countless soccer leagues in the world for just about every major nation, including multiple leagues for certain nations. It’s crazy huge, and it would make sense for it to be huge in the digital realm as well. All it takes is a bit of commitment to make it happen.
This is one esports league that actually writes itself. It can mirror the real leagues that exist, having various teams either for that specific country or one general league for all regions that have teams competing each week for rankings in the league.
This can culminate with a world cup of its own where the best of the best compete to see who is on top for that year. Or it could simply have a championship where the top couple of teams compete for the number-one position in the world.
Rainbow 6 Siege is a weird one since there is a pretty popular unofficial league that currently exists. While this is great, it does lack the official support from publisher Ubisoft that would go a long way towards making the league much more popular.
I admit that I’m not a big Overwatch player at all, but I really enjoy watching the Overwatch League each season. This is because I have my own favorite team and players that I enjoy cheering for each week. A similar situation could happen for Rainbow 6 Siege.
This game has such unique first-person shooter gameplay that lends itself well to an official league. The intensity of the gameplay is a joy to watch, and it would only have the chance to get bigger and better if there was official backing from Ubisoft.
I think that it is certainly worth the effort and would help the game become even more popular than it already is. This would, in turn, assist in sales and success for any potential sequel in the future. It could also mean bigger prizes for the teams and players involved.
You might be surprised to see that I put PUBG above Fortnite on this list, but I don’t think you should be. While Fortnite is probably a bigger and more popular game, it already has so many competitive aspects to it. I feel like PUBG is lacking in this regard.
One great way is to add an official league to it. What makes it also the highest battle royale game on this list is its gameplay. It is a very serious and competitive game, one that appreciates the technical level and leaves nothing to chance.
This and its level of tension shows me that it would work wonderfully if it had its own league. While, sure, it would have some moments of dead time, it would be tense and exciting in ways that other games on this list couldn’t achieve.
Hearthstone is the perfect card video game that would work for an esports league. The only problem with this is that the game isn’t really meant for teams. It’s really only meant for solo players. While this is an issue, I think it can be solved.
The league for this game could just be solo players competing each week for ranks on the leaderboard, rather than teams. This, too, could lead to a championship or playoffs of some kind. It is basically the biggest and most popular video game card game, so it’s only right it has a league.
After all, Magic has an awesome league that exists for the real card game, so it’d be great if this popular digital card game could have one, too, in the digital scene.
Before I get too much into my top pick of League of Legends, it is worth noting that there are leagues in certain regions of the world but mainly tournaments elsewhere. As such, I think that there should be an official esports league for League of Legends.
I mean, look at the literal name for the MOBA. It’s in the name of the game, so there’s no reason it shouldn’t have an official league. There are already plenty of amazing esports teams out there that could easily make the transition to a league for several months of the year. This allows for more prizes and more exposure to the world, too.
Those are my picks for the games that need an official league. Here’s hoping that at least some of them get one in the future.