Ten New Potential Esports Games for 2019

By MikeJ

April 5, 2019

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Potential Esports Games for 2019

It’s 2019, and the esports industry has nearly taken over the world! It’s 2019, and the esports industry has nearly taken over the world!

Right now, there are many active esports leagues with massive fanbases from games such as League of Legends, Overwatch, CS:GO, Call of Duty, Super Smash Bros., and many more. These esports leagues generate millions of dollars in revenue, sell out sports stadiums, bring in millions of viewers on streaming platforms, and now they even receive news coverage from prominent sports media outlets like ESPN.

Need more proof of the success of esports? Well, currently, organizations from all the major American sports leagues such as Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Football League (NFL), and National Basketball Organization (NBA) are even getting into the realm of professional gaming and funding teams participating in some of the esports leagues I previously mentioned. And just recently, the massive cable TV provider company Comcast announced they plan to build a new $50 million arena specifically designed for esports competitions, called the “Fusion Arena,” in Philadelphia.

So, as you can see, esports is a rather big deal in 2019.

Now, let’s take a closer look at some new games that have come out in 2019 (and other titles coming out later in the year) that might soon be a part of this booming esports industry. All these games have some hype behind them and the potential to have a good competitive multiplayer mode (a must to be an esport). Here are my ten new potential esports games for 2019.

Dead or Alive 6

DoA6 10

Even before Dead or Alive 6 (DOA6) was released, the game’s director Yohei Shimbori made it known he wanted DOA6 to be esports-worthy. Here is a quote from Shimbori on Dead or Alive 6 and esports:

“…I’m very happy to see the esports movement has gotten bigger in recent years. I really want to work with fans to help DOA expand and reach that type of stage.

The DOA franchise isn’t as popular as the other major fighting game franchises — such as Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat — but it does have a loyal competitive fanbase. Recently, there was a major Dead or Alive 5 tournament at EVO 2018, which bodes well for the future of DOA6, considering a DOA game has already been tested in an esports environment.

The DOA franchise maintains its fanbase because it has a good mix of unique playable fighters, battle arenas, and exceptional gameplay mechanics.

Dead or Alive 6 is supposed to be a lot like the other games in the franchise — it has a lot of noob-friendly combos, so it will be accessible to casual players, but the game still has a high skill ceiling. There are many complicated combos, juggles, and reversal techniques for each character that take a lot of time to master.

Also, DOA6 is available on all the major platforms (PS4, Xbox One, and PC), and it has a free-to-play version. This is great for the game because a wide variety of gamers can try it out, and that should definitely help expand the current DOA fanbase.

DOA6 is a sophisticated 3D fighting game that certainly has esports potential.

Pokemon Sword and Shield

Pokemon 10

Did you think the Pokémon video games were just casual games meant for kids? Well, you’re wrong.

Competitive Pokémon video game tournaments have been going on for quite a long time. Every year, there’s the Pokémon World Championships event, which is supposed to be “the pinnacle of competitive Pokémon play.”

Pokémon Sword and Shield will introduce the eighth generation of Pokémon (I still remember when there was only 150…I’m old), so there’s going to be a lot of new trainable creatures that could be viable in competitive play.

Competitive Pokémon battling is interesting to analyze because it involves a lot of RNG, so while it does take a strong team of Pokémon and a good strategy to win a competitive Pokémon battle, you still need some good luck, too.

For those who aren’t familiar with RNG in video games, RNG means “random number generator.” This random number generator creates an arbitrary number that influences the outcome of certain events, item drops, etc.

In the video game series, a Pokémon’s attack hitting or missing its target is based on RNG, so that’s why I bring this up.

But there is still a high level of skill involved, and raising a Pokémon to be good for competitive play is extremely hard. Each Pokémon has its own unique stats; for example, every Pokémon has individual values (IVs), which lets the trainer know just how strong their Pokémon’s attack and defense stats can get.

Veteran players will often go through the tedious process of breeding a large amount of a specific Pokémon just to secure one with good IVs.

There’s a lot more to explain when it comes to competitive Pokémon battling, and you can read more about it on Smogon.com (a popular Pokémon website that is all about competitive battling).

I expect to see many Pokémon Sword and Shield esports tournaments.

Doom Eternal

Doom Eternal 10

The iconic Doom franchise isn’t exactly known as an esports title, but Doom Eternal might change this.

Doom Eternal will have its own competitive multiplayer, and though not much is known about it right now, the developers appear to be really dedicated to making it as good as the campaign.

Here’s a quote from the game’s director Marty Stratton on Doom Eternal’s multiplayer:

“We are working on a PvP component. It is new. It’s not an extension of what we did last time. So it’s new. It is something we’re developing internally, which we didn’t do last time. I think players are gonna really enjoy it.”

Also, early footage of Doom Eternal’s gameplay shows that the developers added some new wrinkles that could potentially enhance the multiplayer.

There’s wall climbing, a dash maneuver, and even a grappling hook.

These new forms of movements should increase the skill ceiling in Doom Eternal’s multiplayer and help make it a fun, competitive first-person shooter.

Here’s another reason why I think Doom Eternal might be viable as an esport: the Doom franchise has been around since 1993, and it still has a massive fanbase.

A game can’t be an esport without fan interest, but Doom Eternal probably won’t be dealing with a shortage of players.

Look out for Doom Eternal taking over the competitive FPS scene in 2019.

Madden NFL 20

Madden NFL 7

Competitive Madden tournaments have been going on ever since the franchise launched in 1998, and Madden NFL 20 — the next game in the popular football franchise — will most likely be featured in a lot of tournaments, too.

The biggest Madden esport event is the Madden Championship Series (MCS), which features all the best Madden players competing for an MCS belt and big cash prizes. Madden NFL 20 will probably be the main game played at next year’s MCS event.

Also, the actual NFL is committed to Madden esports. Here is a quote from the commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell, on esports:

“Competitive gaming and esports are one of the most exciting ways to engage a larger, younger and digitally savvy NFL audience.”

The best Madden players utilize football playbooks that include a mix of complex passing and running offense plays, plus a variety of different defensive schemes to keep their opponents confused. They’re also really good at audibling (changing a play on the fly) and making sure the players on their football team are always positioned in the right place on the field.

Competitive Madden involves a great deal of macro and micro management, so it’s truly impressive to watch a top Madden player execute their game plan.

No details about Madden NFL 20 have been released yet, but the competitive Madden community is certainly looking forward to playing it.

Stormdivers 6

This is probably the first time you’ve heard of the game Stormdivers, but it’s worth looking up — this upcoming battle royale game looks like it might have esports potential.

Housemarque is the developer of Stormdivers, and they’ve been working on this game since 2015.

So, obviously a lot of time and energy has already been invested in this game…but what is Stormdivers?

Stormdivers is a third-person battle royale game that will feature many complex combat situations. Much like Overwatch and Apex Legends, at the beginning of every game, players will get to choose from three different classes that have their own unique abilities. These abilities include the use of a jetpack, camouflage, and even teleportation.

And every character has access to a booster that will let them float around the map. As you can tell already, movement in Stormdivers will be rather sophisticated (which adds to its esports potential), so if you want to be good at this game, you’ll need to understand all the different movement techniques.

Stormdivers also won’t rely on RNG as much as the other battle royal games; players can complete mini-objectives throughout a match to obtain rare weapons/items.

PUBG and Fortnite have already proven the battle royale genre is suitable for the world of esports, so Stormdivers could end up being yet another great competitive battle royale title.

Mortal Kombat 11

Mk 11 10

The Mortal Kombat (MK) franchise is mostly known for its violent combat and over-the-top gory fatalities, and MK11 certainly has all that fun stuff, but it also looks like this game will be specifically targeting competitive players.

MK11 features a reconstructed combat system that will be more about strategy and timing, rather than constant mindless offense like the previous title MKX.

There were already some pro exhibition matches featured at the LA MK11 reveal event, and the pro players taking part in these matches seemed very impressed with the game.

One of those professional players, known as Biohazard, said this about MK11:

“I mean, in tournaments I’m sure the whole fact there’s not so many 50/50s will play a big part, you won’t be stressed about getting opened up by random *expletive.* A lot of it is neutral-based…it feels more like Street Fighter honestly…”

If you enjoy playing fighting games competitively, then you probably enjoyed reading that quote.

And for those who don’t know what a “50/50” is, here’s what you need to know: A 50/50 in a fighting game is a mix-up move that forces the defense player to prepare for two attacks. Most players frown at 50/50s because as the defensive player, if you guess wrong, you’re heavily punished — 50/50s are more about luck than skill.

MK11 having less 50/50s and more neutral gameplay means it has a lot of potential to be a great competitive fighting game.

Spellbreak

Spellbreak 4

Spellbreak is going to bring mages and all kinds of sorcery to the battle royale genre. Its unique, complex magical combat looks like it should be a whole lot of fun to experience, and it could possibly be great for competitive play, too.

Spellbreak is being developed by Proletariat Inc., and here’s how the design director Jesse Kurlancheek describes the game:

“Spellbreak is a face-paced [sic] game where players assume the role of battlemages who wield a wide variety of spells, sorceries, and magic items. They face off against other players in a ruined fantasy landscape, level up, and learn new skills and gather artifacts to become even more powerful over the course of a match.”

There will be many different classes of mages (11 confirmed so far), and they all have access to spells that deal different kinds of elemental damage — like ice, fire, electric, etc.

Spellbreak will also be using the Unreal Engine 4, which should only enhance its multiplayer experience.

And based on the chaotic, spell-heavy fights from Spellbreak’s Pre-Alpha gameplay, it looks like this game will have a high skill cap; be prepared to invest a lot of time into Spellbreak to master its complex magic combat system.

Also, here’s what the CEO of Proletariat had to say about Spellbreak as an esport on his Reddit account:

“When we think about esports with Spellbreak it is more a question of how strong of a competitive scene can we build and how will that last over time. We want to support it but we also can’t force, at the end of the day we want to make to [sic] most fun game possible that players love.”

Gears of War 5

Gears of War 5 3

The popular Gears of War (GOW) franchise already has an established esports scene, and you can learn more about it on the official GOW esports website.

So, though nothing about the Gears 5 multiplayer is known yet, competitive players expect it to be esports-friendly like GOW4.

Competitive GOW is all about tactical gameplay that involves fast movement to get cover, close-range Gnasher shotgun battles, and utilizing your roll maneuver at the right time to avoid enemy fire.

The developers of GOW4, The Coalition, adapted the franchise from Epic Games, so it was their first GOW, but they stayed true to the franchise’s roots and made sure the competitive multiplayer was good.

And I expect the multiplayer in Gears 5 to be just as good for competitive play.

Halo Infinite

Halo Infinite 2

Halo Infinite is supposed to get a full reveal at the upcoming E3 2019 event, and Halo fans everywhere have high expectations for its multiplayer.

Competitive Halo tournaments date all the way back to the days of Halo CE and Halo 2 (around 2006-2008). Halo 2 was the primary game featured at Major League Gaming (MLG) events and was basically the premier esport at the time.

And in 2019, there is still an active Halo esports scene; the Halo Championship Series (HCS) features Halo 5 tournaments, and there is also the upcoming HCS Invitational tournament that uses Halo 3 as its primary game.

Now the question is, will Halo Infinite have a good competitive multiplayer?

So far, the head of the Halo Infinite development team, Frank O’Connor, says he is “super confident and enthusiastic” about the broad appeal of Halo Infinite’s mp.

And though O’Connor admits he’s a “filthy casual” player, he still listens to the Halo community, so he wants the game to be fun for competitive Halo fans as well.

You can also read one of my previous blogs on Halo Infinite where I give more in-depth ideas about what I think the multiplayer needs to succeed.

Apex Legends

Apex Legends 1

Apex Legends is easily #1 on my list.

This unique free-to-play battle royale game came out of nowhere, and it was instantly a massive hit.

Apex Legends would be a great esport for many reasons:

  • King’s Canyon is a great default map that encourages fast, aggressive gameplay (so it’s fun to spectate)
  • The long time-to-kill leads to a lot of outplay moments — shooting your opponent first in Apex Legends doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll win that fight. You must have good gun skill to succeed
  • There’s a good variety of weapons, and the overall weapon balance is amazing (nothing feels overpowered)
  • There’s a nice mix of characters with their own special abilities that adds another layer of skill to the game

And I have many more positive things to say about the Apex Legends multiplayer, which you can read about in this Apex Legends blog.

So far, there have been a bunch of Twitch Rivals and Code Red competitive Apex Legends tournaments that have been successful (and these tournaments attracted a lot of viewers on Twitch).

It’s safe to say that at some point this game will probably get its own esports league (it’s an EA game, so the money is certainly there).

Closing

Thank you for reading my ten new potential esports games for 2019 blog.

Feel free to comment and let me know what game you think will be the next big esport.

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