In 2018, the biggest esports games all managed to award more money than ever before. However, a handful of battle royale titles sneaked into the top 5 esports games that were ranked according to their total prize pool. The top 10 games in 2018 awarded over $130 million in total prizes. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the biggest esports games for 2018 that were ranked according to the full prize pool.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, to be honest. Dota 2 managed to award the highest in prize money thanks to the yearly The International tournament. In 2018, The International prize pool awarded a jaw-dropping $25.5 million. However, there were also nine other tournaments that paid out over $1 million in 2018.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
2018 witnessed a significant number of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournaments, totalling 370, both small and large. The World Electronic Sports Games tournament in 2017 awarded around $1.67 million in prize money to both women’s and men’s tournament. This doesn’t include the six other events that boasted with a $1 million prize pool. CS: GO has witnessed an increase in annual prize pool money of around $3 million for two consecutive years.
Epic Games decided to commit $100 million to prize pools for Fortnite in the 2018/19 season, and we witnessed close to $20 million of that towards the end of 2018. The game has managed to attract both celebrities and streamers to assist in catapulting the battle royale title into the mainstream arena. If the prize pool funding continues for the publisher in 2019, it will increase fourfold at the very least.
League of Legends
The primary difference when you look at the top 4 esports games and the rest on our list is staggering, to say the least with League of Legends paying out more than double the prize pool of the game in 5th position. League of Legends continues to increase the prize pool every year with a $2 million increase since 2017. The competition awarded $6.45 million during the World Championship.
Things got quite serious with PUBG in 2018 where the publisher managed to award over $1 million in prize money since 2017. The Global Invitational during 2018 led to pay out over $2 million in prize money along with another $586,000 during qualifiers. There’s no doubt that 2019 will see yet another increase from the publisher which could double the prize pool going forward.
Thanks to the release of Overwatch League, the game nearly double its prize pool of $3.56 million since 2017. The Overwatch League accounted for around $3.5 million of that where $2.1 million was awarded to the Overwatch Contenders league. Overwatch League managed to attract loads of hype during 2018. However, with the structure of the league that mimics traditional sports along with the lack of a World Championship tournament when compared to other esports titles, the overall prize pool fell short of making it into the top 4.