Now that we are almost one month into 2019, it’s time to see what this new year has in store for us, esports-wise. The big names will of course keep doing what they do, some with major changes, others on well-known formula.
We must also keep an eye on some challengers and newcomers that plan on claiming their share of the market.
We have selected some interesting titles that we will hear about in 2019.
First off, we do not see the big current actors going out any time soon, and some games such as DotA 2, Counter Strike: GO, Rainbow Six: Siege, FIFA, Call of Duty, Rocket League and Overwatch will just keep on doing what they do, with the same formats, circuits etc.
Others are trying to bring new things in the mix, like the franchising for League of Legends, but ultimately, spectating-wise, it should not break your habits.
Unfortunately, it will not be the case for all games, and Blizzard recently announced it was stopping esports activities around Heroes of the Storm, so the game competitive scene will only be alive through community tournaments.
Bad news for Valve too, as their Artifact game really has trouble taking off, and they will have to bring a new vision to the game if they want it to compete with the other Card Games out there…
But let’s move on to clearer skies, with games that will probably leave a lasting mark on 2019, whereas they are newcomers, or plan exciting new things for their new season!
First off, newly released Super Smash Bros Ultimate will probably know a flourishing year, especially now that Nintendo has really started investing in esports. Some tournaments are already announced, and great things are to be expected. Pretty much the same can be said for Dragon Ball FighterZ, which has only growth in competitive interest since its release.
Two other games are on our radar, namely Magic the Gathering: Arena and PUBG, with their large scale circuits announced, they both are in a hit or miss situation, especially given the concurrence they are facing in their respective domains.
Speaking of the concurrence, PUBG is of course often compared to Fortnite, which is currently the most played game around the globe. But it still has to prove it has what it takes to become a successful esports title, and the 2018 experience has shown it was popular, but the game must find its format and pace, which PUBG has apparently found with their Pro League.
On the topic of Card Games, the main contender, Hearthstone, is to undergo some important changes for the next season, and after Heroes of the Storm, fans were getting anxious. We will know more next month, but Blizzard should not drop what is currently its most successful esports title (though Overwatch receives much more love).
Moving on to fighting games, we already mentioned Dragon Ball FighterZ, who is coming in a landscape where established titles like Street Fighter and Tekken are king, but some other challengers are on their way, with the new installments of the Soul Calibur and Mortal Kombat series. Hard to tell which will be voted in by the community, and there is probably room for several of them, given their different styles.
And it would be a mistake to forget mobile games in all of this. Fortnite, PUBG and Hearthstone all have their mobile versions, but some exclusive mobile titles are also going strong, like Clash Royale (and new Brawl Stars by Supercell about to make its entrance), Arena of Valor, Mobile Legends or Critical Ops! They might be less talked about, or even frowned upon, but their qualities and interest they generate are very real!
Finally, 2019 might be the year the Real-Time Strategy comes back to the front of the stage, with Starcraft II still alive (though in smaller circles), with the revival of the Warcraft III series. We doubt that Blizzard will take the reins to drive a new competitive scene, but we must not underestimate the power of nostalgia of the game that re-invented modern strategy and created the MOBA genre…
All in all, 2018 has been a tremendous year for esports, with records beaten on a monthly basis, and it is not looking like it is slowing down any time soon! Success stories happened, and games will keep building on them, whereas new ones will try to claim their spot in the fray, so it’s time to step right in and let your voice be heard, and skill be witnessed!