The Game Awards has been running since 2014 and has, over time, come to be well regarded as the definitive awards show for the gaming industry, much in the same way the Oscars are viewed in relation to the film industry. Games that win a game award in their category are catapulted to wider acclaim and recognition, such as in the case of indie game Hades, developed by the small studio Supergiant Games. In 2020, Hades won Best Indie Game and Best Action Game, beating stiff competition from much larger, and bigger budget studios and games, earning Supergiant Games a reputation as a force to be reckoned with.
The category of Best Esports Event is a relatively recent addition to the roster, first appearing in the 2018 ceremony. That initial award went to the 2018 edition of the League of Legends World Championship. Since then, the LoL World Championship has won every year, making them the strong favorites for the 2021 ceremony in December.
As a sure sign that Esports is slowly becoming an accepted part of the sporting world, bookmakers have begun regularly listing odds on major competitions like the LoL World Championship. If you’re rooting for a particular Esports team in any of the events explored below, you can take advantage of the various free bet offers on these platforms to back your squad with zero risk. As these major competitions continue to grow in popularity as the leading edge of Esports, betting on all aspects of the competitive gaming phenomenon will likely continue to proliferate on sports books into the future.
Without further-ado, let’s take a quick tour through the history and background of each of the nominees, and explore what makes them worthy of the prestigious prize:
2021 Valorant Champions Tour: Stage 2
Valorant is a new 5v5 tactical FPS that brings together fast twitch based gameplay with deep levels of strategy, making for a compelling title that has been eagerly embraced by the professional Esports world. The Champions Tour: Stage 2, which took place in Reykjavik Iceland, was one of several stages in Riot Games international competition circuit, and a knock-out stage on the way to the Valorant Champions final. Given Valorant’s release in 2020, this is the first time the nascent game and its accompanying event have had a chance to compete for the prize. As such, nomination at this early stage is commendable but perhaps unsurprising given Riot Games’ wealth of experience in putting on Esports events.
PUBG Mobile Global Championship 2020
A note-worthy new entry this year is the PUBG Mobile Global Championship. It marks the first time a smartphone-based Esports event has been nominated for the prize. PUBG, a free-to-play title that started life as an off-shoot of the game DayZ, before morphing into the core originator of the battle royale multiplayer genre, is extremely popular in parts of the world such as India, where it is the most played video game. That the mobile championship is being highlighted is significant, as PUBG, globally, is most played on smart devices.
PGL Major Stockholm 2021
This was the 16th iteration of the long running Counter Strike: Global Offensive event, the PGL Major. Held in Stockholm, Sweden, 24 teams descended on the Avicii Arena to compete for a part of the $2 million prize pool. The Counter Strike games are among the most traditional FPS Esports games, and events for them still manage to draw huge crowds from across the world. This year marks the first time the PGL Major has been nominated for the award.
The International 10
DOTA2’s premier competition, hosted by developers Blizzard Entertainment, started the MOBA craze that Riot Games have built on with their League of Legends competitions. The International, year-on-year, boasts ever larger prize pools – the biggest in Esports. This is achieved through the sum being crowd-funded by fans through purchases of DOTA2’s battle pass. This year’s prize pool was a staggering $40 million, with $18 million going to the first place winners Team Spirit.
2021 League of Legends World Championship
The League of Legends World Championship is the biggest and most prestigious Esports event in the world. Despite not matching the astronomical prize pools of its competitor, The International, the LoL World Championship serves as the premier global Esports event that all others measure themselves against. Having won every iteration of this award previously, the 2021 League of Legends World Championship is the odd-on winner of the 2021 prize.