Esports isn’t coming, it’s already here. And if you are in the midst of starting your own esports program or looking to, one of the first questions you’ll run up against is simple: What games should the students play?
There are a few things to consider. First, it’s important to integrate student voice into the process. Have them discuss games and the pros and cons of each, or vote on games they might want to try. You’ll want games that are age-appropriate, too, and in line with school and district policies. But even with those considerations, there’s a world of games to explore, and more coming all the time.
We want to help. In this post, we’ve highlighted some of the top games in esports today, each with a short description to help you — and your students, administrators, and parents — choose games that are engaging, competitive, and appropriate.
Have a game or games that you love playing with your esports team? Let us know in the comments!
The Madden NFL franchise of games has been around since 1988 — that’s 32 years. Feel old yet? Regardless, the franchise continues and is as popular as ever. The game is supported on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows, and includes a huge library of plays and the entire NFL roster, putting players not only in the position of the athletes, but of the team managers and coaches as well.
Football may mean the kind depicted in Madden 20 to Americans, but to the rest of the world, it means soccer. The FIFA series, like Madden, has been around for years and puts players in control of the entire team franchise as they compete against other teams. You can play FIFA on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
Consider it the basketball variation on the theme set by Madden and FIFA. It’s a popular team game, even played by teams that are a part of real-world NBA franchises. It’s available on Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and on Stadia.
Whether or not Rocket League is a sport game, exactly, may be up for debate. It’s popularity isn’t, with hundreds of thousands of people playing the soccer-with-cars team game around the clock. The game is supported on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. It also currently supports play on macOS and Linux computers, but that support will end in March 2020.
Super Smash Bros: Ultimate
A classic party game, this Nintendo fighting game puts the company’s beloved world of characters together for a massive, cartoony battle in multiplayer mode. It’s available only on Nintendo’s Switch platform.
Fortnite Battle Royale
A sibling to the Fortnite survival and building game, this immensely popular version pits players in a massive brawl to determine the last person standing. Notably, this game is free-to-play and available on Microsoft Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, as well as iOS, Android, and the Nintendo Switch.
League of Legends
League of Legends is a MOBA — a massive online battle arena. Millions of players get online during peak times to carry out giant, real-time battles in this multiplayer fantasy world. One of the most popular tournament games, it’s available on Microsoft Windows and macOS.
Learn More About Esports
Of course, this list is just the tip of the iceberg. Explore some resources like this guide from the British Esports Association or this blog entry from the North American Scholastic Esports Federation.Photo: Anthony Brolin