The esports industry is a lot more complex than what meets the eye at first. Even though in the contest of sports vs. esports betting, we always do thorough comparisons of the two niches, the reality is that esports is much more complex. Sports are sports – there’s football, basketball, volleyball, baseball, and so on. Esports are so much more – it basically consists of a plethora of video game genres, only one of which reflects on conventional sports. Let’s call that genre sports esports – it’s a paradox, I know, but what can we do?

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What is a Sports Game?

Sports games, as their name suggests, are based on conventional sports. FIFA is based on the worldwide popular game of football; NBA 2K is based on the growing popularity of NBA and basketball across the globe; Madden is based on the most popular sport in the United States, American football.

However, some games take a step outside the margins of conventional sports. Rocket League is the perfect example, mixing football rules with racing cars and super-speed power-ups. It offers a unique experience and, thanks to a lively esports scene, won’t be going away anytime soon.

A Proper Equivalent to the Real Thing

To put things slightly differently – sports games are pretty much a digital equivalent to the real thing. A proper one, mind you. We’re no longer living in an era of arcade sports games. We’re talking fully-fledged sports simulations, though some of them do have certain arcade(ish) elements to boost the fun factor.

Racing games are all about immersion and realism, though. They’ve come to the point where real-life racing stars spend hours and hours of real practice in digital simulation environments. Improving performance using digital simulations is not that new… but it is in sports/gaming waters.

Sports games have always been popular. Back in the days of PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3, there wasn’t a schoolkid in Europe who wasn’t, at least from time to time, playing a lengthy FIFA session with their buddies.

Today, though, the popularity is on a whole new level thanks to highly competitive online multiplayer modes. Couch multiplayer still exists, but it’s getting nowhere near enough attention like its online counterpart.

That said, let’s go through the three primary reasons behind rapidly growing sports games’ popularity!

Similar Action to Conventional Sports

As mentioned earlier, sports games deliver action that’s similar to conventional sports… similar to the real thing. Especially in these trying times, getting a good old taste of sports, be it in a virtual fashion, can do you a world of good. Plus, with online game modes as competitive and addictive as they come, the popularity of sports video games comes as no surprise.

Thrill of the Chase

Games like FIFA and NBA 2K have rich online multiplayer game modes. Not only are they competitive but also include numerous ways of reeling players in and continuously giving them fresh milestones and challenges they can look forward to. The thrill of the chase is real, and it’s what’s keeping the best sports games alive!

A Plethora of Betting Options

Last but not least – the best sports video games always have exceptional betting coverage. Esports betting sites have recognized their popularity a long time ago and always go out of their way to provide their users with deep betting markets.

This isn’t just the case with FIFA but with most other sports games too… though we have to point out FIFA is by far the most popular game of the bunch. It has several massive events throughout the year, as well as numerous league-like competitions spreading across several months.

History of Sports Video Games

If we’re going to talk about the history of sports video games, we might as well go all the way back to 1972 and the introduction of Pong. Not only was it the first sports video game but the first commercially successful arcade game as well.

A decade later, in 1982, EA was founded and it soon became the primary maker of sports video games. John Madden, PGA tour, NHL, and FIFA were some of the most popular early video games based on real sports.

The Growth of FIFA Esports Scene

What about FIFA esports? How did EA Sports’ football simulation suddenly become the biggest competitive sensation in esports? Well, it has to do with proper sponsorships, interest groups who recognized the importance of football digitalization, and FIFA’s highly competitive online multiplayer which kept on showing exponential growth year in and year out.

We all know MOBA and FPS games are by far the most important genres in the esports industry. People adore games like CSGO, Dota 2, VALORANT, and League of Legends, so the fact that MOBA and FPS belong to the top of the food chain is nothing surprising.

However, sports games are coming up in the world too! They might not have massive numbers, but they’re gaining traction and are bound to make a name for themselves out here.

When talking about the best sports games, a handful of titles immediately come to mind. FIFA, Madden, NBA, Rocket League; these are the biggest names of the bunch. They have massive player bases, fans from all over the world, as well as professionally organized esports competitions that typically get adequate online betting coverage.

Let’s take a closer look!

FIFA

When we talk about the best sports games, we have to talk about FIFA! Even though many label it as just another money-grabbing scheme by EA; people keep buying FIFA games year in and year out so its popularity is always on an upward spiral.

What makes FIFA so special? What makes it the most popular sports game out there? Well, we see three key reasons here:

  • First and foremost, EA Sports’ FIFA is the game about the most important of all unimportant things in the world – football! As such, it was always going to be extremely popular.
  • Second, FIFA holds all necessary licenses for a legit feeling of being “in a game of football”. The number of available teams and leagues is a mile above every other football game out there.
  • Third – FIFA’s online multiplayer offers a highly competitive environment and a bunch of timed incentives that keep players hooked and craving for more. Ultimate team is what it’s all about!

But, FIFA isn’t just awesome to play! EA Sports’ football simulation also possesses an exceptional esports scene too. It’s the best sports game as far as esports exposure is concerned. With competitions like FIFA Global Series, eChampions League, eWorld Cup and similar, the FIFA esports scene definitely holds great value.

NBA 2K

Next up, NBA 2K! Even though it’s not as widely popular as FIFA, everyone’s favorite basketball simulation still possesses a ton of charm! The game’s popularity far exceeds North America and its NBA fanbase, with players from all over the world eager to get themselves into a virtual game of hoop.

Much like FIFA, NBA 2K doesn’t have any competition as far as basketball games go. This is a double-edged sword, in both cases, with the winning recipes getting incremental improvements year in and year out. NBA 2K has esports events, though on a much smaller scale than FIFA. You can bet on NBA too, but don’t expect continuous coverage.

Madden

Unlike NBA’s worldwide exposure, Madden is mostly played in the States. The NFL is a Major League powerhouse and its digital counterpart is putting great effort into expanding the player base. The Madden Championship Series, commonly known as the MCS, delivers top-tier esports action and pins the best Madden players up against each other for hefty cash prizes. The whole championship culminates with the Madden Bowl, the game’s digital equivalent of Super Bowl.

iRacing

Often dubbed as the original esports racing game, iRacing offers multiple racing disciplines and a complex virtual racing environment in which skilled players can truly thrive. This is the pinnacle of virtual racing, featuring full team racing functionalities, private radio channels for in-game comms, driver swapping, full race grids, and even an official sporting code, professional committees, and more.

iRacing sports several major events throughout the year, some of which are thoroughly covered by online esports betting websites. The prize pools vary from year to year, but they’re typically over $500,000 on a yearly basis.

Rocket League

Rocket League is a mixture of football and racing, a seemingly perfect sports game featuring a rich online multiplayer and a centralized competitive environment known as the Rocket League Championship Series.

As some of you might already know, Epic Games acquired Rocket League back in 2019 and have since pushed the game to all-new heights. Rocket League is now free to play, though it does have a ton of microtransactions. The most important thing is the fact that it still boasts a healthy esports scene and a highly competitive multiplayer that keeps players from quitting.

F1 Racing

Even though iRacing is the most popular esports title for digital racing enthusiasts, we should not forget about F1 racing either. While it doesn’t have such an active esports scene, F1 games always bring forth impeccable realism and advanced graphics that put to shame most other racing titles out there.

F1 racing games jumped to popularity after the outbreak of the pandemic. With news of the entire sports scene coming to a halt, organizers were quick to make a switch from real formula 1 racetracks to virtual ones. Virtual F1 racing became a thing in a matter of weeks. Unfortunately, the game couldn’t keep its popularity later on. Nowadays there are no more big tournaments you can watch and bet on.

How to Bet on Sports Games?

Don’t worry, betting on sports games is not complicated. We’re talking about legit real money betting here, so the first thing you’ll have to do is find yourself a proper esports betting site.

After finding one, your next step is to register and deposit some funds. You can find the best payment methods for esports betting here. After you’ve deposited enough funds to get things going, it’s time to find your favorite esports games and available betting lines.

Differences between Betting on Sports Games and Virtual Games

Online betting platforms feature both esports betting and virtual sports betting. The differences between the two are enormous. Basically, we’re looking at two completely different branches of digital entertainment/betting markets. Allow us to elaborate:

  • Esports (sports games included) betting is an online betting category that’s based on professionally-organized events in video games, played by professional esports players adhering to comprehensive competitive rules and structural integrity.
  • Virtual betting is an online betting category that’s based on artificial intelligence. The AI controls all aspects of virtual games like football, basketball, baseball and similar. There is no human interaction involved other than betting, meaning everything is based on random number generation.

Biggest Sports Games Events to Bet on

As mentioned earlier, only a small portion of the best sports games actually have active and healthy esports scenes. We’re mainly referring to FIFA, Rocket League, and iRacing. Here’s a closer look at the biggest sports games’ events you can bet on:

FIFA eWorld Cup

FIFA eWorld Cup is arguably the biggest sports game competition in the world. It attracts the finest players battling it out against each other with the pride and pressure of the entire nation on their shoulders. The stakes don’t come much higher than this, that’s for sure!

It’s not just the eWorld Cup, mind you. EA Sports FIFA is the basis of numerous other digital equivalents of popular football competitions, including the likes of Champions League, Nations League, and the top five European leagues too (La Liga, Serie A, Premier League, Bundesliga, and Ligue 1).

eNASCAR iRacing Series

eNASCAR iRacing Series might not have a massive audience, but the hardcore fans are and always will be there for the pure thrill of competitive virtual racing. Thanks to lucrative sponsorship deals (f.e. Coca Cola is sponsoring the 2022 iteration), a number of vocal enthusiasts, and a professionally-organized and well-structured competition, eNASCAR iRacing Series is to keep on growing for years to come.

Rocket League Championship Series

Last but not least – the RLCS! It’s been around since 2016 and has successfully finished ten seasons. The prize pools vary from year to year, just like the regional competitions as well as the structure and locations of the finals.

Overall, we’re talking about a top-tier competition that’s featuring a fully franchised system with enclosed lower-tier competition in the form of Rocket League Rival Series. The game’s switch to free to play has been a crucial success, opening the flood gates and inviting an even bigger pool of talented youngsters.

What about the betting side of things? No worries, betting on Rocket League Championship Series is alive and well, thank you for asking! Esports betting websites have decent coverage of the market, so you’ll have no issues with finding lines to bet on.


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FAQ

Best Sports Video Games FAQs

Sports games are basically digital equivalents of conventional sports like football, basketball, and football. But, in some cases (Rocket League) they represent a crazy mixture of sports and cars to deliver a unique and authentic experience that wouldn’t be possible in the real world.

Over the last few years, the best sports games are continuously blurring the lines between virtual/digital and conventional sports. The 2020 COVID outbreak is the perfect example – it forced sports organizations to quickly stop all sports contests and switch to virtual sporting grounds in FIFA, NBA 2K, and similar.

The best sports games are as follows:

  • FIFA
  • NBA 2K
  • Rocket League
  • iRacing
  • Madden
  • Formula 1

Some sports games are free to play and you can download them either via Steam or their dedicated launcher. Others, you can buy via Steam, Origin, Epic Games, or similar online video game stores.

Whether or not betting on sports game is legal depends, among other factors, on where you live. If your country deems betting on esports legal, then all you need to do is find a licensed gambling operator which offers esports bets and you should be good to go!

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