Blizzard’s squad-based FPS Overwatch took the “Best esport game” award at The Game Awards show last night. Overwatch received nomination alongside Valve’s CS:GO and Dota 2, Epic Games’ Fortnite and Riot Games’ League of Legends.
This is the third “Best esport” title that Overwatch has taken at The Game Awards. In 2016, Overwatch inherited the throne from CS:GO and has been dominating the category ever since. The record itself, however, came to question the validity of the award. Although in 2018, Overwatch developed into a massive league with a growing following, the early years of the esport were humble. In 2016 and 2017, Overwatch was played largely online. South Korea had the most developed scene of them all, featuring regular LAN leagues.
At the same time, Overwatch’s competition was making huge strides in their development. CS:GO’s fanbase was ever growing, Dota 2 was rethinking their year-long circuit format, and League of Legends was taking steps towards franchising its major regions.
Alongside Overwatch, esports organization Cloud9 also enjoyed their own The Game Awards hat-trick. It’s been an eventful 2018 for Jack Etienne’s League of Legends team, helping Cloud9 to their third “Best esport team” title in a row.
In October, Cloud9’s League of Legends rebuilt after a horrible Spring Split to finish top 4 at Worlds, upsetting the likes of Gen.G and Afreeca Freecs along the way. But this was only one of many accolades that the organization banked this year. The CS:GO team opened the year strong, winning the ELEAGUE Boston Major on home turf. Overwatch’s London Spitfire followed, getting crowned the inaugural Overwatch League champions. To top it off, Cloud9’s Rocket League roster also brought home trophies, taking home the RLCS Season 6 finals, Nov. 9-11. In addition, Cloud9’s LoL coach Bok “Reapered” Han-gyu also took the “Best esports coach” award.
Both Cloud9 and Overwatch are now the winningest entities in their respective category in The Game Awards’ five-year history. In the other esports categories, Dominique “SonicFox” McLean beat the likes of Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao, Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev and Bang “JJoNak” Sung-hyeon to win “Best esports player”. The “Best esports event” went to the League of Legends World Championship, with Eefje “Sjokz” Depoortere also taking “Best esports host”.
Although it missed on “Best esports game”, Fortnite took home two other awards: “Best ongoing game” and “Best multiplayer game”.
Earlier print of the story mistakenly stated that it was the Cloud9 organization as a whole that took the award, and not the League of Legends team in particular. The article has been changed to reflect the truth.