ESports on consoles are more dead than alive. How did this happen and why is it still breathing? You read the esports news, right? Currently, few professional cyber sportsmen, and just fans of eSports, consider gaming consoles as a serious competitor to personal computers. 

Competitive games are also available on consoles. But can you compare the tournaments on sports simulators or fighting games with what happens in the championships for PC games?

The History of eSports on consoles

However, it all started with consoles. In 1978, the video game Space Invaders was released for arcade machines. The game became popular. In the early eighties, Space Invaders was ported to the Atari VCS. Almost immediately after that, a national tournament called the Space Invaders Championship was held in the U.S. To repeat the success of this event, organizers of eSports events have not been able to. Participation in the tournament involved more than 10 000 people!

In 1982, the very successful TV program Starcade was launched on U.S. television. For two years, video game fans have been trying to beat each other’s records in classic arcade games like Donkey Kong or Tron.

At around the same time, Twin Galaxies launched the Video Game Masters Tournament series. The series from 1983 to 1987 was considered the most prestigious in North America.

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The concept of “eSports” did not exist as such. Participants became participants in tournaments precisely for the love of the game; gamers in the eighties were not reminiscent of today’s cyber sportsmen.

This “golden age” of consoles lasted until the early nineties. The end of it was the emergence of new genres, and after it was the possibility to play with each other on personal computers via modem or local network. 

The killer of console eSports is John Carmack, the genius programmer from id Software. It was he who in 1993 created the legendary first-person shooter Doom, which was played by absolutely everyone. In 1996, the first Quake was released.

Large corporations began to explore new markets. In the world of video games, the first QuakeCon and BlizzCon festivals appeared. Gaming consoles were left on the back burner. There is only one place where consoles are not even going to be forgotten. That’s the United States. The United States is the only country in the world where one of the most popular eSports disciplines is the shooter Halo. It often leaves behind CS: GO or Overwatch.

American halo in the U.S. can be equated to American soccer. It is the premier national sport that is not played anywhere else. Halo is an American eSports. And most players prefer computers to Xboxes.

However, there are a couple of nuances that can cost Halo pros a lot. There is one general rule that most organizers of major tournaments hold sacred: competitions are always played only using PC versions of the games.

Blizzard also has a PC-only policy. The number of console gamers who play the company’s hit shooter Overwatch in total exceeds the number of PC players. But they are not allowed into tournaments. Do you play on Xbox or PlayStation? You’re welcome! Do you want to participate in Overwatch Contenders? Sorry, no. ” Nevertheless, bookmakers accept eSports predictions on Overwatch. 

The modern reality of eSports on console consoles

If you read esports news at, you know that personal computers do not have a monopoly on eSports because consoles have their share of eSports. But what about eSports on consoles? Which games will be good for the comfortable competition on the PlayStation or the Xbox?

PlayStation unquestionably leads the way in terms of tournament quality and quantity. Thanks to incredibly successful sales over the past few years, which are many times higher than Xbox sales.

“Little Brother” in eSports.

Much of the eSports community has long been forced to admit that consoles can’t compete equally with PCs in eSports. Yes, there are fighting games and simulated sports tournaments on consoles, but they can’t match the level of eSports tournaments on PC. It has become a well-known fact. Just look at the millions in prize money on tournaments for Dota2, CS:GO, and League of Legends.

On console, eSports enjoys high popularity with Mortal Kombat and FIFA, but the level of the main parameters of tournaments lags far behind the level of events on PC. The games’ popularity has declined noticeably, with fewer spectators and scarcer prize money. The current level of console tournaments, which can only be compared to the level of PCs tens of years ago, is a few tens of thousands of spectators and 10–40 thousand in prize money.

However, there are some exceptions. The high popularity of consoles has played a role, so there are rare tournaments with prize money of $200,000. These include the Xbox One FUT Champions Cup and perhaps the Overwatch PS4 League.

What disciplines are leading the way in console eSports?

The Ultimate Team Championship is the biggest FIFA tournament that takes place on consoles. It’s head and shoulders above other console events because its prize pool reaches $400,000.

FIFA is the main game of another tournament. The Interactive World Cup is less prestigious than its predecessor but is still considered one of the biggest. Although the game is the most popular discipline on consoles, soccer is not suitable for all countries. For example, in the U.S. and some other countries, it is not popular because of the presence of alternatives.

FIFA has become popular on consoles, primarily because of the comfortable and convenient controls. Controlling players in the soccer simulator with a mouse and keyboard is very uncomfortable, so tournaments began to be held on consoles, which are ideal for this kind of game.

On the other hand, a joystick is unsuitable for playing MOBA games and strategies. Controlling the game with it is very difficult, and achieving any dynamics and speed required for these games is simply impossible.

Apart from global tournaments, FIFA is popular as a game for local tournaments, which usually have small prize pools and the same participants, but are still popular.

Fighting games are another genre that is best suited to joysticks. Street Fighter is the most popular console fighting game. High-level tournaments, such as Capcom’s Pro Tour, have one feature, which is the use of specialized joysticks with keys and triggers that are ideal for character control. 

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The prize fund for such tournaments varies in the range of several hundred thousand dollars. For example, in 2017, Capcom and ELEAGUE held two large tournaments. The fund for the first was 380 thousand dollars, and the second, 250 thousand dollars.

It is worth remembering that the well-known game Mortal Kombat, although it has gained great popularity and recognition as a discipline, is at the level of small local tournaments.


While eSports on PlayStation and Xbox live and will live on, it is worth acknowledging that the opportunities on the PC are much wider: more disciplines, major tournaments, and huge prize pools. Moreover, you don’t need to buy an expensive console because even a relatively inexpensive PC will do for playing CS:GO. 

Are there any console-based eSports titles? Sure, we do. But unless something drastically changes, it will forever remain on the margins.