Australia’s Top eSports Online Games

By Ryan White Updated: May 2022

Australia is one of those countries where esports is a big part of youth culture. Yet, how has this come to be? Esports is not an isolated phenomenon, in fact, people have wanted to compete in video games for the longest time.  It wasn’t until the 1990s that the first opportunities to do so really showed.  

Esports began as a “joke” bet between two South Korean broadcasters who wagered whether they could televise StarCraft, one of the most popular real-time strategies (RTS) of all time. While no party expected the gambit to pay off, it actually did and set in motion a process that would soon take the world over.  International audiences began tuning in to Korean streams to witness some of the best StarCraft plays just so they are able to have an enjoyable time watching competitive video gaming. In the United States, Mike Sepso created Major League Esports in a bid to emulate the big, franchised sports leagues and give video games more visibility. 

In Europe, DreamHack was beginning to host its video gaming festival, allocating a significant part of its to competitive gaming as well. Players from all over the world soon became aware of a new phenomenon, electronic sports which quickly got shortened to esports.

Esports in Australia: Where It All Started?

The original of esports in Australia isn’t quite well-documented. For the most part, competitive video gaming was a little late arriving in Australia. Most people in the country are actually quite passionate about online casino games. However, with the advancement of the Internet and better connectivity opportunities, video games have become a truly global phenomenon and in Australia no less.  

esports online

Australia was featured on virtually every big tournament circuit including the World Cyber Games and the Electronic Sports Leagues. Sure, those early days in the 2000s were a little helter-skelter, but nobody was really certain what they were doing, and slowly communities began to form. The ESL started hosting a range of events for Australians and soon after, more local communities began to appear. Most of them were founded in the 2010s, and today, we have some excellent choices when it comes to competitive outfits, including:

  • Australian Esports University League
  • Australian Esports League
  • High School Esports League Australia and New Zealand

Naturally, Australians compete in many international events as well. This includes the Dota Pro Circuit, WePlay and Blast Premier events, ESL competitions, and Intel Extreme Masters occasions. Overall, the Australian esports community has been developing at a decent pace, even somewhat belatedly.

The Most Popular Esports Games in Australia

For the longest time, there has been an ongoing argument about whether online games or esports games are more popular. While the debate still rages on, esports is becoming extremely popular by the sheer volume of people watching and participating, as commentators, fans, spectators, and especially players. Today, esports has a well-developed ecosystem that is focused on several main games.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is perhaps the most prominent esports title in the country. There are numerous leagues, big prize purses, and generally a very high interest in the game, making it one of the first games that Australians associate with electronic sports, and for a good reason. Presently, Australia seems to have some of the best esports teams globally insofar as CS:GO goes.

Heroes of the Storm

Even though Heroes of the Storm is not as supported as an electronic sport by Blizzard, the game is thriving as a competitive option in Australia.  Due to its easy learning curve, the game is a distinguished first choice for many players who are fans of the MOBA genre but want to minimize the entry-level. Heroes of the Storm is a fantastic choice for anyone who is looking to have a good time playing esports in Australia.

Dota 2

Dota 2 is a more advanced version of Heroes of the Storm where the entry skill you need to succeed is much higher. Nonetheless, this has not stopped Australians from becoming some of the most talented and successful players in the game. Dota has a global circuit known as the Dota Pro Circuit, and yes – the land down under is part of it, with teams and players playing at the highest possible level.

StarCraft II

StarCraft was one of the world’s first esports competitions and as you can expect, it’s actually quite popular. StarCraft II, or the original’s sequel, is one of the most widely played games today in Australia, offering a blend of high-paced and strategic play. Australia has a well-documented experience with its SC competitive scene, having seen stars such as deL and dAncerS lead the way.

What’s Next for Esports in Australia?

Esports in Australia is definitely in a better spot than they were in the early 2000s. While the country did take some time to properly catch up to the global scene the results have been quite promising.  Meanwhile, the country’s gaming market ranks #14th in the world with total game revenues of $1.3 billion and 12.4 million players. A good part of those are specifically interested in esports, as the ecosystem is one of the strongest when it comes to building communities.  Australia is now better connected to the rest of the world, and it is constantly seeking to connect with the world’s most competitive gaming communities.