Earlier today, The Esports Observer published an “Impact Index” that used factors such as monthly active players, distributed esports winnings, and Twitch hours watched to place the most prominent PC esports into a pyramid of ranked tiers.
The esports community promptly began to blow up TEO’s mentions with criticisms of the ranking, with most observers expressing confusion over the website’s classification of Overwatch as a “Tier Two” esport. After all, the Overwatch League regularly brings in high viewership numbers, large prize pools, and respectable player salaries, and is currently undergoing rapid growth as it expands into a city-based league.
According to TEO, the Tier One PC esports are Dota 2, League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and—controversially—Fortnite: Battle Royale. Some critics took umbrage at TEO’s choice to rank Fortnite above Overwatch, pointing out the fact that Fortnite, despite its casual popularity and high prize pools, doesn’t have a competitive scene nearly as structured as the Overwatch League.
Other commenters criticized Dota’s ranking, arguing that, though the MOBA boasts massive prize pools at events such as The International, it rarely commands the viewership that the Overwatch League garners on a weekly basis. However, some observers defended Dota’s spot in Tier One, pointing to its storied history as a prominent esport.
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The potential underranking of Overwatch was the biggest controversy to come out of the article, but fans of some other esports bemoaned the list’s apparent exclusion of their favorite titles.
The Esports Observer has responded to the blowback, promising to put together an updated graphic that will give more detailed justifications for each esport’s tier placement—and include console esports such as Super Smash Bros. Until then, Overwatch fans will have to get used to this brave new world—one in which their esport of choice is ranked alongside games such as HearthStone and Rainbow Six.