Five esports games with huge potential that ended up disappointing us

Disappointment is mostly about our perceptions. When it comes to games, if you spend hours of your time on a game, you most likely won’t consider it as a disappointment. You need to think about the big picture: are you a part of a very small community that couldn’t keep the game viable in the long run, or is the game able to attract many players? That is what I consider when I say potential, and disappointment.

Many games could be considered a part of that definition, but these five are my picks as their potential was on the same level with League of Legends, Counter-Strike or any other game that you could consider “successful”. Remember them with us and decide for yourself if you agree with the statements below.

Shards of War

Bigpoint’s attempt at a new MOBA with revolutionary mechanics, Shards of War, was really considered to be a strong candidate to compete with League of Legends when it was first released. Marketing strategy of the game was similar to that of VALORANT’s, making lots of streamers in especially large markets like Turkey play the game at the same time. Did it work?

Sadly, LoL was having the best time of its history when Shards of War was released, and the game just couldn’t get the global attraction it needed to fund itself. The “revolutionary” mechanics weren’t liked by many players, as it was hard to get used to playing MOBA with W-A-S-D. Thus, Bigpoint discontinued the game shortly after.

Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm is probably one of the most disappointing games in this list, and after Shards of War, it’s the most unsuccessful one. Featuring characters from Blizzard’s different games, HotS had so much potential to be one of the greatest games in the history, but this freemium MOBA just wasn’t able to attract widespread attention like League of Legends did.

After 2018, HotS’ esports was discontinued and most of the developers moved on to other projects. Just when we thought the game was dead, the game’s community single handedly revived the game with their own efforts, and what made HotS unprofitable for Blizzard made it live longer. How long can HotS go on, and for how long will its loyal community keep supporting the game? We will see.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment


This game is one of the most successful ones in the history of esports games if you consider its first few years. However, for most gamers, Overwatch is another unsuccessful attempt from Blizzard and nothing more. Overwatch offered a new FPS gameplay experience with similar mechanics to Team Fortress 2. It had the hype, became the game of the year in 2016, and was considered as one of the greatest games in history. Why could OW be a disappointment then?

Reaching widespread popularity, Overwatch gave so much to its player base in terms of creative content. However, when the hype of OW’s release started to drop after a couple of years, Blizzard wasn’t able to keep Overwatch attractive for FPS players. There were talks of Overwatch 2 for a long time, and they weren’t able to release that in time either, damaging the game’s popularity and the perception of Overwatch in the minds of players.

Development of Overwatch 2 was hindered because of the lawsuits around Activision Blizzard as well. As the company is bought by Microsoft now, there is a chance that Overwatch could get back to its high time. Considering its past mistakes, Microsoft Gaming is experienced about such subjects, and OW just might be their first success at reviving a game.


Published by Hi-Rez Studios and Tencent Games, Smite is also one of the games that had huge potential, but ended up disappointing the gamers. This game also introduced a new MOBA experience, and you could play the game on consoles unlike Dota 2 or League of Legends. Smite is played from a third-person point of view, unfamiliar for a MOBA, and you play gods from many pantheons, including Hindu, Greek, Norse, Slavic and more.

Image: Smite

However, although most of its player base considered Smite to be an alternative for League of Legends and stayed loyal to their game, Smite just wasn’t able to attract widespread attention as well. Considering the content they have, different interesting mythology figures, they should’ve, and they must’ve done a better job at marketing. The game stayed small, and its esports stayed small as well, far from competing with Dota 2 or LoL.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

Image courtesy of Krafton, Inc.

Well, just like Overwatch, PUBG is one of the best and most successful games in history, I humbly accept that. Our focus is on disappointments and potentials though. PUBG, published by Krafton, was the killer of H1Z1, the game that kindled the Battle Royale fever. It was a paid game (it is free today) and before it was surpassed by Fortnite, PUBG was probably the most played game of its time.

What happened to make it a disappointment for us, casual gamers and esports fans? Today, playing PUBG on PC is a very painful experience for new players and players on lower levels. The influx of bots and cheats didn’t help at all. While PUBG Mobile is an incredibly successful game, I can’t consider PUBG to be the same game it was in 2018. Esports-wise, PUBG Mobile also had more attention from its player base and the developer for the last couple of years, which led to some PUBG players moving on to new FPS labels like VALORANT.

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