The best online games to start playing in 2023

By William Davis

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Jun 20, 2023

Reading time: 5 min

The world of online gaming has changed a lot in the last decade. Once a novelty meant to add longevity to single-player releases, multiplayer is now the default way to play the most popular games in the world. This has led to massive competitive and casual scenes, with AAA releases potentially raking in millions of dollars. That also means that gamers are flush with choices, and finding a new game can often feel like a commitment.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is still going strong

First up is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, or CSGO. Created and maintained by Valve, this game has been on the scene since 2012.

CSGO is the default title for fans of tactical shooters. The game has a variety of modes, such as deathmatch and Arms Race, but the most popular way to play is in competitive matches. The task of the terrorists is to invade a bomb site and activate an explosive while counter-terrorists attempt to prevent the plant or defuse it. The game has its own monetary economy, adding a tactical layer on top of the split-second action. Simple but deep mechanics like grenade lineups, map knowledge, and movement tricks have helped make the game one of the most popular online games in 2023.

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The game also gets constant updates from Valve, keeping players engaged. With new weapon skins, maps, guns, and mechanics, the game gets better every year. The competitive scene is also one of the most developed in all of esports. Big tournaments take place almost every month, and their scale is incredible. Tournament hosts like BLAST, ESL, and PGL put up millions in prize money every year, attracting teams from all over the world. The Majors are the ultimate trophies, featuring massive prize pools and dedicated in-game updates from Valve.

Many gamers may not know that CSGO is actually the fourth game in the Counter-Strike series. The original version was a mod created for the game Half-Life by two independent programmers. Its popularity skyrocketed, leading Valve to buy the rights and develop it into the global phenomenon we know today.

Gambling and gaming are getting closer and closer every year, and it’s hard to talk about one without mentioning the other. One noteworthy category gaining attention is popular UK slots without Gamstop self-exclusion, which appeal to a broad range of players for their accessibility. These games are no longer just about just pushing a button; they are now full experiences with fun stories, cool effects, and extra bonuses that keep you wanting to play more.

One advantage of slots over other forms of online games is their variety. There are hundreds of different games to choose from, and many individual games are available on a ton of different sites. It’s a distinct kind of thrill compared to competitive games, and big wins can mean real money instead of just digital glory.

The largest ever online slots win was over £13 million from a 25-pence bet. A British soldier named Jon Heywood won this life-changing amount in 2015 on the progressive slot game Mega Moolah.

Dota 2 is the thinking gamer’s preferred MOBA

Next up is Dota 2, another competitive gem from Valve Corporation. Released in 2013, this multiplayer online battle arena game has created ripples in the gaming community with its complex gameplay and fiercely competitive scene.

In Dota 2, players take on the role of a hero from a pool of over 120 options. Each one comes with unique abilities, stats, and even a distinct personality. Join forces with your team and devise a winning strategy to destroy your opponents’ ancient. It’s a game of skill, strategy, and teamwork that will challenge you at every turn.

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The most famous trait of Dota 2 is its complexity. On top of well over 100 heroes, the game has over 200 items that all interact in different ways. Strategies that seem silly on paper can work in action, and creativity is just as valuable as mechanical skill. The game also gets constant updates that completely overhaul the game, keeping players on their toes. 

Dota 2 is also famous for its esports scene, which has produced the richest gamers in the world. The International Dota 2 Championship holds the record for the highest prize pool in esports history. In 2021, the total prize pool amounted to a staggering $40 million. It’s a testament to the game’s popularity and the fiercely competitive esports scene surrounding it.

Valorant represents a more modern tactical shooter

Valorant is a game that stands out because of how exciting and smart it is to play. This free-to-play tactical shooter was made by Riot Games and came out in 2020. Its unique mix of action and strategy has helped it become very famous very quickly.

In Valorant, you’re part of a team of agents, each equipped with unique abilities. It’s your job to plant a spike or prevent the other team from doing so. It may sound quite similar to CSGO, but the game is completely different, aside from its core objective. Each Valorant agent has a different set of skills that completely change the battlefield, and adjusting your game to account for different heroes is a very difficult task.

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The magic of Valorant lies in its tactical gameplay and character diversity. With an array of agents and abilities to choose from, there’s always a new strategy to try out. The game keeps evolving, too, with new agents, maps, and modes added regularly, making it one of the best online games to start playing in 2023.

Valorant was originally developed under the codename ‘Project A.’ Riot Games first announced it in October 2019 after months of rumors, and the game was officially launched in June 2020.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is still the battle royale king

Last on our list of the best online games of 2023 is PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, or PUBG. Developed by PUBG Corporation, this battle royale game has taken the world by storm since its release in 2017.

In PUBG, players are dropped onto an island with 99 competitors with only one goal: survive to be the last one standing. Scavenge for weapons and supplies, strategize with your team, and battle it out in a constantly shrinking play zone. It’s survival of the fittest in its purest form.

The fun of PUBG is in how stressful and unexpected it is to play. The big maps, many guns, and other players are a constant threat, and players must make split-second decisions to survive. With new areas and game types being added through updates, there’s always something new to discover in the world of PUBG.

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