League of Legends is undoubtedly one of the most popular eSports titles of all time. It was released back in 2009 and it has been a true gaming wonder ever since.
However, the question is, what is happening nowadays, more than a decade after release:
Is the League of Legends player count still rising, or are we about to witness the end of a wonderful era?
Long story short – League of Legends players count IS still on the rise. New players are joining the game daily, and the guys from Riot are just as busy as they were in 2014 or 2017. Also, instead of replacing older generations, demographics seem to be going wider. So from there, it’s not a coincidence to see a thirty-something father playing a ranked game together with his son, nephew, or a young sibling.
But how’s that even possible?
Online gaming became a social life during the pandemic
Netflix and cable operators certainly aren’t the only ones that enjoyed a huge profit and popularization when the world went into lockdown. The gaming industry is also among the businesses that not only survived but bloomed during this period.
Old-school gamers that used to play games in the past turned back in due to a lack of social activities. Also, the casual gamers turned into full-time pros. You get the idea.
Also, the logical question is – how’s it possible that a ton of new games didn’t manage to surpass the old engines?
Well, the key lies in the older gamer population.
Despite the popularization of new genres such as Battle Royale and numerous new games, a good portion of gamers still prefers to stay on the safe ground.
World of Warcraft might be another perfect example of a “resurrected” game, or better said, the game that never actually died.
The League of turbulence
Riot Games created League of Legends back in 2009. In the start, they had just a handful of players with outstanding growth potential. This is exactly what happened soonly afterward.
League of Legends exploded two years after it was released, reaching 11 million players by 2011. Back in the days, it was a significant figure. Let’s compare it with World of Warcraft’s prime time in 2010. Just as we remember it, they were real giants back then. However, they had “only” 12 million subscribers at that time.
Three years after that LoL’s 11 million players hit, they took a giant step reaching 65 million players. Then, another step happened in 2017, with 100 million players, and that was supposed to be the prime time of League of Legend’s history.
In 2018, the number of players started decreasing, continuously dropping to 75 million. 2019 wasn’t much greater either.
Yet the real, unexpected boom happened during the last year, in 2020. League of Legends made a legendary comeback, with the player count ranging from 100 to 120 million.
Exactly those numbers are proving that the League of Legends certainly isn’t a dying game. If the pandemic didn’t happen, we can’t say if this scenario would be the same. Yet, even in 2021, the Riot Games continued with the past year’s success.
The battle between League of Legends and Dota 2 during 2020 and 2021
With CS:GO, those three games seem to form the undying trio of ancient eSports legends. They all have more than a loyal fanbase that lasts for quite a while now.
However, how are those games performing right now? Let’s see the data taken from the gaming platforms.
Dota 2 statistics rate it as the number 13 on Twitch, in addition to the proud second spot on Steam. Also, there were 714,000 concurrent Dota 2 players in November 2020.
League of Legends seems to do a much better job, at least in popularity. It ranks second on Twitch, with 115 active users in 2020. However, the number of concurrent players in February 2021 was around 715,000, approximately the same as Dota 2 during the last November.
So as we take all the numbers into consideration, League of Legends seems like they are winning the battle.