League of Legends is by far the most popular esport in the world. Its player base is estimated at 180 million, which is almost 15 times more than its main rival, Dota 2.
The Strategy Behind The Numbers
Almost from day 1, Riot Games strived to make League of Legends as accessible as possible and to include in its plans people from all around the world. Today, LoL is played by more than 145 countries, which is absolutely impressive. Of the 3 billion gamers that live on this planet, a large percentage have either played LoL or at least heard of it. Some people, who don’t watch tournaments and don’t play the game either, know about it because they listen to its soundtracks. There’s even a joke among them that Riot Games is a music company that also makes video games. LoL’s music is majestic.
The Advantage of Turning LoL into an Esport
Riot first popularized the game in 4 big regions: Europe, China, North America, and South Korea. After that, they moved aggressively to other parts of the world, reaching a total of 12 official regions. The professional LoL leagues and tournaments, including LCK, LPL, LCS, LEC, Mid-Season Invitational, Worlds, and many more, have served as a vehicle to drive further growth.
Another huge cause of LoL’s popularity is the development team. The people who maintain and constantly improve the game have done a truly wonderful job. LoL is relatively friendly and easy to learn for a MOBA, which is quite impressive.
Imagine yourself asking a child to learn a discipline with around one thousand notions, that requires thousands of hours of practice and study just to reach basic competency. How many people would dare to embark on such an adventure at a very young age? Probably not many. But Riot Games has succeeded in convincing hundreds of millions of kids to do just that and to not give up at the first roadblock! If only school could be this fun!
The Strength of LoL’s Community
With more than 12 years of history behind it, League of Legends continues to captivate millions across the globe. Most games come and go. It’s extremely rare for a title to be launched and then grow at a rapid pace for years. But LoL, at least for now, seems relentless.
In the world there are countless news outlets covering the game and many other types of websites built around its community. The professional scene is thriving and a surprising number of fans are watching the action. In 2021, the Grand Final of LoL’s World Championship was watched by more than 4 million people.
The number is a bit low given the size of LoL’s community, but in the next years it will probably get much bigger. First of all because esports usually requires people to be above a certain age to appreciate the action, and much of LoL’s community is very young. And second of all, at some point, Riot will probably realize the importance of certain MOBA elements that can make such games a lot more intense. Right now, compared to Dota 2, LoL feels like boxing compared to MMA. But a few minor changes would change it completely.