MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) games have been around for a very long time and they were created as a way for more players to come together and test their skills against each other. The very first MOBA game came out in 2003 as a mod for Warcraft III and it was later adapted into one of the most popular MOBAs of all time — Dota 2. Of course, that is not the only MOBA game out there, and the MOBA genre has had nearly 20 years to develop itself into what it is today. The reason MOBA games are so popular is that they have endless replayability and they are constantly updated with new content and their universes are being expanded without end. One of the most notable things about this video game genre is that it accounts for a massive portion of the industry’s esports revenue. We are going to be taking a look at some MOBA statistics to present the genre in a clearer light and see what sorts of strides it has made since the first one.
MOBA genre key stats
All right, for the first section, we are going to be taking a look at some key stats regarding the MOBA genre to see what user engagement is like for some of the most popular games, as well as examining the most popular game — League of Legends. The MOBA market has generated billions of dollars in revenue, both for mobile and PC game releases.
League of Legends is the most popular MOBA game with over 150 million monthly players.
There have been 149.9 million active players in the game in November 2022.
There are over 1 million players in a game at any given time.
The average peak daily player count for League of Legends in 2022 was 13,651,302.
While there is no disputing the fact that the MOBA genre has a massive following on the Chinese market through mobile MOBA game releases, the king of western MOBAs is definitely League of Legends. This game was made by a branching team that worked on the original Defense of the Ancients, or DotA, and was released in 2009. Since then, the game has gained notoriety as one of the most toxic, but fun games for gamers of any age group to play.
The MOBA industry is projected to exceed $490 million in sales by 2025.
(Source: Financial News Media)
The revenue of the MOBA industry grew by 43% in 2020.
This continued to increase by 14% each month in 2021.
In 2021, the industry reached $300 million in sales each month.
The MOBA industry holds the largest segment of the esports market at 40.9%.
The revenue that the MOBA industry generates on an annual and monthly basis is very impressive considering that there are some game franchises that are not even near earning the monthly earnings of a MOBA game. With the rising popularity of the games themselves, we are sure that the industry is going to continue growing exponentially.
Honor of Kings is the world’s first $10 billion mobile game.
(Source: Sensor Tower)
Brawl Stars accumulated $320 million in sales in 2021.
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang accumulated over $210 million in sales in 2021.
Now this one is a bit of an interesting case of the Chinese video game market shining through and displaying its massive success with Honor of Kings. The game was released in 2015 by TiMi Studio, which is a subsidiary of Tencent. For some perspective, Honor of Kings earned three times more money than Bethesda is worth.
Pokemon Unite passed 30 million downloads within its first seven days.
(Source: Sensor Tower)
15 million downloads were acquired in the first two days.
It took Brawl Stars seven days to reach 15 million downloads.
It had the biggest mobile MOBA launch ever.
It was the most-downloaded iOS game in 59 countries on its first day.
Pokemon Unite was released in 2021 and came as a bit of a shock to the gaming industry since you don’t usually group Pokemon and these sorts of games together, but it has received some relatively favorable reviews from IGN and SlashGear at 6/10. From the gameplay we have seen, Pokemon Unite is quite colorful and simple for new players to grasp, so it’s a great introductory game to the MOBA genre.
The most-downloaded mobile MOBA game in July 2022 is Mobile Legends: Bang Bang with 4.7 million downloads.
Garena RoV: RoV DAY had 2.8 million downloads.
Pokemon UNITE had 2.4 million downloads.
Honor of Kings had 2.2 million downloads.
League of Legends: Wild Rift had 994,921 downloads.
The Chinese version of the former had 730,334 downloads.
Loan Chien Mobile had 556,027 downloads.
MARVEL Super War had 361,928 downloads.
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang VNC had 294,418 downloads.
Arena of Valor had 273,383 downloads.
It is not too often that we can see updated details about the total sales of mobile MOBAs, so this information from July will have to suffice. From what we can see, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang is cruising ahead of the competition comfortably with nearly 5 million downloads in a single month. However, this does not mean that the rest of the highest-selling mobile MOBAs are in poor standing. The three titles below Mobile Legends: Bang Bang have several million downloads, with League of Legends: Wild Rift nearing one million downloads.
The highest-grossing mobile MOBA game in July 2022 was Honor of Kings with $162.28 million in revenue.
League of Legends: Wild Rift (Chinese Edition) grossed $22.9 million.
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang grossed $16.71 million.
Garena RoV: RoV DAY grossed $12.12 million.
League of Legends: Wild Rift grossed $6.01 million.
#Compass grossed $4.29 million.
Pokemon UNITE grossed $1.7 million.
Onmoyi Arena grossed $1.25 million.
Arena of Valor grossed $0.45 million.
Dream of the Three Kingdoms grossed $0.39 million.
In this line of statistics, we can see an even bigger gap between the performance of all these titles, with Honor of Kings standing above the rest again. $162 million is absolutely insane for a simple mobile game to earn in a single month, and its earnings are relatively consistent month over month, so we are sure that they are doing something right!
MOBA game Twitch and esports stats
Now it’s time to take a look at the number of viewers that some of the most popular MOBA games pull on Twitch, as well as the progress that all of these games have made in their respective esports scenes. There are a lot of games and even more numbers to consider, so let’s get into it.
SMITE, Dota 2, and League of Legends had over 2.1 billion hours watched on Twitch in 2022.
Dota 2 had 550 million hours watched.
League of Legends had 1.6 billion hours watched.
SMITE had 54 million hours watched.
Here we can see that these three MOBA games managed to accumulate more than 2 billion hours watched on Twitch, which is a massive number considering that there are quite a few streamers broadcasting the game at any given point. There are more MOBA games on the platform, but these three can be considered the most popular at the moment. For those of you that don’t know, SMITE is essentially just a 3rd person MOBA featuring gods from various mythologies.
SMITE, Dota 2, and League of Legends had 38.4 million broadcasting hours on Twitch in 2022.
Dota 2 had 7.7 million broadcasting hours.
League of Legends had 27.9 million broadcasting hours.
SMITE had 1.8 million broadcasting hours.
There is not much to say about the total number of broadcasting hours besides highlighting the fact that League of Legends is definitely the most popular of the three MOBAs with more than 20 million broadcasting hours more than the runner-up, Dota 2.
Dota 2 has given $310.4 million in tournament prize pools.
(Source: Esports Earnings)
There have been 1709 Dota 2 tournaments since the game’s release.
The International 2021 had the highest prize pool at $40 million.
Every International since 2014 has had prize pools of over $10 million, up to $35 million.
Dota 2 is definitely the king of MOBA prize pools because it has a fantastic system for gathering money for The International. The way it works is that Valve releases a Battle Pass a few months before The International starts, and a percentage of all Battle Pass proceeds go to the final prize pool. This way, The International can have sky-high prize pools while many players also get tons of goodies.
The most successful Dota 2 player is Johan “N0tail” Sundstein with $7,184,163 in earnings.
(Source: Esports Earnings)
He has taken part in 130 tournaments.
He is ranked #1 in the world.
He is ranked #1 in Denmark.
This line of stats just serves to show us how much money is on the table for a successful Dota 2 player. N0tail is legendary in the Dota 2 community for being a great player, as well as a bit of a meme here and there. While it takes a lot of work to achieve a world-class level of skill to win The International, it definitely pays off.
League of Legends has given $98.3 million in tournament prize pools.
(Source: Esports Earnings)
There have been 2752 League of Legends tournaments since the game’s release.
The LoL World Championship had the highest prize pool at $6.45 million.
Every World Championship since 2014 has had prize pools of over $2 million, up to $5 million.
League of Legends doesn’t have a similar system to collecting money like Dota 2 has, so it is understandable that the prize pool for the World Championship will be considerably lower. However, most of the teams and players on the League of Legends esports scene have sponsors, so that’s another bonus.
The most successful League of Legends player is Lee “Faker” Sang Hyeok with $1.4 million in earnings.
(Source: Esports Earnings)
He had taken part in 60 tournaments.
He is ranked #76 in the world.
He is ranked #1 in South Korea.
The final line of stats we have for you is in regard to the most famous and most successful League of Legends player, the Unkillable Demon King — Faker. Faker is one of the most famous professional gamers in general and has had a long history of dominating the esports scene and producing some of the most amazing plays and clips in the history of the game.
To sum up
As you can see in the information we have presented, the MOBA genre is one of the most successful gaming genres in the gaming industry, amassing millions of fans and earning their studios billions of dollars in revenue as a result. These games had humble beginnings where the first MOBA game started out as a simple mod for Warcraft III, named Defense of the Ancients. This was a stepping stone for more content to be added to that game with many more following in its footsteps. Nearly twenty years after the first game, world championships have been held, memes were made, and greatness has definitely been achieved by the MOBA genre. We sincerely hope that you have enjoyed the info we’ve laid out and that all of your questions have been answered. Oh, by the way, nerf Aurelion Sol.
“League of Legends Live Player Count and Statistics”. ActivePlayer, 2022, https://activeplayer.io/league-of-legends/
“Most popular MOBA gaming apps worldwide in July 2022, by downloads”. Statista, 2022, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1269466/most-downloaded-moba-apps-worldwide/
“Most popular MOBA gaming apps worldwide in July 2022, by revenue”. Statista, 2022, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1269473/moba-apps-top-grossing/
“Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) Industry Estimated to Exceed $490 Million in Annual Sales By 2025”. Financial News Media, 2022, https://www.globenewswire.com/en/news-release/2022/02/23/2390540/0/en/Multiplayer-Online-Battle-Arena-MOBA-Industry-Estimated-to-Exceed-490-Million-in-Annual-Sales-By-2025.html
“The State of MOBA Mobile Games 2021 Report: Honor of Kings Breaks $10 Billion, Pokémon Unite Surpasses 30 Million Installs in 7 Days”. SensorTower, 2021, https://sensortower.com/blog/state-of-moba-mobile-games-report-2021