Is League of Legends dying in 2023?

With the undeniable rise of one of Riot Games’ most recent games, VALORANT, some MOBA enjoyers started to ask whether LoL can keep its popularity and even reach higher audiences in the future. Here is the question that the fans have been asking each other, is League of Legends dying?

There are many different aspects that keep a video game alive. However, the most important point to keeping a game at the highest level is of course managing its popularity among all the other games. You could say that League of Legends is dying in your own perspective but the numbers say the opposite. We will be looking deeply at the most recent stats of League of Legends tournaments and all the other new modes, such as League of Legends Clash. 

Is League of Legends dying?

Riot Games’ latest decisions were targeting an even wider audience as League of Legends was the only game they had in their hands. However, they now have plenty of games which led them to reach a bigger audience but on the other hand, these new games stole some of LoL’s community. Many games have had the same fate just like PUBG Mobile but this doesn’t mean that those games have died. To answer the question above, let’s have a deeper look at the ecosystem’s current situation by examining both the esports scene and also the gaming area where the game keeps its popularity at the highest level.

League of Legends Gameplay

League of Legends was released in 2009 by Riot Games. At first, they had a handful of testers and some other players who were trying to get used to the game. After some time, the game got so popular that some of the esports players were known by many people in their own countries, including Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok for instance. Most of the international League of Legends tournaments hosted great communities which made the best players famous not only regionally but also internationally. These international tournaments also help different people from different cultures to unite. Besides, League of Legends betting is also an important factor in the game’s popularity.

According to ActivePlayer, League of Legends holds a huge community in its hands and it reached its peak with almost 150 million players in December 2022, with a peak daily player base averaging around 13 to 14 million. While the “active player count” changes monthly, it looks like Riot Games has managed to keep the player pool at a consistent level throughout 2022.

League of Legends Playerbase

If you look at the chart below, you will see there were many jumps between months and years but one thing that is obvious is that the player base keeps getting bigger and bigger. Even when the company loses some of its player base, an even bigger wave comes to join the game. League of Legends made the biggest jump in November 2020 by welcoming over 23 million players to the game but the number changed very quickly. Before that date, Riot Games lost many players for 6 months in a row but made a huge comeback. Lastly, the average monthly player stat rose over 120 million and it has not gone under that number for the past year.

Courtesy of Activeplayer

More than 150 million active players have played almost every month in 2022. Considering that the game is only available on PC, the numbers are significant and despite some ups and downs, it looks like it’s going to be consistent going forward. 

League of Legends Tournaments

League of Legends tournaments have always been popular since the beginning. Some regions have more viewers than others but the international tournaments host the biggest audience. For example, the MSI 2022 Grand Final was watched by almost 2.2 million viewers. Almost 400k more than the prior MSI Grand Final. Also, the Chinese audience plays a big role in this massive community with the country’s big population. Esports is very important for the Asian countries and one of China’s most famous games is LoL. League of Legends betting keeps getting bigger with the growing audience as more people hear about it. In most traditional sports, betting covers a huge part of the income for many teams.

LoL Esports Charts

Courtesy of Esports Charts

How does Riot Games keep its player base?

The answer to this question is very simple: by satisfying the players. How, though, does the company manage to satisfy the majority of the player base in a time where gamers are less and less patient with publishers? Riot Games employees are known for being active on social media and interacting with different people mainly on Twitter. Even though it doesn’t go as far as saying that they do whatever fans want, it is still important to hear out to the community for changes in the game. For example, League of Legends Clash is one of the biggest moves that was made by the company. At first, it was not at the optimal level but even now people wait for their game to start to live the esports tournament spirit with their friends.

Apart from Clash, Riot Games brings different game modes such as RURF (Random Ultra Rapid Fire). These modes bring more people because they offer something different than the regular Summoner’s Rift modes that all the players are familiar with.

Long story short, the answer to “is League of Legends dying?” is; no, it is not dying. Moreover, it keeps on growing in terms of sponsors for the esports scene and more players for the gaming side. Even though the active gamers count changes monthly, it still indicates positive signs for the company. It would not be right to say that League of Legends is dying, even if growth is not perfectly consistent. According to the chart, it will eventually get even bigger alongside the other Riot Games products.

Recent backlash from League community

Ever since VALORANT was released, League fans have started worrying that Riot Game might overlook the MOBA to puts more resources and focus on its FPS game. With the start of the season in 2023, the company published a cinematic to hype up the player base. Unfortunately, the community didn’t respond well, claiming that the cinematic was disappointing compared to previous years.

Paired with the unsatisfying state of the game, as well as VALORANT receiving higher-quality content, the worries seem to be a reality. That said, Riot quickly gave a public statement at the start of the season, mentioning that further details will be given in the near future.

“Honestly, we should have been more communicative, which might have helped with some of that feeling and speculation. We do believe that League has a bright future and we are investing in that, but we can do a better job of sharing those plans with you.” is what Riot said in one of their tweets.

If the expectations are not matched or the complaints are not taken into consideration, then there will be the risk of losing some of the players in the near future. Having said that, the current numbers are still very positive, meaning that the game is far from dead.