Original story: In the first quarter of 2013, Valve Software's Dota 2 passed Riot Games' League of Legends as the most played "core" PC title, according to a report from DFC Intelligence. The report covers PC gaming in North America and Europe based on the DFC Intelligence PC Game Meter service, which combines data from multiple sources, including real-time stats from Xfire's 23 million users. Usage of League of Legends and Dota 2 far surpassed that of the next title in line, Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft. The popularity of both titles shows the continuing strength of the free-to-play MOBA genre.
"Usage of League of Legends has been steady the past year and surprisingly the huge success of Dota 2 did not seem to cut into its popularity as much as would be expected," said DFC analyst Jeremy Miller.
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For the quarter, combined usage of the top 20 PC games was up 22 percent compared to the first quarter of 2012, and up 8 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2012.
"The past year has seen numerous blockbuster PC games that have really helped drive usage. This includes among others Diablo III, Guild Wars 2, Battlefield 3, Minecraft, World of Tanks and Valve's Counter-Strike series," added DFC analyst David Cole.
The PC Game Meter service does not measure usage of casual or browser-based titles.
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Update: Other outlets and communities, including PCGamer and NeoGAF, have expressed skepticism about DFC Intelligence's data on this matter. With Xfire - mentioned in DFC's report - as a data source, one can see that League of Legends sits at number one with 83,009 users as of this writing, while Valve's Dota 2 is at number six with 6,685 users. Valve's live statistics on the Dota 2 Community Hub show 251,982 concurrent players in-game on Steam, while Riot stated in March that League of Legends has over 5 million peak concurrent players worldwide.
GamesIndustry International reached out to DFC Intelligence analyst David Cole for further comment on the story. Cole stands by DFC's report on player usage, but declined to release more detailed data. He points to Asian markets like China for the discrepancy in statistics.
"We have this service that tracks usage of PC games. League of Legends is always on top by a huge margin, an order of magnitude. The only time anything came close was the launch of Diablo III, but just for a short time. Dota 2 showed a huge bump in usage; first product to do that well in a long time," said Cole in a statement to GamesIndustry International.
"The thing is globally [League of Legends] is still much bigger because we don't track Asia and many of the small markets they have penetrated. Our tracking is only key Western markets. China alone counts for way more usage of [League of Legends] than the rest of the world, so that is the major footnote we have been telling everyone," he added. "The main news to me was that Dota 2 has been a huge success."
Update 2: Riot Games has challenged DFC Intelligence's report and approached GamesIndustry International with its own statistics on the matter. According to a Riot Games spokesperson, League of Legends sees "over 500,000 peak concurrent players every day on just the EU West shard," which doesn't even touch on players in the United States. This is contrasted with the 325,879 players that Valve's Steamgraph shows as the all-time high for Dota 2 Beta.
“You can see how we would have some issues with the accuracy of this report," said the Riot Games spokesperson in a statement.