Dota 2 passes League of Legends as most played PC game in the West [Updated]

DFC says usage of both titles far surpasses World of Warcraft

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.

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.

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.

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Latest comments (14)

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 9 years ago
Indeed, the full report would be useful. That said, I don't doubt its figures - if you have a Steam account, chances are good you've been given DOTA2 for free, and that's done wonders for getting new players into the genre.

@ Jozrael

A lot depends upon what time you checked XFire, given the time-zone differences. :)
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Paul Smith Dev 9 years ago
середине или я кормов сука

Got to love Dota, Once it actually gets released and when Valve sorts out that tutorial, Dota is easily going to be the most played game in the world.
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Sergiu Badau Wittenberger QA Tester 9 years ago
Really? Cool.

It's not that I don't believe you, but what about some proof? Reports ? Or are they all secret? Don't get me wrong, I like Dota, and I do hope it will do well, but I like to see some numbers that backs this up, not just a sensational article.
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Show all comments (14)
M.H. Williams Staff Writer, USgamer9 years ago
The full report is here:

Warning: Will set you back $6,000.
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Chris Murphy Community & Live Manager, Ubisoft9 years ago
Like others here, I would love to see the sums behind the story. Acquiring accurate user figures for DOTA2 isn't difficult given that it uses Steam and is constantly topping the Steam stats page; however I would imagine that getting any kind of accurate LoL figures outside of press releases would be tough. With all due respect to Xfire (I'm glad it's finally receiving investment again), the fact that it's mentioned in an article that makes such a bold statement immediately casts doubt over the accuracy of the final figures.

Honestly, I'm surprised and delighted that LoL and DOTA2 have done so well. Their learning curves for those unfamiliar with the genre are incredibly steep, so the fact that not only have they been able to sustain themselves, but actually thrive, is a tremendously positive sign for the core gaming industry. With that said, DOTA2 is considerably more "hardcore" and unforgiving, and for that reason I would be quite surprised if it were to outpace LoL at this early stage.
....but then again its hardcore nature may simply be amplifying "The LoL Effect" :P.

Mr Williams in with the link before my post. Nicely done. Sadly I haven't quite been able to piece together $6000 from the change in my couch, so I'll have to pass on that purchase for the time being.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Chris Murphy on 10th April 2013 4:11pm

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Steve Fowler VP Strategy, Ayzenberg Group9 years ago
Even if this is true it has nothing to do with revenue and profitability. Lets be generous and say LoL and DOTA have 10% of their player base monetize, that is still drastically less revenue than WoW where 100% pay.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 9 years ago
Thanks for the update, though it's debatable whether it was really needed. The quote from David Cole just makes explicit what is implicit in this sentence
The report covers PC gaming in North America and Europe
Still, useful to have. :)
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Chris Murphy Community & Live Manager, Ubisoft9 years ago
Glad to see that Riot set the record straight. The thought that DOTA2 had pulled ahead at this stage did seem quite odd to me.
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Peter Warman CEO & Co Founder, Newzoo9 years ago
I just checked our very fresh MMO franchise data from nationwide research in US, UK, Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Turkey, China, Japan and although I think Dota2 will give LoL a good run for their money the ratio of number of players is 1 to 3 in favour of LoL. With World of Tanks in between closing in on LoL in number of gamers faster than Dota2. The ratio is largest in France and Belgium in favour of LoL and smallest in Japan. In terms of number of gamers WoW is still ahead but not a lot. In terms of time probably LoL is indeed nr 1. I have no idea how, even in Western countries, Dota 2 could be ahead of LoL...... It must have to do with the source of that data not being representative....
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Peter Warman CEO & Co Founder, Newzoo9 years ago
Too bad never publishes Newzoo data. :-)
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Peter Warman CEO & Co Founder, Newzoo9 years ago
@Steve: On monetization it is a misperception that P2P per definition monetizes better than F2P. Mobile is showing us what happens when both business models are launched without any legacy. It is a matter of time that the top grossing online games will be F2P games with or without a subscription possibility (especially suitable for parents paying for their kids). WoW makes more money than LoL but the difference is not as big as some think. World of Tanks is actually catching up faster at the moment.
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Chris Madsen9 years ago
A friend of mine got spammed with free dota2. He has 13 in steam gifts.
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Adam Jordan Community Management/Moderation 9 years ago
People really need to stop using optional programs that record statistics as proof of anything. I would have assumed for something such as an official and professional report that this would have been rule #1 on the "not to use lists"

I used to use Xfire a lot and I'll probably use it again some day now that I have heard that there's considerable investment being put into it again but to use it in an argument or as proof that Game A is doing or outperforming Game B is ludicrous purely for the simple fact that not everyone that plays Game A or B are being completely represented.

Now of course, if the whole report is about "Which game do Xfire users play more, LoL or DotA 2?" then the report would stand solid but that is not the case.

However, Valve have played a very good card of using invites and giving quite a few out to their players. The amount of "I have x amount of DotA 2 invites to giveaway" topics I have seen within forums keeps the game promoted and in people's minds, whereas the sheer popularity of LoL and its simplicity/easy learning curve keep it in everyone's eyesight.

I personally was not a fan of LoL until a couple of months ago, the free to play aspect and their methods of building a F2P game and community certainly interested me but the actual game and genre didn't...until I played Co-op vs AI with it's become an everyday occurrence to play it for several hours. Since I don't use Xfire...according to this report, I am not one of those statistics that they "should be" recording.

My point many others like myself aren't being fairly represented within this report? Both games are doing well and Valve certainly are hot on the heels of Riot, no one can deny that but with false or should I say...misleading reports like this, can you blame people not believing developers or publishers when they announce they hit X amount of players within their games when you get this kind of calibur being displayed within what I assume is an official and professional report?

Also just to leave on a sarcastic and snarky remark...You could say that DFC *Puts on Sunglasses* haven't shown any Intelligence at all.....YEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

Edit: To note, I am aware the article states that they use multiple sources and combine them but the point still stands even if they combine Xfire, Raptr, GamerDNA, Playfire and any other duration recording platforms...not everyone uses them, nor do all of them record individual gaming hours like Xfire...I certainly know that my LoL playing hours aren't being recorded by anything currently.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Jordan on 11th April 2013 5:24pm

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Dan Porter Game Designer, Gameloft Montreal9 years ago
I'm curious as to why they focus on "the west." Is it because it makes a better story if it seems like LoL has been passed by DOTA 2?

I don't have numbers, but I'd be willing to bet that worldwide LoL is leading by quite a bit, especially when you consider how popular it is as an e-sport in certain asian countries. IMHO this sensationalist title isn't worth much unless they're going to compare the totality of the games' distribution, and not just restrict it to certain regions.

Its like saying "Mike's Pizza passes 'Pizza Hut' for most pizzas sold in Bloomville, Kentucky" and ignoring that pizza hut has other regions where it dominates.

Regarding "Update 1": 'Our tracking is only key Western markets.' ... this is the sort of attitude that is going to make or break game companies in the next few years. Pretending the West is all that counts may have worked for a time, but its a globalized world these days and pulling data within only a single sphere of distribution ignores the macro eco-system at work.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Dan Porter on 10th May 2013 6:25pm

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