It’s not uncommon for games to go viral in the matter of days. Does anyone remember the Pokemon GO outbreak? (of course you do)
The game received massive media coverage and player attention. Within days it became odd for someone to not have heard about Pokemon GO. It was everywhere, you could listen to people talking about it in your work, school – you could even come across people playing it on your way to grocery store!
But what happened after?
As you can see from this Google Trends chart, the amount of search queries went down by 90% within two months after the initial outburst and nowadays it represents only 1-2% of the game’s glory days.
It’s way easier for a game to go viral than to sustain a significant amount of interest for a longer period of time. So how is League of Legends doing now, after 10 years?
Since 2009, which is the time League of Legends was released, the game has been growing exponentially. There were 11.5 million monthly League players in 2011. This number then grew to 67 million in 2014 and 100 million in 2017.
You can see the changes in the graph below.
As far as the official data goes, that would be it. 2017 was the last year, in which Riot Games published a statement regarding the League of Legends player base (at the time of writing this article).
So what about League of Legends players in 2019?!
Don’t worry, we will try our best to estimate that number based on other data we have access to. Let’s now go through it one by one and see what we can learn from it.
Data relevancy: Low
We do not think Google searches make for an accurate measure of the term’s popularity in every case. And that’s simply because, despite being very popular, it is only one of many channels used by people that yield an interest in something. Another important fact is that it’s used more in an explorative manner rather than by players already familiar with the game.
After quite a bit of research, we actually noticed that the drop in searches volume from 2015 can be, at least partially, linked to Discord appearance in the market. We can imagine a lot of people’s communication moved onto this platform as it became the most convenient way to get in touch with your friends. It’s also worth mentioning that League of Legends has its on voice chat solution what might be an influential factor as well.
To support our point, we will now show some charts from Google Trends, which show a similar pattern for other games.
DOTA 2 (red), Grand Theft Auto (blue), Minecraft (yellow)
World’s Finals viewership
In numbers: 43mil (2016), 58mil (2017), 99mil (2018)
Data relevancy: Medium
Despite an evident rising pattern, it should be noted that viewership of this event is highly dictated by the teams that compete at the top of the ladder. This year’s skyrocketed statistics are expected to have happened because of China’s team eventual victory in Worlds.
League of Legends subreddit’s subscribers
Source: Reddit Metrics
In numbers: 425k (2014), 935k (2017), 2.2mil (2019)
Data relevancy: Medium/High
When it comes to subreddit subscribers count, it’s more about the speed of growth then whether or not the subreddit is gaining new subscribers. That’s because we are very unlikely to unsubscribe from a subreddit once we have subscribed to it. It means that even a badly performing game could potentially be gaining new subscribers.
However, if we look at it, League of Legends is performing especially well. Since 2017, the subscribers count more than doubled! That’s a truly awesome result for a game that has been around for so long already.
After a thorough look at the data from different sources, we can confidently say that League of Legends represents a positive growth ratio.
So, how many players play League of Legends in 2019?
According to our estimations, 115 million players play League of Legends in 2019.
Even though this number is based on approximations, we are confident that it quite precisely represents the current playerbase of League of Legends.
As you can see League of Legends is still incredibly popular. We suggest you to make the most out of it and get a cheap Smurf account! If you’d like to see what are the benefits of Smurfing we have a whole article on that.
See you on the Rift!
Seasoned League of Legends player, ex-Challenger and a software engineer with passion for simplicity.