League of Legends exited 2019 with impressive numbers involving viewership and player base, but what is even more impressive is the revenue LoL gathered throughout the year. According to data provided by SuperData Study, LoL amassed US $1.5 billion in revenue, which is second-highest among all free-to-play PC games and only a fraction of the global market, which generated $120.1 billion in 2019.
Despite the exponential growth of the esports industry over the past few years which resulted in an introduction of numerous new esports titles, League of Legends managed to keep itself among one of the most popular games in the world for over a decade and with that truly stood the test of time - something not many other esports titles can say.
While staying true to its core and remaining relatively unchanged since its release in 2009, League of Legends succeeded in attracting millions upon millions of new players to the Summoner’s Rift year after year, with most recent estimates showing upwards to 111.5 million active users in 2019.
Its biggest rival and one of the biggest MOBA games besides LoL - Dota 2 on the other side had an estimate of only 11.9 million players in 2019, which only goes to show how massive League of Legends really is in comparison to other games.
And it's not only the immense growth of the player base that Riot Games can be excited about but also the massive growth of League of Legends' popularity among viewers, considering LoL saw an impressive 22% year-on-year growth in viewership across both Twitch and YouTube.
What is perhaps the most impressive, however, is the increase in the number of viewers who tuned in to watch the LoL World Championship. From 2018 to 2019 alone, the numbers jumped up by 40%, while the 2019 grand finals fixture between G2 Esports and FunPlus Phoenix saw 60% more viewers as compared to 2018 finals.
With a colossus growth in popularity of this massively-popular free-to-play MOBA game, it's completely reasonable for League of Legends to accumulate $1.5 billion in revenue in 2019, just $300 million shy of reaching Fortnite, which ended the year with the highest revenue out of all free-to-play PC games.
In total, the PC free-to-play market generated $20.6 billion, which is still only one-third of what free-to-play mobile games generated in 2019, meaning that the mobile gaming industry, which has been experiencing unbelievably fast growth last year, surpassed its PC counterparts three-fold - a trend that is prospected to continue in 2020.
At this point, it's also worth noting that majority of revenue earned by free-to-play PC and mobile games came from Asia, which is prospected a four-per cent growth in 2020, which would make it a $124.8 billion market by the end of 2020.
While League of Legends earned $100 more in 2019 than last year, their $1.5 billion revenue was still $600 million short of reaching its revenue numbers from 2016 ($1.7 billion) and 2017 ($2.1 billion).
Aiming to further expand and increase the revenue of their prized MOBA title, Riot Games have been heavily investing in further development and expansion of the LoL's competitive scene by creating numerous leagues all across the globe. What is possibly the biggest game-changer for League of Legends competitive scene in the upcoming year, however, is the 2020 World Championship which will take place in China, meaning the viewership numbers are bound to skyrocket and it's not completely unreasonable to expect new viewership records to be broken later this year.
While Riot Games can count on LoL to continue bringing in millions of revenue in years to come, the company has plenty more reasons to look into the future with optimism, thanks to the release of Wild Rift, Legends of Runeterra and other projects, which were unveiled at the 10th anniversary of League of Legends and are reportedly set to be released in near future. That being said, there are also some speculations Riot Games are working on some hidden projects in a bid to expand their portfolio of games.
Written by KrajnikT
Tit Krajnik (KrajnikT) is an esports writer for onlineesports.com, where he reports news, features and writes other content related to the players, teams, industry and the esports scene as a whole.
He has previously worked as a news and betting-related articles writer in the "traditional" sports scene but later opted to turn his attention to esports, where he managed to combine his love for video games and the growing esports industry with his work.
Krajnik has started his journey as an esports writer by covering Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends, which he also played since its launch, but later broaden his skill-set to include other major esports titles including Dota 2, Fortnite, Apex Legends, Overwatch, Rainbow 6 Siege and Call of Duty.