league of legends

SuperData’s 2016 gaming year in review is now available for free on the market research firm’s website. And it’s got some pretty staggering claims that, while seeming outlandish at first, make sense — from a certain point of view.

On the top of page 9 of the report is the headline “Free-to-play MMOs have 92% of the MMO market players and generate 87% of the revenue,” with a total of $21.1 billion in revenue. That had us scratching our heads a bit. I mean, sure there are a lot of F2P MMOs out there, but are World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV that insignificant?

As usual, SuperData is very liberal with its definition of “MMO.” mixes “MMO” and “MOBA” elsewhere on the page as it refers to Dota 2 and League of Legends under the headline “F2P MMOs continue to dominate the eSports world while earning themselves increasing exposure.” The middle paragraph talks about MOBAs, however, as a separate category. I’d imagine “F2P MMO” includes pretty much anything we’d cover here on MMOBomb.

In that context, taking big MOBAs and games that aren’t big in NA/EU but are in other regions, like Dungeon Fighter Challenge and Crossfire, I could see the 92%/87% numbers as legit. Obviously, this total wouldn’t include primarily single-player games that did big business in 2016, like The Witcher 3 or Fallout 4.

Some other interesting F2P-related numbers to digest in SuperData’s report:

  • League of Legends ($150 million per month) is about 6.5 times bigger than Dota 2 ($23.4 million per month).
  • Despite the discrepancy, The Dota 2 International handed out $20.8m in prize money, compared to just $5.1m for the League of Legends World Championship.
  • F2P games in Asia ($12.5 billion in 2016) do more than twice as much business than in the rest of the world ($6.1 billion).
  • Finally, Guild Wars 2 brought in $91 million from January to November of 2016, according to Superdata. This, despite NCSoft’s own reporting saying that the game brought in $51 million from January to September. October and November must have been amazing!
  • The report’s got a lot more on mobile games (Pokémon Go was large), e-sports, Twitch/YouTube viewership, VR, and console games, so if numbers are your thing, give it a download and check it out for yourself.

    the author

    Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

    7 Readers Commented

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    1. Ultra_Ninja on December 26, 2016

      So, by définition, it’s not F2P. QED.

    2. Drago on December 23, 2016

      No edit!! It’s*

      • yokki on December 24, 2016

        first = its , second = it’s

    3. Drago on December 23, 2016

      See why would Riot games sell the rest of it’d shares if its doing that sort of money ??

      • Unknown on December 25, 2016

        True. I can’t even afford to play MMOs I want to but the way F2P MMOs act they mostly spam the market with them to try to profit.

      • Unknown on December 25, 2016

        Also everybody cries about but the graphics suck make the graphics better? Who cares it’s why I don’t play xbox and I’m likely going back to single player games for a while since it doesn’t offer a micro currency or a VIP membership. Just a game and a console/PC and yourself. It will be lonely but at least the single player game developers aren’t after your wallet like the F2P MMO game developers are.

        • Tsandsoup on January 15, 2017

          You are the one giving them the wallet tho they are not taking it from you xD

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