If you think there are too many MOBAs, think again. Research firm EEDAR recently published a paper detailing the MOBA business, and its conclusion is that it's still growing.
VentureBeat hits upon many of EEDAR's major points, which I'll summarize here. Except where noted, all of these figures relate to MOBAs and MOBA players in 2014.
* EEDAR says MOBA revenue was $406 million in 2014 and that figure will rise to $503 million in 2015.
* "The top 1 percent is responsible for 15 percent of the revenue while the top 10 percent generates 62 percent of the total."
* 52% of people who played a free-to-play PC game in 2014 played a MOBA.
* Of all MOBA players, the most played League of Legends (76%), followed by Dota 2 (41%), Smite (16%), Heroes of the Storm (12%), and Heroes of Newerth (6%).
* The average MOBA player is 25.33 years old. So, despite how it may appear, they're not all just raging teenagers, though at that age, they're probably already washed up.
* 56% of money is spent on characters, whether it's to unlock them or make them look prettier:
* EEDAR provides a chart showing not only how much was spent on average on each type of transaction but what percentage of players spent on it:
That last bit pokes an interesting hole in the commonly assumed ratio of spenders vs. non-spenders in free-to-play games. While the numbers we usually hear are in the 10s or 20s, percentage-wise -- with much lower conversion ratios for "pick-up-and-drop" mobile games -- that figure usually represents all players of a game throughout its lifetime. A lot of people might try a F2P game for a couple hours, decide it's not for them, and then leave it forever. Should they really be counted among a game's "freeloaders," with the same weight as a person who plays regularly?
With EEDAR's numbers, only people who played MOBAs in 2014 are counted, and they conclude that "46 percent of all MOBA players never spend money," which would mean that 54% do spend money. That last chart would seem to corroborate that conclusion. If 41% of people spent on skins, than at least that many spent something on a MOBA in 2014. Some people might not have bought a skin but paid for one of the other products, and that would account for the other 13%.
The top 10% might still account for 62% of the revenue for a MOBA, but hearing that around half of at least semi-active players toss a few bucks Riot's/Valve's/Blizzard's/Hi-Rez's way every now and then seems a little more reasonable to me.
About 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.
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