What Does the Future Hold For Dota 2

Dota 2

Looking at the facts, Dota 2 as an esports is alive and well. (Credit: Valve)

Dota 2 had its ups and downs in 2020. Right now, the future of this MOBA is uncertain as more and more players are dumping this game for other popular esports.

So, let's have a quick look at tournament viewership and player count, and try to see whether Dota 2 is dying... or dead already.

Dota 2 Tournament Viewership

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a lot has changed when it comes to esports tournaments. Dota 2 took a hit as well and by far the most popular Dota 2 event, The International, was delayed until August 2021. Despite these mishaps, the scene showed resilience and had a number of quite successful online events throughout the year.

Esl one los angeles 2020

ESL One Lost Angeles 2020 originally had to be a LAN event at LA's Shrine Auditorium, but due to Covid-2019 it got delayed and split into several online tournaments. (Credit: ESL)

Here are the viewership numbers for popular events throughout 2020:

  1. DreamLeague Season 13: The Leipzig Major - 475,236 peak viewers

  2. WePlay! Bukovel Minor 2020 - 233,124 peak viewers

  3. WePlay! Dota 2 Tug of War: Mad Moon - 295,110 peak viewers

  4. DOTA Summit 12 - 149,697 peak viewers

  5. ESL One Los Angeles 2020 Europe & CIS - 508,082 peak viewers

  6. ESL One Birmingham 2020 Europe & CIS - 228,746 peak viewers

  7. WePlay! Pushka League - 188,422 peak viewers

  8. BEYOND EPIC Europe/CIS - 306,039 peak viewers

  9. OGA Dota PIT Season 2 Europe & CIS - 244,611 peak viewers

  10. OMEGA League Europe Immortal Division - 412,391 peak viewers

  11. ESL One Germany 2020 - 272,973 peak viewers

  12. EPIC League Season 2 Division 1 - 263,542 peak viewers

As you can see from the numbers above, Dota 2 esports is not even close to being dead. If we compare these numbers to other popular titles such as CS:GO, Overwatch, or even League of Legends, we can easily spot that Dota 2 is not falling behind.

Dota 2 Player Count

Alongside League of Legends, Dota 2 is the go-to place for MOBA enthusiasts. Since this is a free-to-play game, there are a lot of come-and-go players. Let’s look at the numbers over the last 5 years.

  • 2015 average players: 961,737

  • 2016 average players: 1,067,949

  • 2017 average players: 1,007,451

  • 2018 average players: 778,627

  • 2019 average players: 874,888

  • 2020 average players: 616,415

We can easily spot that the player count went down this year and maybe we know the reason behind that. The game is way too repetitive and after a while, players will get fed up and look for something else. If Valve adds something new to Dota 2 or at least mix things up, the average player count could go up instantly. And let's not forget that the game's player stats consistently put it at number 2 as the most played game on Steam.

If we look at just this year's data, we can easily see that the game got a nice push to its player base because of the coronavirus situation.

Dota player count steamcharts 2020

This chart clearly shows that Dota 2 got a boost during the first months of the Covid-19 pandemic, but this seems to have faded now. (Credit: Steam Charts)

Despite the downward trend this year, new content undeniably helped the game stabilize its monthly player numbers when compared with the same months of previous years. The Aghanim's Labyrinth event during the summer was followed by Diretide 2020 around Halloween, the first Diretide event since 2013.

These events and the substantial Mistwoods Update, which introduced tons of changes, showed Valve's renewed interest in keeping the game alive with fresh content. We just have to wait and see if these efforts carry through into 2021.


Do you think Dota 2 is dying? Are you worried about its player count dwindling? What would make you play it again or more? Let us know your thoughts on Facebook and Twitter or join our brand-new EarlyGame Discord server.

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