F2P model continues to dominate, MOBAs grow

2 min read

Evolution of a young plant

When I first started playing Dota 2, I swore I would never spend a cent, not one. Who on earth would be silly enough to spend money on a cosmetic? Not I! At least, that’s what my attitude USED to be. I’ve since seen it as a way to thank Valve for giving me hours upon hours of joy, and yes, even frustration. Think the free-to-play model is silly? SuperData have released stats which prove otherwise.


Online multi-player games have been popular for a long time. But in only a few short years, the MMO market has changed dramatically in terms of revenue, player preferences and addressable audience. Overall, the total MMO category is on track to generate $11 billion in annual revenues by the end of this year, representing roughly 21% of the worldwide digital games market. By 2017, this number is forecast to grow to $13 billion. And so it can be no surprise that small and large publishers alike are trying to claim their share of this thriving market.

Don’t worry, my eyes also nearly fell out of my head. I always knew F2P made more money somehow, I just never knew to what extent. This year will see $11 billion generated, that’s crazy! Here’s a breakdown of the top 10 contributors.


  • MOBAs like LoL and DOTA 2 see huge jumps in rankings
  • First person shooters losing ground to eSports-heavy MOBAs
  • World of Warcraft holds its own as it adds 600,000 subscribers
  • Asia remains largest MMO market with $4.2B in revenues

Despite mature titles that have been around for years, the MMO market is still seeing seismic shifts. Driven by engagement from eSports, MOBAs like League of Legends and DOTA 2 have been climbing in the rankings, while former titans in the shooter genre decline. The free-to-play (F2P) revenue model continues to dominate over pay-to-play games, though stalwart success World of Warcraft surprises with healthy subscriber growth

MOBAs are still on the rise thanks to eSports. I’m really not surprised to see League of Legends all the way on top because it is ridiculously popular. Shooters are on the decline supposedly, which I can also kind of understand. Keep in mind that Valve are planning to host a large tournament akin to The International for Dota 2 next year though which may help it climb in popularity somewhat.

Do these numbers surprise you otherwise? I really never realised THAT many billions of dollars was being generated.

(October 24, 2014

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