Nowadays, the rivalry between the Russian-language and English-language Dota 2 broadcasts is something to be expected. Both the streamers and the studios are comparing the ongoing results as well as competing in terms of viewcount. But what about the popularity of Dota when it comes to the other languages? In which countries did Valve's MOBA manage to attract a large audience? Let's take a look at this based on the Twitch channel statistics from the first quarter of 2020.
Opening the top 10 most popular languages in the Dota 2 section is the Korean language. The viewers have spent more than 120 thousand hours watching the streams of South Korean players. However, while this is an impressive result for the Dota 2 category, compared to the results of other broadcasts in this language it does seem lackluster. Looking at the Korean-language Twitch sections, we can see Dota 2 taking only 127th spot – being overtaken by much more popular Hearthstone and League of Legends (with their 8.8 million hours watched and 43.4 million hours watched, respectively).
At the beginning of the year, there was an increase of Dota popularity in South Korea thanks to the performance of T1, the roster of which was bolstered by several internationally popular players. Their matches were streamed by the well-known studios and commentators, ensuring that each and every remaining fan of the local scene would be brought to Twitch. However, as the stream did not achieve any spectacular results during the past tournaments, the attention of the viewers was gradually declining. Still, Lee FoREV Sang-don, a former MVP Phoenix player and an occasional streamer, still manages to regularly gather up to 250 viewers on his channel.
We should highlight the Spanish and Portuguese Dota 2 Twitch streams, which have taken 9th and 3rd spot, respectively. It's not like the MOBA is that popular in Spain and Portugal – instead, the core audience consists of the viewers hailing from Peru and Brazil. Based on the statistics it can be seen that the Portuguese-language streams were much more popular, collecting 3.1 million hours watched per Q1 2020 – as compared to the 200 thousand hours watched for the Spanish-language counterpart.
Still, the experts in this region would state that these particular figures do not reflect the real situation in South America. Namely, Dota 2 enjoys much more popularity in Peru and Argentina than it does in Brazil – but many of the professional players there (and even some of the tournaments) are streaming their content through the Facebook. However, the Brazilian scene representatives are instead choosing to embrace the services of Twitch. Aside of regularly broadcasting the regional competitions, the Brazilian BTS branch and the Missclick studio are also buying the broadcasting rights to the major international tournaments. In addition, their channels are working nearly round the clock! Given the overall similarity of languages, these broadcasts are also joined by the Dota 2 fans from the Spanish-speaking countries. All of these factors have allowed Dota to rise to the 12th spot in the ranking of the most popular categories in Portuguese language (while still being outmatched by the CS:GO, LoL, and even the Conan Exiles survival game).
Unexpectedly, French viewers became the most active Europeans with the preference for the non-English Dota 2 broadcasts. During Q1 2020, they have spent almost 500 thousands hours watching the streams in their native tongue – and that’s given the existence of only 320 actively broadcasting channels during this time (as compared to the two thousand channels in Spanish and Portuguese languages) with only 7.1 thousand hours of total airtime.
When it comes to the popularity of Dota 2 among the French-speaking viewers, it was undeniably affected by the successful performance of their compatriots: Sébastien "Ceb" Debs and Titouan "Sockshka" Merloz – who became the champions of The International. While Ceb himself is streaming in English language, time to time he appears on the broadcasts of the main French studio, FroggedTV. Aside of providing coverage for the most popular matches, this channel’s commentators are also holding small tournaments for the French teams – therefore encompassing most of the airtime for the French-language broadcasts.
Looking from the standpoint of Dota 2, this is a rather decent result when compared to other languages – but still a rather insignificant one for the overall French-language section of Twitch. As an example, the French LoL channels have collected more than 20 million hours watched over the same period, while the French Fortnite channels have collected more than 13 million. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, given that Dota 2 occupies only the 46th spot in the overall ranking.
But while there’s a rational explanation for the result of France, the owner of the fourth spot in the most popular languages ranking in the Dota 2 Twitch section is rather surprising. Unexpectedly, Thai language was the one to overtake most of the competition. The viewers in this category had more than 2 million hours watched of Dota 2 broadcasts for the Q1 2020. Only PUBG and GTA V had more viewability than the Valve’s MOBA in this category.
The Thailand-based viewers are mostly watching the broadcasts of the high-profile matches and the major tournaments. These are regularly shown by a number of large Twitch channels, such as LightFuryLF, DossierChannel, NoctisAK47 and many others. Contributing to this were two of the most popular Thai cyberathletes: Anucha "Jabz" Jirawong and Nuengnara "23savage" Teeramahanon. Despite communicating mostly in English, they still mark their streams as the Thai-language ones.
However, it wouldn’t be possible for the Thai language to climb to such a high spot in the ranking if not for the existence of the separate category of broadcasts: the female streams (which are very popular here). The female streamers typically occupy the high enough spots in terms of viewability, with the large tournament channels often hosting their broadcasts once the matches are finished. This is where the female Dota is at its strongest!
Quite expectedly, English language has taken the second spot in the Dota 2 broadcasting languages popularity ranking – as it is the main language used by a large number of popular cyberathletes. In the first months of 2020, there were almost 16 thousand active English-speaking streamers from all across the world going on air on Twitch. Meanwhile, the viewers have spent 45 million hours watching their broadcasts.
It is not required for the audience itself to speak English, though. Many people are known to watch the streams of popular cyberathletes for gameplay alone. For example, the core of the audience of Artour "Arteezy" Babaev is made of the CIS-based viewers, while the English-language streams of Daryl "IceIceIce" Koh are watched by the viewers from Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand. The English-language streams of tournaments follow the same trend – with around 10% of Dota 2 fans ignoring the broadcasts in their native tongue in favor of the main stream – either because of the negative attitude towards the commentators of the former, or due to the desire to see the content exclusive to the latter.
Still, even all of these factors combined didn’t help Dota 2 to rise above the 9th spot in the most popular English-language Twitch sections ranking. The category’s leader, League of Legends, has managed to accumulate more than 140 million hours watched over the same period of time. Dota was also overtaken by Escape from Tarkov, Fortnite and Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare.
The ranking’s first spot went to the unanimous leaders of Q1 2020: the Russian-language Dota 2 channels. Starting from January, the Russian-language broadcasts were launched by more than 28 thousand streamers, resulting in more than 440 thousand hours of total airtime. During this, the viewers have watched 67 million hours worth of content.
These indicators are unmatched when compared to the other Russian-language Twitch categories. CS:GO is almost 3 times behind in terms of the hours watched, while Hearthstone has managed to gather a little more than 5 thousand streamers on the air. Even the popular Just Chatting section, the home for many famous channels, couldn’t beat even a single record of Dota 2.
By the way, the Russian language was not the only one to be dominated by Dota. Valve’s MOBA is also the preferred game to be spectated in Indonesian language – and the respective viewers have spent more than 21 thousand hours over the course of four months watching these streams.
There are two more sections where Dota 2 has occupied the second spot. The first of these is the Vietnamese one. While it only had 36 channels on air during Q1 2020, the resulting number of hours watched has bypassed the Swedish, Romanian and Danish sections. The second one is Hindi, where Dota 2 was inferior only to the Slots category. And this being the result of efforts of a mere three streamers which have spent more than 350 hours total on the air!
While the Twitch statistics alone do not reflect the full picture of Dota 2 popularity for different languages and/or countries. Many regions tend to prefer the streaming platforms other than Twitch, or simply spend time on popular broadcasts despite the language barrier. But it seems that even considering the data of YouTube and Facebook, it would be difficult for the other languages to compete with the popularity of Dota 2 in the CIS.