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The most popular esports games of 2019

The most popular esports games of 2019

The previous year has shown a large number of records achieved in a wide variety of games. Like in any sports, there were some titles that have managed to stand out compared to the rest. We will tell you about the most viewed esports disciplines in today's results.

This article will focus on the hours watched indicator. We have created summaries of all the esports competitions for the disciplines of 2019 (regardless of the format of each season) while omitting the Chinese platforms and their indicators from our list.

Over the course of 2019, the industry had an influx of newcomers. The autobattler genre has shown very strong performance with a firm grasp over the audience's interest. The battle royales have also continued their expansion – this time toward the mobile gaming. Meanwhile, their predecessors have stayed out of relevance. Mobile esports itself has continued to gain momentum, with the mobile titles outperforming their PC gaming counterparts.

#5 - Arena of Valor

When seen in the scope of all the esports disciplines, Arena of Valor is certainly a worthy contender. We shouldn't forget that it was the #1 representative of the mobile esports of 2019. This MOBA was able to collect 72 million hours watched during its esports season, with AoV World Cup 2019 being the most popular event of the discipline.

Nowadays this is also the most popular game on the Asian market. It is also known by the name Honor of Kings – which was how the Chinese version of the game was called. We can safely say that Vietnamese represent the core audience of the game; the Vietnam Regional League is also the second most watched competition of this discipline.

Unlike its rivals, Arena of Valor has earned its spot in the ranking not because of the large quantity of tournaments, but rather because of quality. AoV also seems to readily embrace the unconventional solutions, seeing how its competitive cycle features two main championships at once: one revolving around the classic teams and the other revolving around the national teams.

#4 - Overwatch

In case of Overwatch, the past year has turned out to be not so inspiring. The results of the second season of Overwatch League were negative, culminating in only 81 million hours watched. The game could have a much better result if its esports life was more diverse.

Blizzard's main bet is to supply Overwatch with plenty of new content. The game has received the majority of its hours watched thanks to OWL, the central competition of the game's esports system. Aside from the league, the discipline also attracted viewers through the other events (such as Overwatch Contenders).

Overall, almost the entirety of the previous year has passed without bringing the game any kind of large figures. The things started heating up only closer to autumn, with OWL Season 2 playoffs taking place from August till September. November saw the national teams clash in the World Cup. Additionally, the myth about the invincibility of Korean players came to an end at the 2019's OWC – and at the hands of the USA team no less.

#3 - Dota 2

This was not the best season for Dota 2 either. Dota had a much smaller number of tournaments for the game in 2019, causing the MOBA to collect only 282 million hours watched over the year – which is less than CS:GO and LoL.

The DPC system was further refined by the developers. Once again there were only 10 championships divide into minors and majors. Out of these, majors have attracted the majority of views.

Of course, the largest number of views came from The International. The titular competition has accounted for 31% of the total number of game's views over the year. When talking about the majors, EPICENTER Major 2019 was the most successful one, bringing a total of 6% of views. As for the most popular event outside of DPC, that would be ESL One Birmingham 2019 which brought 3.4% of views.

However, the season as a whole shows negative results, with only The International showing any kind of growth. In the larger picture we see the decrease of the total number of viewers. Therefore, while its main rival sets new records, Dota 2 loses players and spectators alike, as proven by the comparison charts from the last few years.

Additionally, it can be seen how far ahead of everyone else is the top 3. According to the results of 2019, the gap between Dota 2 and Overwatch is equal to a whopping 246%. There's a number of reasons behind this.

The games of Valve feature the full support of third-party organizers who are responsible for all things related to the esports life of said games. This causes an abundance of various championships around the world, with the list of participants being at times not really limited by the player level or anything like that.

Riot Games features a different approach to esports, with the developer itself being fully (and rather successfully) immersed into the organization of competitions. The competitive system of LoL includes two full-scale international tournaments, as well as a number of regional leagues all around the world.

#2 - CS:GO

The popular belief holds it that Dota 2 is Valve's main esports title – but this statement is no longer valid since 2019. During this year, CS:GO was able to overtake the MOBA from the same studio by gathering a total of 284 million hours watched.

The shooter was able to achieve this due to relying on a radically different system. Instead of having a single central championship with a huge prize pool, the game features a wide variety of competitions across the world, which both helps the game to stay relevant and develops the local scenes. To compare, in 2019 CS:GO has twice as many tournaments and leagues than Dota 2 and LoL.

Of course, the most visibility was brought by the World Championships: IEM Katowice Major in the beginning of the year and StarLadder Major Berlin that took place in the second half of the year. Out of these, the Polish tournament has turned out to be more popular than its Berlin counterpart.

#1 - League of Legends

The League of Legends became the most popular esports discipline of 2019. The legendary game has managed to set a number of records at once during its 9th season. It has gathered 478 million hours watched over its esports year, overtaking its closest competitor by 68%.

The entirety of the previous year has marked a big success for the game, with improvements being shown by almost all the major regional leagues. The developer-hosted big leagues in every corner of the world are something of a trump card of the League of Legends esports system. The central competitions include LEC and LCS for the West and LCK and LPL for the East.

The game's season has ended with an incredible record: 4 million peak viewers gathered by the semi-final of the LoL World Championship. Such a phenomenal number of viewers was attracted to the match between the world's most popular teams: SK Telecom T1 and G2 Esports. As of today, this is the largest result ever achieved in the esports industry.

The year 2019 has also marked the start for the new league for European teams. Here we are talking about the great debut of LEC – starting from an ordinary spring split but then attracting 841 thousand peak viewers during the summer finals. In other words, the American fans were in for a big disappointment, and the NA vs EU dispute has reached new heights.

To conclude, the year 2019 was certainly surprising all-around, featuring the rise of mobile gaming as well as the new records being set by the popular disciplines. We can only guess the scope of achievements to be seen in 2020.

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