In 2019, the mobile gaming has shown an impressive growth. We have summarized the results of the past year and will tell you which representatives of the esports industry have turned out to be the most viewed.
First of all, let's talk about the data we have collected. The hours watched of every esports event belonging to each of the disciplines were taken into account, sans the data from the Chinese platforms.
#5 - Clash Royale
Over the course of the last year, Clash Royale has gathered a total of 5 million hours watched. The season also had 133 thousand peak viewers. In 2018 the game became the most popular mobile esports discipline, only to lose this title in 2019.
The reasons for such a turn of events were quite obvious – the overall decrease of the game's popularity and the appearance of an increasing number of rivals on the esports market, each boasting its own brand of unusual content to surprise the viewers.
Clash Royale had no significant changes to spice up the game's esports season. To illustrate this, we'll mention the 63% visibility drop of the titular event, CRL World Finals 2019 (which was derived from comparison of the peak viewers indicator of the last two seasons).
#4 - Mobile Legends: Bang Bang
There is a significant gap between this and the next entry of the top (which would be Mobile Legends: Bang Bang) due to reaching nearly 30 million hours watched. This mobile MOBA has scored its peak viewers mark of 648 thousand people during the MLBB World Championship 2019.
There's another interesting moment, given that the MLBB Worlds' prize fund has amounted to 250 thousand dollars – which makes it 50 thousand less than one for the MPL ID Season 4, the league for the Indonesian teams. The peak viewers difference between the two reaches as much as 123%. From this, we can conclude that the viewers are attracted to events due to the latter having intriguing lists of participants rather than the large prize pools.
Such results are far from being usual for the game in question – in fact, quite recently it was a relatively unknown title. It was only in 2019 that the game has managed to amass popularity, making its involvement in esports more intensive as a result. At first, there was the effort by the developers, who have started to conduct more competitions within the bounds of their very own ML:BB Professional League. Later on the game's scene grew to the point that allowed this MOBA to receive its own World Cup.
This has caused the prize pools to grow as well, nowadays reaching hundreds of thousands of dollars. While not that huge by the standards of mobile esports, these at the very least help when it comes to taking this particular discipline seriously. ML:BB is also in for a great rivalry in the future, given the soon-to-be arrival of the mobile version of League of Legends and the great number of design similarities between the two.
#3 - Free Fire
The middle spot was occupied by Free Fire, another incredible discipline which has managed to surprise the whole world by its 2 million peak viewers mark achieved at the Free Fire World Series 2019 Rio event. The viewability indicator is yet another outstanding feature of this game, which has collected a total of 38 million hours watched over 2019.
The creation of Garena is amazing indeed. The majority of its achievements were brought by the Brazilian fans, given that the game's esports results in 2019 have mostly revolved around Free Fire Pro League Brazil. World Series 2019 Rio, the discipline's titular championship, has further cemented this success. This particular event has also featured gifts for the viewers. However, saying that the latter were attracted by the prizes alone would be wrong – given that the viewers were not seen leaving the stream right after receiving their gifts.
By the way, the representatives of the CIS have managed to distinguish themselves at this World Championship. This has caused the developers to focus more of their attention on this particular region, and in 2020 it has already received its very own Free Fire Russia League. Overall, this year will be quite turbulent for this shooter title. Should the situation in Southeast Asia resolve in favor of Free Fire, it will be in for an incredibly fierce battle versus AoV and PUBG – a battle for the title of the industry's most popular game.
#2 - PUBG Mobile
Another battle royale, PUBG Mobile, has earned the silver spot, managing to collect a total of 55 million hours watched in 2019. Its most popular tournament, PUBG Mobile Club Open Spring Split Global Finals, has gathered 596 thousand peak viewers.
PUBG Mobile is known to be very popular among the fans hailing from the eastern countries. PMCO SEA League has happened to be the regional event with the largest overall indicators; aside of it, the finals of the two splits of PUBG Mobile Club Open have also shown excellent results.
The PUBG Mobile Esports system is different, in an interesting way: the game's publisher conducts qualifiers not for the regions alone, but also for individual countries as well. In addition, the publisher also offers a large number of languages for the broadcasts of its game's esports events. Nowadays, such features are still quite uncommon.
The total prize pool for the PUBG Mobile Club Open will be increased to $5 million in 2020. This allows us to expect that further growth of interest to this shooter. In particular, it reminds us about the developers' statement that in 2019, the game's esports scene saw more that 50 thousand competing teams.
#1 - Arena of Valor
Arena of Valor become the most viewed game of the mobile esports. This same discipline is also known under such names as Garena RoV, Honor of Kings and Lien Quan. Representing a single project, the results of all these games were compiled together and added to the results of AoV itself.
As such, this discipline has managed to collect a total of 72 million hours watched over the past year, maintaining a comparatively large gap from the nearest competitor (by overtaking the result of the latter by 31%).
The peak viewers indicator has amounted to 764 thousand viewers and was achieved at the World Cup 2019. Again, this is a decent improvement compared to 2018 with its respective indicator of 306 thousand viewers being also achieved at the World Cup. In other words, we are seeing a more than double increase. This means that the game has managed to not only maintain its existing achievements, but to also improve upon them.
Such figures from 2019 could be partly attributed to the two finals featuring the Vietnamese team. Vietnam is known for its large fanbase for this particular game. Therefore, the Vietnamese viewers simply couldn't stay away when their team started dominating the world stage.
Additionally, the ever-growing support for the esports has allowed to further cement the game's success in 2019. Unlike the case of other games, here we are looking at the esports history that goes all the way back to 2017. The game's publisher, Tencent, is also using a vast number of resources for promoting the game. Despite not being that popular among the Western fans, this MOBA is a long-time leader in the Asian market.
In 2020, this situation may change dramatically – as the game's developers will duke it out with the Riot Games. Although the studio is controlled by Tencent, no one can guarantee that their mobile version of League of Legends will not become a big obstacle for AoV by over-saturating the market.
The last year has shown us an incredible growth of the mobile gaming – which has turned from a mere outsider into a real esports powerhouse over just a couple of years. If these trends will continue, it is entirely feasible to see some representatives of PC gaming being completely crushed by the pressure of the mobile industry.