League of Legends, the video game responsible for selling out Los Angeles’ Staples Center in under an hour, isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.
New metrics reveal that the PC multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) heavyweight has reached 27 million daily players — and brought in more than $600 million from microtransactions last year. The number of daily players has more than doubled since October 2012, when developer Riot Games declared it the most-played video game in the world.
League of Legends has achieved tremendous success as both a spectator e-sport phenomenon and a profitable free-to-play game.
Thirty-two million people viewed last season’s world championship event online, according to the Wall Street Journal. Many of them watched via video game-broadcasting service Twitch, which owes a large part of its own exponential growth to League of Legends’ popularity.
$624 million in 2013 makes League of Legends the second biggest earner in the explosively growing free-to-play category. It finished the year $333 million behind the top-ranked game, Crossfire, as reported by SuperData Research.
In a League of Legends match, players join teams of five and compete to destroy a nexus in their opponents’ base while protecting their own. Various gameplay mechanics turn this simple objective into a complex and strategic competition.