League of Legends
League of Legends

The decline of League of Legends – Is the world’s biggest esport reaching its demise?

The decline of League of Legends – Is the world’s biggest esport reaching its demise?
With millions of players from all over the world, League of Legends has become the powerhouse of the esports industry. Since its release in 2009, League of Legends has grown at an unprecedented rate – from a small, bug-filled MOBA to the game so many know and love today. However, it seems like League of Legends has gotten lost amidst the crowd. As new titles like Fortnite and Overwatch have generated their own massive followings, League of Legends is struggling. Is the end in sight? Let’s take a look. 30422092828_fb89e949fc_k-300x200.jpg

The Stats – Why League Is In Trouble

Where’d Everyone Go?

While League is still home to millions of avid fans and players, the player base is slowly declining. In the last year, it is estimated that League of Legends has lost around 15-20% of its player base. Many of the more experienced players have left, and less and less newcomers are visiting the game. While they still have a huge player base (around 80 million according to estimates), losing players is never a good sign, especially after eight straight years of growth.

Viewership Troubles

Beyond the actual player base, it seems like League of Legends is losing fans as well. The major tournaments – MSI and Worlds – are still the most viewed esports events in the world, but viewership has certainly taken a hit among lesser-known events. The regular season LCS games no longer attract the following that they once did, and Twitch streamers like Nightblue and Imaqtpie have been usurped by Ninja and his fellow Fortnite players. Fewer people are tuning in to watch League, and without an avid fan base, it’ll be difficult to retain its heavyweight status.

Why Did This Happen?

Problems With Riot

While Riot was never the most beloved among the community, they seemed to be responsive, and they continued to make improvements and additions to the game. In the past year, however, their reputation has taken a hit. Patch 8.11 introduced a new meta, one focused almost exclusively on damage and bruisers. Games became less about strategy and more about speed, and it was almost impossible to stage a comeback. Players took to the forums to complain, and pros began to leave the scene – spelling disaster for the world’s most popular MOBA. Beyond the gameplay itself, Riot has found itself in even more trouble. Following a searing report from Kotaku, one accusing Riot of sexism and misconduct within the workplace, Riot is in deep trouble. The company has issued a formal apology but with such serious allegations, it may be too little, too late. MSI 2018 Crowd Riot has also announced a series of budget cuts to its esports department. On Reddit, Riot’s team claimed they spend over $100 million on esports alone. While their esports events certainly attract a good following, they aren’t too profitable, and Riot is said to be switching to a break-even budget. Riot needs to get back on track if they don’t want Leauge of Legends to collapse, and they need to address the internal issues they are facing as well.

Competition Kills

Since their creation, League has never had a competitor like Fortnite. Fortnite’s success is unprecedented; no game has grown as much or as fast as Epic Games’ new title. Ninja has become the most popular streamer in the world by far. New Fornite tournaments are popping up every week, and games like Overwatch and Starcraft have taken even more players away from League. League needs to innovate; they cannot allow themselves to become an “old” game. They have to make good, clever updates to the game, and they have to make sure they don’t fall too far behind.

Time Is Undefeated

No game has been able to stand the test of time. All games will eventually die out. This very well might be the peak for League of Legends. The growth they’ve experienced is unsustainable, and it’s only natural that they’ll experience some decline. However, Riot needs to try their best to keep League in the conversation. It is inevitable that players will begin to leave the game, but Riot needs to try and attract new players; the gaming world has never been more popular, and it’s Riot’s chance to take advantage of it.

Looking Ahead

What’s next for League of Legends? Is this decline just a result of time or of true issues with Riot and their game? The future is uncertain. Simply put, Riot needs to get their game back on track. If they want to keep League of Legends as a major powerhouse in the gaming world, they need to regain the support of their players, and they need to bring back the game that fans once knew.