Lots of people love League of Legends. That much is clear. But just what is the League of Legends player count 2018? This is a harder number to pin down than you might think. It is in Riot’s best interest to list the number of registered players rather than the League of Legends active players.
But in order to get a count that is accurate, we’ll look at both of those numbers as well as some stats on League of Legends concurrent players.
This will give us a fairly accurate representation of how the game is doing right now, and how far it has progressed since the beginnings in 2009. We’ll take a look at each year of growth, as well as the reasons behind that growth (or in some cases the reasons why it should have been even bigger) and determine exactly what the numbers are when it comes to the player base. This is not only to satisfy curiosity, but it is also a smart idea to see how long the game might actually be around, and what needs to happen to make it last for another decade or two.
Starting League of Legends Player Count in 2009
League of Legends was released to the public on October 27th, 2009, published by Riot Games. Riot is one of the game companies that handles both the game design and publishing of their games, as well as all of the other aspects. They have distribution deals all over the world, including North America, Asia and Europe. The initial release was only in a limited number of regions, but it would grow to nearly the entire planet by 2013. In October of 2009, the European distributer GOA, and Riot themselves, announced that they would begin opening up the player base to Europe. However, this partnership did not last very long.
The game was initially announced in 2008, almost a year to the date before the release date. However, the game was available in Beta from April of 2009 to October of 2009 when it was officially released. The development took more than four years, and the game itself was inspired by World of Warcraft, not only the gameplay and look of the game, but also the success of WoW. In 2009, when the game first released, there were definitely a bunch of players. Unfortunately, we were unable to find real numbers to determine how the game grew that year.
Another thing that you should note for 2009 was the birth of one of the most well-known characters of the game. Teemo wasn’t actually introduced into the game like most of the champions. He was included with the alpha of the game and was changed quite a bit before the official release date. His passive was first called Eagle Eye and gave him a longer vision range. The second iteration was called Trailblazer and it had him leaving a trail behind him that increased vision of any allies that crossed the path. Finally, Trailblazer became essentially the ability known today called Camouflage. Of course, the name changed in patch 6.22, and is now called Guerrilla Warfare, but it is essentially the same ability.
The Growth of LOL Players in 2010
By 2010, the success of the game had definitely started to spread. While there are not player numbers published for League of Legends in 2011, you can get a sense of how the game was doing by then if you look at the data from the World Championships. That’s because 2010 was the first season of this eSports competition, and it grew exponentially ever since then. In 2010, Season One saw the first Major at WGC, with a prize pool of $10,000. The winner was CLG.
There are a couple of other things to be aware of in 2010 when it comes to game history. First, LOL won the Golden Joystick Awards Online Game of the Year Award as well as several awards at the 1st Game Developers Online Choice Awards including Best Online Tech, Best New Online Game and the Audience Award.
League of Legends Player Base in 2011
2011 is when we first come across some actual numbers for how many people were playing League of Legends that year. We will also get into the release of a couple of champions, awards and the second season of the World Championships. In November of 2011, Riot published a press release that stated that there were 32.5 million players in total, with 11.5 active players who played the game at least once per month, and 4.2 million dedicated players which played the game every single day.
As for champions Volibear was released on November 29th, 2011 in patch 22.214.171.124. He was added to the game along with Imperial Lux, Akali and Silverfang. Of course, he was very different when he first came out. He was revealed via a board posting, which was not a great way to promote a new champion. However, people were excited about the concept of playing a lightning bear in armor. Also on August 9th, 2011, Skarner was released to Summoner’s Rift. Others releases included Bloodstone Taric, Rugged Garen and Obsidian Malphite.
The first season of the World Championships had an in-person audience of 200, and at their peak, the viewing audience reached nearly 200,000. The prize pool for season one was $99,500 and the winner that year was Fnatic. It was a really good year for League of Legends with a lot going on, but it was nothing compared to what was coming. One more thing of note: League of Legends was nominated for the best Free-to-Play Game of 2011 at the Golden Joystick Awards and won.
League of Legends Makes History in 2012
League of Legends had a major jump in the numbers in 2012, as well as making history in several ways. By March, it had been discovered that LOL was the number one game being played in Korean PC cafes. The game would continue to hold this distinction in Korea until 2016 when Overwatch beat it out for the number one spot. In July of 2012, it was announced in a report by Xfire that LOL was the most played PC game in both North America and Europe.
The actual numbers by one source were reported to be 27 million players that played daily and 67 million that played at least once a month. However, more research reveals the actual numbers, as a press release from Riot reports them to be 12 million daily and 27 million monthly. As for the World Championships, that was another historic moment, as the second season saw an in-person audience of 7000 and more than a million viewers. The prize pool jumped up drastically that year as well, totaling over $2 million. The winners were the Taipei Assassins.
League of Legends in 2013
In 2013, there were 12 million active players that played daily and 32 million players that played monthly. In 2013, League of Legends also became the most popular game to be played in the Philippines, especially in internet cafes around the country. There was a lot going on in eSports at the time as well. The prize pool was just over $2,000,000 for the World Championships once again, and it was won by SK Telecom T1.
The previous year, LCS was announced and on February 7th, 2013, the first League Championship Series game was played. Two days later, the first EU LCS game was played as well. In addition, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services finally recognized League of Legends players as professional athletes. Unfortunately, League of Legends would not be up for any more gaming awards until the year 2015.
League of Legends in 2014
Now, we move onto 2014, where League of Legends was still leading as one of the world’s most popular game. However, there was a lot of competition at this point, and people were starting to create new games that could potentially rival League of Legends. 2014 was a good year for gaming in general as well.
The number of active daily players had risen to 27 million by January 2014, and the game had more than 7.5 million players all playing at the same time during peak gaming sessions. That number would grow quite a bit over the coming months as the year progressed. The total number of players that played at least once per month was 67 million at this point. As for the World Gaming Championship, the prize pool was $2,130,000 and it was won by Samsung White. Season four of the WGC saw the audience rise to 11,000 people and more than five million concurrent viewers.
There wasn’t a whole lot else to report in 2014, although the media was pretty astounded by the sheer numbers reported by Riot and there were a bunch of news stories about the game and why it had become so popular that were published that year. The game had long since passed World of Warcraft as the most popular game in the world, and it continued to hold that title all of the way through 2014 as well. Forbes attributed the success of League of Legends to the thousands of Twitch streams carrying the game that had popped up, as well as Riot’s free-to-play and micro-transaction business model with Riot points or Blue Essence as well as the pretty incredible community that had popped up and grown around the game since it began.
League of Legends in 2015
2015 saw just a single nomination when it came to gaming awards. This was from the Game Awards and in the category of eSports Game of the Year. Unfortunately, League of Legends was nominated that year but did not win. At that point, there were simply too many games being developed that modeled their game after LOL and tried to improve on the things that players had a problem with.
As for the World Championships, the prize pool for the 2015 season was exactly the same as it was the previous year: $2,130,000. The winning team for the 2015 season was SK Telecom T1 with their second win since the tournament began. It is important to note that if you were to look up the prize pool numbers from different tournaments, you will notice that LOL is lower than most of them. That’s due to the provision of player salaries rather than creating a huge prize pool such as with DOTA 2.
When it comes to the viewership numbers for the World Championships, it was calculated that there was a total of 36 million unique viewers for the 2015 championships and peak times saw concurrent viewers rise to 14 million from the 11.2 million from the previous year. There was one addition event of note: the MSI event was first held that year with a prize pool of $200,000. It ran from May 7th to the 10th in 2015 and the winner ended up being Edward Gaming.
Legend of Legends in 2016
The following year was very exciting when it came to the World Championships. The 2016 saw the prize pool more than double for the event, which ran from September to October of 2016, to more than $5 million. The event was once again won by SK Telecom T1, which was their third win overall and second in a row. The World Championships attracted more than 43 million unique viewers and there were 14.7 million viewers all watching at the same time during the highest peak in viewership.
This was also a big year for lots of other reasons. Because LOL had boasted so openly about player counts in previous years, but had stayed silent on them in 2015 and even years prior, the general consensus was that the game had gone into decline and that Riot did not want to advertise that fact. However, Riot confirmed to the press that LOL had reached more than 100 million monthly viewers, a number that shocked everyone who had assumed that LOL was on its way out. The game was still the most popular game in the world and there didn’t seem to be any stopping it.
The announcement came in the way of an interview from top game officials with Forbes magazine. After three years of silence on player counts, the magazine assumed that the numbers were being misreported accidentally – an accounting error so to speak. However, the company confirmed the numbers and also released the number of players that were playing each at every day – a staggering 27 million players.
League of Legends in 2017
When 2017 rolled around, suddenly gaming awards were interested in League of Legends once again. Although LOL did not win any awards in 2017, there were plenty of nominations. The Teen Choice Award nominated LOL as Choice Game of 2017, The Golden Joystick Awards nominated League of Legends as eSports Game of the Year. They were also nominated for Best eSports Game by The Game Awards 2017 as well.
As far as World Championships, the purse was more than 4.5 million and there were 24 teams. The winner this year was Samsung Galaxy, previously called Samsung White. This was their second win, but only their first after taking on the new name. The runners-up were SK Telecom T1. The 2017 championships saw a total of 57.6 unique viewers. The total prize purses for LOL game championships combined was more than $12 million, which was the third highest combined prize purse that could be attributed to a single game.
2017 was also notable for being the first time that the player count has gone down. However, it didn’t go down that much, and it is pretty amazing that a game that came out nearly 10 years ago since is able to pull in as many players as it does. The figures for 2017 were 81 million unique players that played at least once per month. Even with the drop in numbers, League of Legends is still the most popular game in the world. Previously, the number of LOL accounts that played daily on a consistent basis was announced to be 27 million. That number has also probably gone down, although it is speculation because there is no official count from Riot. We estimate the number of dedicated daily players to be around 22 million.
How Many People Play League of Legends in 2018?
At the time of this article, 2018 is just beginning. The numbers that were pulled from 2017 were pretty close to the end of the year, so it is safe to assume that they are still pretty accurate. The real question is, will the numbers go up or go down during the next few months. It is impossible to predict, but near-pure speculation and data from other games leads us to conclude that this is probably a stabilization period rather than a real reduction in players, meaning that the numbers will be about the same – 80 million or so monthly.