League of Legends to dominate the MOBA genre through 2016, analyst predicts

League of Legends to dominate the MOBA genre through 2016, analyst predicts
Ben Parfitt

A slew of newcomers to the MOBA genre will do little to disrupt League of Legends’ dominance of the sector.

That’s according to EEDAR analyst Ed Zhao, who claims on Gamasutra that Riot’s title will continue to command the lion’s share of the MOBA audience through the next 18 months and beyond.

Specifically, in 2016 EEDAR predicts that LOL will claim 66.3 per cent of the market. That will leave Valve’s Dota 2 with 14 per cent, Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm with seven per cent and Hi-Rez’s Smite with 2.5 per cent.

Part of the reason is that the analyst foresees little in the way of player migration.

“Both League and Dota 2 have recently prioritized a retention strategy where limited edition game modes (such as League’s URF), eSports events, and increasingly high-quality aesthetic items are all aimed at appealing to the current user,” Zhao said.

“These titles gained a huge audience and now they’re fighting to keep these users.

“In addition, MOBAs intrinsically prevent churn to similar titles. To learn a MOBA like League or Dota 2, players have to invest dozens of hours with the meta-strategy, item build paths, and hero abilities. Players build up their accounts over time as they garner heroes and levels, which makes it all the more difficult to leave. Furthermore, it’s even more of a daunting task as a new title will have its own quirks and idiosyncrasies.”

To threaten the status quo newcomers must innovate - as is demonstrated by Smite, Zhao adds, which adopted a third person perspective and an easier learning curve. Heroes of the Storm, too, has championed accessibility as it attempts to rival the big boys, and of course has the strength of Blizzard IP and its loyal fan base behind it.

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