Is Dota 2 Dying?

The Definitive Answer in 2021

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In the world of competitive MOBA titles, Dota 2 can be considered the all-time king. There’s stiff competition in the form of League of Legends, but there are many who’ll claim that Dota 2 is the undisputed MOBA champion. Since 2013, Dota 2 has been an enormously popular title, having initially spawned as a simple mod for Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. It’s a storied legacy and for many years, fans have adored the platform. But, we’re here to now ask a very important question: is Dota 2 dying?

Is Dota 2 dying?

Where competitive gaming is concerned, one thing remains almost axiomatic: games have lifecycles. There isn’t one game around today that has remained unchanged since it launched, and in most cases, popular titles receive sequels, spin-offs, or follow-up releases. The first iteration of Dota – Defense of the Ancients – launched way back in 2003, and after ten years, it was replaced by Dota 2. However, there are no signs that Dota 2 is going to be replaced in a similar fashion – but does that give credence to the claim that Dota 2 is dying?

Let’s find out.

What’s The State of Dota 2 in 2021?

Now, let’s not focus on, “Why Dota 2 is dying,” but instead, let’s cast a less judgmental line and ask, “Is Dota 2 dying?”

There will always be critics standing at the ready to shoot down any platform, regardless of how well it is doing. If you’re cruising through the common subreddits and noticing that people are crying out at the death of Dota 2, you shouldn’t take that as gospel. There’s a tangible need to look a little deeper, study statistics, and really digest the state of Dota 2’s future.

Right now, as this article is being written, it’s hard to gauge the general popularity of Dota 2. That’s for one reason, and one reason only: The International 10. We’ll come back to that in a second.

But, generally, Dota 2 performs remarkably well on streaming platforms like Twitch. It’s regularly ranked relatively high on the streaming table, pulling in massive numbers and being broadcasted by some of Dota 2’s best players. The statistics speak for themselves, and Dota 2 enjoys a fairly positive reception across the board.

According to popular statistics platform, Streamscharts.com, Dota 2 receives around 60,000 average viewers every month. Throughout the course of a month, around 1,500 individual channels stream Dota 2 gameplay, ranking it in the top 15 Twitch games of all time. It may not come as a surprise, but those numbers are stable, not dropping, suggesting that: No! Dota 2 is not dying.

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Image Credit: StreamCharts

If we look at Steamcharts.com, we can find out key information regarding the player counts of Dota 2. In the last 30 days (at the time of writing), there have been 402,000 average players, a 3% gain over the previous month. At the start of 2021, that average player count was around 404,000, meaning that the number of people playing Dota 2 is still high.

Is Dota 2 Esports Dying?

In the last section, we mentioned something called The International 10.

Right now (October 2021), the most valuable esports tournament in the world is taking place – The International 10. It’s a competition focused entirely around Dota 2, and it boasts a staggeringly high prize pool worth some $40 million. It’s one of the biggest stages in modern gaming, and it’s the ultimate goal for any Dota 2 competitor.

For a period of time when this tournament is live, The International 10 fuels the esports industry. It dominates the news, the feeds, and the streaming platforms. When it comes to esports betting The International odds and markets are insanely popular and played by bettors all around the world. Does this tournament sound like the kind of thing that belongs to a dying game?

In 2019, The International peaked at 1.9m concurrent viewers during the grand final event of the tournament. In 2021, this concurrent figure peaked at 1.13m on the first day of the event. By contrast, in 2018, The International 8 peaked at around 1.21m viewers. So, as the numbers reveal, the biggest esports tournament in Dota 2 is only getting more popular as time goes on.

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Image Credit: Valve

Aside from The International, there are countless smaller competitions littering the Dota 2 landscape every year. It’s a diverse, dynamic, and vibrant landscape that remains highly populated and massively valuable for all those involved.

Is Dota 2 dying? Not according to these figures.

The Opinions of the Internet

Ultimately, while the numbers speak for themselves, there are plenty of claims to be made by those dwelling amongst the vastness of the internet.

In June of 2021, esports.net published a comprehensive review of the platform, authored by a self-proclaimed ten-year-long Dota 2 fan. This firsthand insight into the state of Dota 2 in 2021 was somewhat invaluable, offering up information as to why Dota 2 is dying. Although, that isn’t the way the conversation went, with the author mostly suggesting that, no, Dota 2 isn’t dying – but it might do in the near future.

There were claims that the player base for Dota 2 is ‘cyclical’, with many players engaging with Dota 2, falling off, then returning a few months later. Reportedly, there are more players leaving Dota 2 than joining Dota 2, but they’re not going off to play another MOBA, like League of Legends. In most cases, it’s a temporary departure before a valiant return.

Here are a few key takeaways from this article:

  1. If Valve wants to keep the Dota 2 player base strong, it’ll need to appeal to a younger audience.
  2. The ‘league system’ present in Dota 2 needs to be refined and perfected to make the game more enjoyable.
  3. Valve must focus on the vibrant Dota 2 esports scene to keep up the stream of publicity.

They’re fair statements in their own right, and ultimately, the author leans towards to positive side of the debate.

However, once The International 2 is over, the numbers may start to show a decline. Once the excitement of the tournament has dropped off and Dota 2 betting slows down (among other things), the statistics may become a little more damning. On the broad side of things, it doesn’t seem as though Dota 2 is dying – at least, not yet.