According to SuperData’s 2020 Year in Review report focusing on the health of digital games and interactive media market, Riot Games’ multiplayer online battle arena League of Legends generated $1.75 billion revenue in 2020.
Riot Games in 2020
According to the report League of Legends was the highest earning, non-mobile free to play title over the last year and the sixth highest-earning free to play title overall. The highest earning free to play titles were all on mobile. Tencent’s Honor of Kings and Peacekeeper Elite were unsurprisingly at the top of the list. They brought in $2.45 and $2.32 billion respectively.
Riot Games have released a number of games over the past couple of years that may have bitten off a chunk of the League of Legends revenue. Titles like Legends of Runeterra and VALORANT could have impacted the success of League. However, according to the data, there are more than enough rabid fans of the MOBA to sustain it and even grow it. In fact, revenue for the game increased by around $250 million compared to 2019.
This proves that Riot Games has the ability and marketing budget to make sure that their products can survive most crises. 2020 was a year of upheaval for many esports titles. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed them on the back foot. While many have survived and continued to remain profitable, not many can say that they actually improved upon the last year.
The future of League of Legends
Now, in 2021 with a vaccine on the horizon and a growing userbase for their esports FPS Valorant, Riot is primed for even more success. Riot even have a few more games in the pipeline. Riot has already released a League-themed card game and an auto-battler. In 2021, the company plans to launch a mobile and console version of the main game, League of Legends: Wild Rift, and a spinoff single-player, turn-based RPG for consoles and PC. They have an animated series, Arcane, scheduled for 2021, and there are two League of Legends board games. They are even developing a League of Legends MMO.
The SuperData Report
The report from SuperData has also provided some other interesting findings. Overall, digital games alone earned $126.6B in 2020, up 12%. Here are some of the key findings from the report.
- Free-to-play games continued to generate the vast majority of games revenue (78%), with Asian markets accounting for 59% of free-to-play earnings. Hardcore mobile games continued to appeal to players in Asia. Honor of Kings and Peacekeeper Elite, both Tencent titles, each generated over $2B during the year.
- The mobile market experienced a 10% growth in 2020 and accounted for 58% of the total games market. Despite lockdowns and reduced commuting, mobile earnings remained steady as a majority of mobile players (62% in the United States) already use mobile devices as their primary gaming platform.
- Roblox was the third highest-earning digital game of 2020 and surpassed Fortnite thanks to strong mobile growth. Roblox mobile earnings grew as the game creation platform became a social network of choice for young gamers. Although Fortnite still earned more than $1B in 2020, it faced stiff competition from games like Roblox and Call of Duty: Warzone.
- Premium games earnings grew 28% year-over-year, outpacing the growth of the free-to-play market (9%). North America and Europe together accounted for 84% of all premium games revenue. Since COVID-19 impacted these regions severely, spending on premium content jumped. Life simulation game Animal Crossing: New Horizons became one of the biggest hits in 2020, breaking the console record for premium launch downloads.