League of Legends is the Most Impactful Game of 2020’s Q3

Published: Nov 7, 2020 - Last Updated: Jul 26, 2023

The Esports Observer has published its quarterly report of the most impactful PC games, and to no one’s surprise League of Legends still takes the top. Riots’ MOBA has dominated the rankings for the sixth quarter in a row, with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare coming in a not-so-close second place.

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The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has continued to impact the competitive scenes of most premier esports titles. Valve games like CS:GO and Dota 2 have been hit the most severely due to a lack of large LAN tournaments that shape their competitive landscapes.

TEO PC Games
Image Credits | The Esports Observer

To formulate the rankings, TEO takes into account a multitude of different factors, with the monthly active player base accounting for 30% of the rating, total distributed winnings 25%, esports hours watched 20%, total hours watched 15%, concurrent streams 5% and the number of tournaments accounting for 5%.

League is still on top

It comes as no surprise that League of Legends leads the rankings. With the second-largest active player base and an unmatched competitive ecosystem, League stands on top, nearly doubling the rating of second-place Call of Duty. LoL was also the most-watched game on the live streaming platform Twitch during the period.

Call of Duty landed second in the rankings, owing its placement mostly to the inaugural season of the Call of Duty League and its $5M USD prize pool. Additionally, COD was the most-streamed game on Twitch during the third quarter of 2020.

Call of Duty League Optic
Image Credits | Activision

CSGO dropped in the rankings mostly due to the absence of major LAN tournaments that make up the bulk of its competitive scene. Tournaments like ESL One Cologne 2020 and ESL Pro League Season 12 were still able to land the game a top-three finish, but they’re a far cry from what Counter-Strike fans are used to on a regular basis.

Riots’ new FPS Valorant is sitting in a comfortable fourth place as a relative newcomer to the list. The games’ meteoric rise has overshadowed its direct competitor Overwatch, with Valorant slowly gaining on CS:GO itself. Despite having a competitive scene still in its infancy, Valorant remains one of the most played and streamed games on the market currently.

Dota 2 is still recovering

Dota 2 is one of the games that was hit the hardest by the coronavirus restrictions. With The International, Dota’s main event of the year, being postponed, Dota has taken a hit that will take some time to recover from. The competitive scene hasn’t faired any better either, with a number of teams disbanding and some professional players stating that making a living from the game in its current state is borderline impossible.

The International 10 Battle Pass was definitely a saving grace for Dota 2 this year. The ongoing Diretide event has increased the active player base, while Epic League will repair some of the damage done to Dota’s competitive ecosystem. But Dota 2’s competitive year revolves around TI, and things are not going to get better for Valve’s MOBA until it actually happens.

Dota 2 The International 9
Image Credits | Monster Energy

Although the Fortnite World Cup got postponed this year, the game still remains the most actively played out of any on the list. Despite having a weaker competitive scene, Fortnite remains the second most-watched and streamed game on Twitch, resulting in a high sixth-place ranking.

Another battle royale that manages to crack the top 10 is Apex Legends. The Electronic Arts title has one of the largest active player bases and a budding competitive scene centered around the Apex Legend Global Series Autumn Circuit, culminating in the ALGS Autumn Circuit Playoffs in December. 

Overwatch has seen its fair share of decline in the last year, with the professional scene currently being in a state of transition. Surprisingly, Overwatch managed to slightly improve on its last ranking, mostly due to the Overwatch League season running somewhat smoothly.

Rounding out the top we have Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds and Hearthstone. Despite having a steadily declining player base, the PUBG Continental series helps the game stay afloat and somewhat competitive with the likes of Fortnite and Apex. Blizzard’s Hearthstone remains afloat mostly due to the $500K Masters Tour 2020 Montreal and the Grandmasters 2020 Season 2.

Outside the top 10

While Rocket League’s Championship Series Season X helped it stay relevant, the biggest change will come in the form of the game going free to play. StarCraft II on the other hand is mostly drawn back by its small player base. Through the DreamHack SC2 Masters 2020 Fall, Starcraft contributed more money to its competitors than the likes of VALORANT and Apex Legends during Q3.

Rainbow Six Siege was definitely the biggest loser of Q3. The game went down from Tier 1 to measly 13th place, mostly due to the cancelation of the Six August Major.

Rounding out the list we have Teamfight Tactics and World of Warcraft. TFT’s biggest event was the $200K Galaxies Championship, enough to land the game a solid 14th place finish. WoW can attribute its 15th place ranking mostly due to the game’s viewership on Twitch

Admir Mujacic

Since: September 28, 2020

An esport writer with a huge passion for Dota 2, CS:GO and basketball. Self-proclaimed number #1 J. Cole superfan.

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