Dota 2 versus League of Legends in China: Statistics

General Mervyn “ISB” Tan

Picture of InJoy CyberCafe in Shanghai, China has analysed some statistics on MOBA gameplay in China from the months of July to November 2013, agglomerated from Shun Wang Corporation, the largest net cafe operator in China.

These statistics are derived directly from the net cafe reports, and represent more than half of net cafe patrons in China. The statistics take into account numbers of players, and average time spent playing the game. However, do note that these statistics are limited purely to net cafe patrons, and does not account for gamers from home. It is also important to note that these statistics do not account for unique numbers of players - they are merely records of patrons visiting the net cafes and the time they spent playing specific games there.

Number of Daily Users Playing A Game

Graph showing the number of players playing each game across a four month period. LoL is the red line and Dota2 is the green line.

Not surprisingly, the statistics show that the League of Legends (英雄联盟) holds a stranglehold on the MOBA market, having a relatively stable player base of 1.4 million on average, until the start of the school term in September, which causes the spikes you can see to occur on weekends. This suggests that a relatively sizable portion of the Chinese League players who visit net cafes are students, which accounts for these spikes.

Comparatively, Dota2 has been stable at an average of 50,000 players daily. It is also important to note that Dota 2 was only released in China in July 2013, which means that the game is in its complete infancy - the statistics do not account for WarCraft III Dota players, since it is impossible to track which maps patrons are playing. It is also important to note that the game only opened to the public (i.e. not requiring access keys) in October 2013, which accounts for the growth towards the later end of the period.

Length of Average Gaming Session (min)

Graph showing the average amount of time spent playing each game. LoL is in red while Dota 2 is in green.

On the other hand, net cafe patrons spent varying amounts of time playing each game. League of Legends players seemed to play an average of about 50 minutes for each visit to the net cafe. Comparatively, Dota 2 exerted a stronger hold on its players, keeping them tied to their screens for an average of 100 minutes each session. The times played per game seem to suggest that users tend to play two matches in total before leaving the premises, whichever the game, since matches in League tend to be shorter on average.  

What is really surprising about these statistics is the number of Dota 2 players in China: the WarCraft III map was downloaded over 50 million times from Chinese sources alone, making it one of the most popular games there. An explanation as to why these players have not switched to Dota 2 cannot be given based on the data that we have, but it is worth looking into. 


Mervyn “ISB” Tan
Mervyn 'ISB' Tan is an undergraduate who writes about eSports mostly because he has the time to. He enjoys the ARTS/MOBA genre in general, and cannot play FPS games to save his life. He wishes that he will one day reach 5k MMR, too.