Juniper Research has verified current standings among some of the world's biggest videogames in its latest report, Future Games Market: MMO & MOBA 2017-2021, in which it predicts the two free-to-play genres will account for "almost 25% of the digital games industry" this year.
Big money tournaments are being driven by games like League of Legends and Dota 2, says Juniper, both titles being Multiplayer Online Battle Arena games, or MOBAs.
The competitive eSports market will be worth US$3.5bil (RM15.40bil) by 2021, the report predicts, while MOBAs and more traditional Massively Multiplayer Online games like World of Warcraft will together contribute US$43bil (RM189.20bil) by the same year.
First released in 2009, League of Legends is currently the most popular MOBA game, with over 100 million users each month, followed by Dota 2 (2013) and then "Heroes of the Storm" (2015).
All three owe their approach to the original Dota, a fan-made alteration to an earlier strategy game, Warcraft 3 (2002).
"MOBA games have evolved from user-made campaigns to a staple of the eSports industry, with considerable investment by games developers and publishers," said the report's author, Lauren Foye, in a prepared statement. "Investment is driven by the fact that, in some cases, eSports viewership surpasses many popular sports."
As for MMOs – more specifically, a role-playing adventure subsection dubbed MMORPGs – the pivoting follow-up to Warcraft 3, 2004's World of Warcraft, is still the world leader, according to UK-based consultancy Juniper.
ArenaNet's Guild Wars 2 (2012) and Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited (2014) are the second and third biggest MMORPGs in terms of monthly active users. — AFP Relaxnews