According to SuperData’s 2020 Year in Year Review report, Riot Games’ multiplayer online battle arena game League of Legends has managed to earn an astounding $1.75 billion in the past year, behind Pokemon Go which generated $1.92 billion.
League of Legends benefitted greatly from Legends of Runeterra, a free-to-play digital collectible card game, which was released on April 29, 2020 for Microsoft Windows, Android, and iOS. Still, the original game, released in 2009, remains unstoppable. In 2013, the game generated $624 million, which increased to $2.1 billion in 2017. Despite a slight drop in 2018 to $1.4 billion, in 2019, the revenue increased again to $1.5 billion.
Of all the free-to-play games, League of Legends was the sixth highest grossing game of 2020 and the only non-mobile title in the top 10. Meanwhile, VALORANT, Riot Games’ free-to-play multiplayer tactical first-person hero shooter, which was the ninth highest grossing game in 2020, is set to make a huge jump in earnings in 2021 due to capital increases.
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SuperData’s reports also reveals that free-to-play games continued to generate the most game revenue (78%), with Asian markets accounting for 59% of free-to-play earnings. Honor of Kings and Peacekeeper Elite, both Tencent titles, generated more than $2 billion each in 2020.
Although 2020 was a big year for gaming due to COVID-19 lockdowns, the rollout of a vaccine is not expected to slow the gaming market since the long-term habits formed during the pandemic will probably remain. Both free-to-play and premium markets in Asia were up year-over-year by 11% and 20%, respectively, despite several countries, particularly China, dealing with COVID-19 more quickly and effectively than other markets.
In 2021, League of Legends fans can expect to see the launch of League of Legends: Wild Rift in open beta, which was due to be released in October in North America but was delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the game has been released in select regions, North America probably won’t have access to the game until mid-2021.
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