The sheer popularity of the online battle arena genre is not to be ignored. Games like League of Legends and Defense of the Ancients (DotA) 2 have been massive in terms of player base. League of Legends has even managed to gain massive real-life attendances, with the most recent League of Legends championship filling a stadium in South Korea and Dota 2's international championships luring in 20 million online viewers. Blizzard are also testing how far the genre will stretch, with their own MOBA title Heroes of the Storm currently in beta testing.
It shows the continual growth of online gaming in general, as the PC gaming community steadily heads towards a digital existence. Steam, Valve’s digital distribution and online gaming platform, has become the go-to application for many gamers’ needs. In the last two years, Steam’s growth has been incredible, with a recent concurrent online user record of over 8 million.
Now, the two worlds of MOBA and digital distribution have come together to break another rather impressive record. This weekend, Valve's online battle arena title DotA 2 became the first game in Steam's history to break the milestone of 1 million concurrent users. That means that over a million Steam users were signed in and playing DotA 2 at the same time.
DotA 2 was well ahead of any other titles at the weekend, too. According to the figures released by Valve, the MOBA title’s closest rival was another Valve-developed game in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The multiplayer shooter was a distant second, picking up approximately 420,000 concurrent players. After that was Team Fortress 2, with a ‘mere’ 80,000 users. The highest-ranking non-Valve title was Football Manager 2015, which had a concurrent player base of over 70,000 users.
It remains to be seen whether DotA 2 will hit such heights again any time soon. A possible reason for the MOBA title hitting the 1 million concurrent user mark may be a newly-launched game event called the New Bloom Festival. The festival includes the new Year Beast Brawl game mode, in which players can fight alongside the Year Beast as it spawns every five minutes. The Beast itself can also be upgraded, with pathways for support, combat and speed. Whatever, spurned the record, there's no denying DotA 2 is a huge game for Valve.