League of Legends is the Most-Watched Esports Title of 2022
With the emergence of affordable devices and internet connections, the gaming industry has experienced tremendous growth over the last few years. With more and more people warming up to the idea of esports as a career, the scope for competitive gaming is increasing by the day. Esports tournaments allow fans to understand the titles in-depth and also provide them with the ultimate LAN experience. After the COVID-19 pandemic, 2022 saw the resurgence of LANs across the globe which gave a much-needed boost to the esports scene. According to a recent report by , Riot Games’ flagship multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) title, League of Legends, was the most-watched esports title of 2022. Additionally, Riot’s other title Valorant also made it to the top 5 most-watched esports titles in 2022.
Top 5 most-watched esports games of 2022
Although Valorant is far behind its counterpart Counter Strike: Global Offensive [CS: GO], the gap between the two games is gradually closing. Riot Games’ tactical FPS game Valorant recorded an incredible growth in viewership in 2022. The game accumulated 283.47 Million watch hours in 2022, which is 32.9% more than in 2021.
The main event of the Valorant 2022 esports season – Valorant Champions 2022 – was the most popular tournament amongst all. It had a peak viewership of 1.5 Million viewers. Compared to 2021, the peak viewership has recorded around 27% growth in 2022.
4. Dota 2
Valve’s popular MOBA title Dota 2 secured fourth place on the list. The game acquired over 313.61 Million watch hours throughout 2022, a 10% decline from 2021.
Dota 2’s main esports event The International 2022 was the most popular Dota 2 tournament last year and it recorded over 1.7 Million peak viewers. Although this figure seems high, it is significantly lower than the peak viewership of The International 2021, which recorded a peak viewership of 2.7 Million.
3. Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (ML:BB)
Moonton’s popular mobile MOBA title,. The game’s watch time decreased by 14.4% when compared to 2021 but its airtime saw an increase of 7%. This decrease in watch time could likely be attributed to the M4 World Championship, the World Championship of the 2022 esports season, taking place in January 2023 instead of 2022.
To sum it up, MLBB had a total of 331.47 Million hours of watch time in 2022. Mobile Legends Professional League (MPL) ID Season 9 was the most popular tournament last year with its finals being watched by more than 2.84 Million peak viewers.
2. Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO)
Valve's popular tactical first-person shooter (FPS), CS:GO, was the second most-watched esports game of 2022. It accumulated over 448.41 Million hours of watch time. Surprisingly, the watch time has grown 8.5% when compared to 2021, despite direct competition from Riot Games’ FPS title Valorant. It is important to note that CS:GO had the highest airtime – 14.4K hours – of all other titles.
Notably, among all CS: GO tournaments in 2022, PGL Major Antwerp 2022 was the most famous one. The grand finals of the Belgian Major, which saw Natus Vincere and FaZe Clan going head-to-head, attracted over 2.1 Million peak viewers.
1. League of Legends
League of Legends became the most-watched esports game for the second year running. It accumulated over 617 Million hours of watch time in 2022, which is 7% lower than in 2021. The 2022 World Championship or Worlds 2022, the main event of the League of Legends esports season, was one of the most popular esports tournaments across the globe. Worlds 2022 Grand Finals, which was played between , recorded a peak viewership of 5.1 Million viewers, which is around 22% higher than the peak viewership of World Championship 2021.
A fourth seed team has never won Worlds so far but Korean team by hoisting the Summoner's Cup in 2022, completing its underdog story.
2022 was also a massive success for the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) Series. Notably, the grand finals of MSI 2022 attracted over 2.1 Million peak viewers, which is higher than Worlds 2017 and 2018 peak viewers.
It is interesting to note that out of the top 5 most-watched esports games of 2022, three are MOBA titles, and the other two are tactical FPS. Furthermore, only one title in the top 5 is a mobile game, while the rest are PC titles. Even though mobile esports has seen massive growth over the last few years, the reason for more titles not making this list is likely be attributed to the ban of Free Fire and Battlegrounds Mobile India (the Indian variant of PUBG Mobile) in India.