How many players of League of Legends, Dota 2 and other esports game actively participate in competitive gaming? How long do they spend on their favorite games and how much money do they spend?
A new report from research outfit EEDAR seeks the answers to these questions. It defines an "esports participator" as a particular game player who has participated in a tournament or watched a tournament for that game in the past year. EEDAR surveyed more than 2,000 self-selecting gamers who have either played or watched an esports-related title within the past year.
MOBAs hold the crown with 69 percent of League of Legends players and 63 percent of Dota 2 players counted as "participators." Heroes of the Storm and Smite came in with 45 percent and 35 percent respectively.
"Esports viewers are an advertising goldmine."
Among shooters, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is highest with a participation rate of 55 percent followed by Call of Duty with 52 percent. On average, 57 percent of fighting games players — Super Smash Bros. and Street Fighter 4 — say they are participants.
The report - —called Esports Consumer Analysis White Paper — also looked at demographic information on fans and players of competitive games. Generally speaking, 64 percent of PC games players are men. But popular esports games skew toward men with Dota 2, League of Legends and CS:GO all showing fewer than 30 percent women players.
The average age for players of most esports titles is between 24 and 27 years of age. League of Legends has an average age of 26 while Dota 2 and Smite come in at 25. Call of Duty players are the oldest, at almost 27 on average.
Esports fans spend an average five hours a week playing League of Legends, followed by CS:GO (4.4 hours), Heroes of the Storm (4.0 hours), Call of Duty (3.9 hours) and Dota 2 (3.5 hours).
CS:GO players are the big spenders with esports participants dropping an average $6.16 each. League of Legends participants spend $2.63 followed by Dota 2 ($1.66) and Smite ($1.62).
EEDAR asked players why they enjoy watching esports. The biggest reason among MOBA fans was simply to view the world's best players (70 percent) followed by a desire to improve their own game (57 percent) with 55 percent saying they watch when they cannot play.
35 percent of esports shooter players have spent money on in-game items with 15 percent buying esports apparel and 12 percent purchasing branded peripherals.
"Esports is not a fad," said EEDAR vice president Patrick Walker in an interview with Polygon. "It has a bright, long-term future. There is strong, organic consumer interest in the content, growing infrastructure support, and a valuable consumer base to drive advertising revenue.
"Two recent major events, Activision creating an esports division and Sony creating a PlayStatoin Plus esports league, are evidence of the growing infrastructure support from industry heavy weights," he added. "Our report suggests esports viewers are an advertising goldmine. They are group of consumers that spend more money on many different types of good and services than general gamers. This is significant because we believe it will be the value of the esports consumer to advertisers will be one of the biggest factors that drives esports into the mainstream."
The full report is free, but it requires registration.