Dota 2: 4 Reasons Why the Number of Concurrent Players Dropped From 2016 to 2022

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Dota 2: 4 Reasons Why the Number of Concurrent Players Dropped From 2016 to 2022

If you are reading this, there is a pretty good chance that you are a Dota 2 fan. Since it became available, this game quickly took over the world and gained tons of players. Many of them were fans of DotA, but Dota 2 also accumulated numerous new players that were impressed with its gameplay and graphics.


Unsurprisingly, the game gained a lot of attention in the first couple of years, and its players grew every month. Although there were some ups and downs, it is safe to say that 2016 was the year when Dota 2 reached its peak in terms of concurrent players. However, according to some statistics, things are not going well for the game since then. 

There were some spikes in 2019, but the overall number of peak concurrent players in 2022 has dropped by almost half from the numbers in 2016. There are many reasons for these results, so let’s go through some of them.

Many people decided to move on to another game or stop playing in general

One of the biggest reasons why Dota 2 has fewer players than before is that many of its fans have decided to move on. Many of them are no longer interested in gaming because they have families, whereas others have moved to other games. 

It might seem strange that players have decided to give up Dota 2 in favor of other titles, but if you think about some of the cons of playing, it makes sense. For starters, Dota 2 is one of the most competitive games in the world, especially if you play ranked. Hence, the majority of people do everything they can to grind MMR, so the concept of “playing for fun” is almost nonexistent. People who play Dota 2 for fun often pick heroes that are not that good, which means they are more prone to lose. This triggers the other people from their teams and leads to a toxic environment.

Speaking of the devil, we must address the elephant in the room and point out that Dota 2 is full of toxic players. To be fair, Valve has introduced a lot of updates and tools that definitely improved the quality of games. Sadly, there are still tons of toxic players that ruin the fun for others. Some people don’t care, but others can’t stand such players and decide to stop playing or move to another game.

Dota 2 became even more difficult

Let’s face it, Dota 2 is one of the most complex games and the most complicated MOBA. Some games are noob-friendly, meaning that players can start playing, have fun and be fairly successful right away. However, this does not apply to Dota 2 because the game requires you to know tons of things.

Besides the numerous heroes and items, you must also know other mechanics. In fact, there were estimates that you need to get to around 3000 MMR before you can learn everything about the game. Unsurprisingly, this will take a lot of time and countless hours of play, something that not everyone is willing to go through.

The fact that Dota 2 is complicated scares some people from even trying the game. Dota 2 was hard to master before, but the game became even more difficult in the last couple of years. Besides the addition of new heroes and items, we have access to things like talents, new mechanics, neutral items, and all sorts of other things that were not present before. Naturally, this “scares” some people from even trying out the game, whereas old-school players don’t want to bother re-learning it, so they prefer to focus on something else.

There are tons of new games that people are interested in

Dota 2 is an all-time classic and is one of the most popular games in the world. In fact, many people regard it as the biggest eSports, which shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering it has the largest prize pools in the industry. Sadly, those things do not appeal to casual games who just want to log in and have fun.

Since the game focuses more on competitive play, some people prefer to play some of the many new games that have become available in the last couple of years. Between 2016 and 202, games like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and even PUBG took over the gaming world and got millions of active players. These games continue to be popular even today, and people can actually have fun while playing these games.

In addition to the online games, the last couple of years allowed us to play loads of top-tier single-player games. Things like God of War and several versions of AC also impacted casual Dota 2 players.

Many Dota 2 fans gave up on playing but continue to watch esports

Due to the reasons mentioned above, many people are no longer interested in playing Dota 2. Some of them decided to focus on other things, whereas others are still fans of the game and watch some of the best tournaments. This explains why events such as The International has millions of viewers from all over the world. 

There is just something about watching Dota 2 that makes the game much more appealing. Instead of meeting toxic players who ruin your game, you can sit back, relax, and watch some of the best Dota 2 players in action. It seems like many people believe in this, which is why they’ve decided to give up on playing in favor of watching.


All the things mentioned above have affected Dota 2’s peak concurrent players over the last couple of years. According to the data, 2022 almost marked an all-time low, even though January 2020 is still the worst month for Dota 2. It will be interesting to see what will happen in the future. Who knows, people might decide to make a comeback and start playing again. After all, the recent Battle Pass revealed that Valve has added Diretide, one of the fan-favorite events.

Dota 2: 4 Reasons Why the Number of Concurrent Players Dropped From 2016 to 2022
Zlosterr has been a fan of esports for many years and mainly focuses on Dota 2. He has more than five years of experience writing Dota 2 content for numerous platforms. Besides being a passionate fan of the game, he's also played for various amateur teams.