The Decline of Dota 2: Waning Viewership and Player Base

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The Decline of Dota 2: Waning Viewership and Player Base

This article will bring into light all the reasons the community, pros and experts believe that Dota 2’s viewership and player base is falling by the day

Dota 2, the popular multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) developed by Valve Corporation, has experienced a steady decline in viewership and player base in recent years. This article examines the factors behind Dota 2's downward trajectory, exploring challenges and potential avenues for revitalization. Despite occasional interest and a dedicated fanbase, the game has struggled to maintain its previous levels of engagement and growth. Understanding the reasons for Dota 2's decline is crucial in devising strategies to rejuvenate the game. By analyzing decreasing viewership and diminishing player base, we can uncover the complex factors contributing to Dota 2's current situation and explore potential solutions for its resurgence.

The Decline of Dota 2: Waning Viewership and Player Base


Decreasing Viewership

Dota 2, once known for its thriving viewership, has experienced a noticeable decline in recent years across various events and tournaments. This downward trend indicates a waning interest in the game and raises concerns about its future popularity. The International 2022, Dota 2's flagship tournament, recorded a decline in both peak viewership and overall hours watched compared to previous years. While it's important to note that Chinese streams were not included in the statistics, the general decrease is apparent.

Similarly, the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) Division II matches in 2023 saw a significant decrease in hours watched compared to the previous year, signifying a downward trend in viewership. All regions participating in Division II faced declining numbers, with some leagues experiencing staggering drops of up to 70%. Particularly, the Eastern European league, despite hosting notable teams, suffered a significant decline due to various factors.



In the Eastern European region, the audience reach for the second division matches in 2023 plummeted by nearly 70% compared to the previous year. Surprisingly, even the presence of two squads from Natus Vincere, one of the most prominent esports clubs, couldn't salvage the situation. The region's decline in viewership can be attributed to several factors, including a change in tournament operator and main studio, scandals involving fixed matches, weaker participant lineups, and the departure of teams and individual players to other regions. Notably, the previous year's Eastern European league faced format changes due to the war in Ukraine, which affected viewership but did not fully account for the substantial decline observed.

Other regions also experienced significant decreases in viewership. The second divisions of Southeast Asia and North America witnessed drops of over 50%, while China saw a decline of approximately 44.6% in numbers. However, it is essential to note that the primary audience for the Chinese league watches streams on local platforms not accounted for in these statistics. South America experienced a relatively smaller decline of about 17%, which was significantly lower compared to other regions.

The decline in viewership was also reflected in the peak viewership numbers for Division II matches. Across all tours, there was a decrease of 33% in peak viewership compared to the previous year. The Western European league consistently emerged as the leader in both hours watched and peak viewership. Matches from the second tour of DPC WEU 2023 Division II accumulated the highest number of hours watched, surpassing one million. However, it is worth noting that despite Western Europe's relative success, the overall decline in viewership across all regional leagues in Division II remains a cause for concern.


The factors contributing to the decreasing viewership in Dota 2 are multifaceted. Challenges include the exclusion of Chinese streaming data from the statistics, regional variations, format changes, scandals, weakened team lineups, and the shifting landscape of the esports scene. These factors, coupled with the increased competition from other games and oversaturation of tournaments, have collectively contributed to the decline in Dota 2's viewership. To reverse this trend, concerted efforts are needed to address these challenges, reinvigorate the competitive scene, and engage both existing and potential viewers in fresh and innovative ways.

2Credit: Dota 2, Valve


Identifying Challenges and Exploring Solutions

Dota 2's decline in viewership and player base presents several challenges that need to be addressed to revitalize the game. By understanding these challenges and exploring potential solutions, the Dota 2 community and Valve Corporation can work together to restore the game's popularity and engagement. Here are the problems noticed over the years:

Accessibility and New Player Experience: 

One of the primary challenges Dota 2 faces is its inherent complexity, making it daunting for new players to get started. Streamer Gorgc highlighted this issue, stating that Dota 2 is “way too complicated and not beginner-friendly.” To attract and retain new players, improving the accessibility and new player experience is crucial.

Potential Solutions:

  • Enhanced Tutorials and Guides: Valve can invest in comprehensive in-game tutorials and guides that gradually introduce new players to Dota 2's mechanics, gameplay, and strategy. These resources should focus on simplifying complex concepts and ensuring a smoother learning curve.
  • Matchmaking Improvements: Refining the matchmaking system to prioritize fair matchups and balanced skill levels will provide new players with a positive and enjoyable experience.
  • Mentorship Programs: Implementing mentorship programs where experienced players can guide and support new players can foster a more welcoming and inclusive community.

Promoting the Esports Scene: 

The decline in Dota 2's esports scene has contributed to the game's decreasing popularity. Reduced tournament frequency, smaller prize pools, and perceived lack of investment have diminished the appeal for both professional players and viewers.

Potential Solutions:

  • Increased Tournament Frequency: Organizing a more regular schedule of tournaments at various levels, from grassroots to premier events, will help sustain interest and engagement throughout the year.
  • Larger Prize Pools: Offering substantial prize pools can attract top-tier teams and elevate the overall competitiveness and prestige of Dota 2's esports scene. Collaborations with sponsors and partners can help achieve this goal.
  • Regional Representation: Promoting and nurturing regional Dota 2 scenes worldwide can create a more diverse and inclusive competitive landscape, capturing the interest of fans globally.

Community Engagement and Communication: 

Strengthening community engagement and communication is vital for Dota 2's revival. Players want to feel heard and involved in the game's development, which requires effective communication channels and transparency.

Potential Solutions:

  • Developer-Community Interaction: Valve should actively engage with the Dota 2 community through regular updates, addressing concerns, and incorporating community-requested features. Platforms like Reddit, official forums, and social media can serve as channels for dialogue and feedback.
  • Transparency and Roadmaps: Sharing development roadmaps and future plans with the community can create a sense of shared vision and involvement, fostering trust and loyalty among players.
  • Player Feedback Integration: Actively considering and implementing player feedback, bug fixes, and balance adjustments can enhance the gameplay experience and demonstrate that player opinions are valued.

Expanding into New Markets: 

Dota 2's growth potential lies in expanding into new markets and attracting players from diverse regions. By catering to the interests and preferences of untapped audiences, Dota 2 can broaden its player base and global appeal.

Potential Solutions:

  • Localization Efforts: Localizing the game's interface, tutorials, and communication channels in different languages can remove language barriers and make Dota 2 more accessible to non-English-speaking players.
  • Partnerships with Regional Influencers: Collaborating with popular streamers and content creators from various regions can help promote Dota 2 and build a strong presence in specific markets.
  • Hosting Regional Tournaments: Organizing regional tournaments in underserved areas can create a platform for local talent to shine and attract new players and viewers from those regions.
  • Creating Community Enriching Content: Dota 2’s player base has seen a significant rise in the peak players since the airing of Dota 2’ Netflix Anime adaptation Dragon’s Blood Season 1 & 2 respectively. 

The Decline of Dota 2: Waning Viewership and Player BaseCredits: Dota 2, Netflix, Valve

Will Dota 2 Eventually Die Out?

The decline in Dota 2's viewership and player base presents challenges, but there is still hope for revival. To attract and retain players, improving accessibility and the new player experience is crucial. Simplifying mechanics, enhancing matchmaking, and implementing mentorship programs can make Dota 2 more inviting.

Promoting the esports scene through more frequent tournaments, larger prize pools, and regional representation can reignite the competitive spirit. Collaboration with sponsors is key. Strengthening community engagement by providing regular updates, transparency, and integrating player feedback fosters a sense of involvement. Valuing the community's opinions helps rebuild trust.Expanding into new markets can bring growth. Localizing the game, partnering with influencers, and hosting tournaments in untapped regions broaden Dota 2's reach.

Reviving Dota 2 requires collaboration between Valve, the community, and the gaming industry. By addressing challenges and implementing proposed solutions, Dota 2 can adapt and recapture its dominant position. With a focus on accessibility, esports promotion, community engagement, and global expansion, Dota 2 can reclaim its status as a leading multiplayer online battle arena game.

The Decline of Dota 2: Waning Viewership and Player Base
The Old One
When he's not sighing at sub-standard teammates in Dota 2 and CS2, The Old One is writing about those two games (among other things). If you see his name around the site too many times for your liking, well, the guy just never stops writing. Yes, we've tried an intervention.