Games in eSports: Historical Franchise Popularity

By Mike Christison

Filed Under Gaming Industry

The following graphic shows the share of total relative search volume from Google Trends for games associated with eSports in the past 14 years. In other words, it is a window into the history of competitive gaming by using search data as a proxy for interest. In the age of Counter-strike, the market was spread more evenly across different competitive games, but with the rise in popularity of sexy new genres, other games began to take control of the market, and at an increasingly rapid pace.

FPS games have always been a staple of the eSports world. But where RTS games like Starcraft and Warcraft III were once popular, they have taken a back seat to the MOBA genre in the past decade. Of course, everything changed with the entrance of Battle Royale-style games like Fortnight and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, currently taking over half of the total share in online search interest.

So which game franchises have done best? In order to determine that, we can look at a ranked list of the average Google Trends search index over the history of the data set.

League of Legends has come out on top since 2004, with the caveat that Google Trends did not collect data prior to this time.  Franchises with a longer history, like Halo, may show a lower average index than they might have shown otherwise.

It is no surprise that Fortnite is currently blowing away all other games with an average index more than two times higher than any other game.