Four weeks into the fourth competitive season of Overwatch, League of Legends remains on top in Korean PC Bang play.
Daily Game reported late last month Overwatch’s average PC Bang play rates plummeted below 20 percent for the first time since the summer, according to data from Gametrics. Overwatch had a strong hold on the No. 1 spot for most of the time since the game’s release last May, so the sudden drop was surprising.
One of the proposed reasons for the drop was Blizzard’s initiative to curb cheating by making people unable to play Overwatch in PC bangs with foreign accounts that haven’t purchased the game, thereby eliminating the ability of people to create mass accounts to avoid the consequences of permanent bans. Another more popular theory had to do with the timing of the data collected. The competitive season had just wrapped, and a week break before the next season meant people were moving to other games in the meantime.
A month later, Overwatch has yet to recover its numbers from previous competitive seasons. Overwatch is back in the 20s of PC Bang percentages but still trails League of legends by four to eight percentage points per week. The breakdowns in the last four weeks were as follows:
To be in solid second place despite being released less than a year ago is a feat that shouldn’t be dismissed, but what was a previously neck-and neck race is no more.
Overwatch is still in the midst of creating a foothold in Korea. With OGN APEX nearing the end of its second season, there is peak interest in Blizzard’s upcoming Overwatch League, and there clearly is a massive fanbase without a doubt:
Lunatic Hai fans bought ad space in the subway for Tobi and Miro's shared birthday. This is normally only seen for top idols / actors. pic.twitter.com/gxhoqOEjuX
— Wolf Schröder (@proxywolf) March 14, 2017
There is more work to be done in order for Overwatch to compete against League of Legends in the same manner it did during its honeymoon phase with Korean gamers. League has maintained control in PC bangs for years, and Overwatch could certainly be in a worse spot than second place. Still, League of Legends’ at times understated popularity has again proven difficult to overcome.
PC Bang percentages are interesting to track because they take the temperature of the popularity of games in the Korean region, which is perhaps the most popular region in all of esports.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games