Dota 2 is trending upwards.
According to Steampowered.com, the popular MOBA peaked at over 1 million concurrent players on March 2. This is the first time the game’s concurrent player count has hit seven figures since February 2017.
Dota 2 has enjoyed a serious upswing in popularity in recent months. After hitting its all-time peak in 2016, the game’s player base has trended steadily downwards for years despite occasional spikes for limited time events and during each installment of The International. Along the way it lost its spot as Steam’s most popular game to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, with the battle royale nesting atop Steam’s charts.
A variety of factors have combined to bolster Dota 2’s player count over recent months. First and foremost, user-made game mode Auto Chess has become a legitimate phenomenon in recent months. It has lured in a number of former pro Hearthstone players and is rumored to be potentially set for a standalone release.
The pro scene also remains strong. The game’s return to the top of Steam’s concurrent player count coincided with regional qualifiers for the Stockholm Major, and there has been no shortage of professional action since.
Finally, the MOBA field has been further thinned out over the last two months. Blizzard abruptly ended its esports division and dialed back overall support for Heroes of the Storm in January. More recently, Heroes of Newerth has stopped supporting Mac and Linux platforms and announced that its next balance patch would be its last.
Though Dota 2 hitting an upswing seven years into its lifespan is a serious achievement, the game is still far from its all-time peak of 1,291,328 in March 2016, per SteamCharts.com. But if this growth continues through the release of the 2019 International Battle Pass, Dota 2 could actually surpass that number.