Esports has hit the big time recently and is on course to become a $3 billion industry by 2028. It was only a matter of time before the average sports fan would wake up to the caliber and no-holds-barred thrills of the biggest competitive games in the world, from CS: GO to Dota 2. Yet while for now, PC-centric titles such as these retain their hegemony, there’s no escaping the fact that the fastest-growing sector in esports is mobile.
This makes abundant sense. After all, smartphone ownership is incredibly widespread, particularly when compared with the number of people that have both the resources and volition required to build and maintain an up-to-date gaming PC.
Just when exactly mobile esports will become the dominant current in competitive gaming is anybody’s guess, but we are already seeing select mobile titles begin to displace the old guard with respect to the scale of prize pools offers and the number of hours streamed. This is also borne out by download charts that highlight the enormous popularity of some of these titles.
Below we’re going to take a look at the most downloaded esports available on the Google Play Store at present. Rest assured, you’ll be hearing plenty more from these games as the year progresses.
Arena of Valor – 10M+ Downloads
Arena of Valor got its start as Honor of Kings – a mobile MOBA restricted to the domestic Chinese market. There it remains the most popular esport. In its international guise, it has been gaining fans and advocates for a number of years.
Following 2022’s Arena of Valor World Cup, which awarded a share of $10 million to the victors, Arena of Valor is notable for holding the record for the highest single-event prize pools for a mobile esport.
The game has comparatively few downloads on the Play Store, with just 10 million to its name. However, its cultural impact cannot be understated. Arena of Valor demonstrated that the MOBA genre could not only make the jump to mobile platforms but flourish there.
Download Arena of Valor
League of Legends: Wild Rift – 50M+ Downloads
A relative newcomer to the scene, League of Legends spin-off Wild Rift is already making waves with critics and gamers alike, who praise its ability to capture the essence of its PC sibling while implementing a range of quality improvements to optimize the experience for touch-inputs.
Riot Games’ League of Legends remains the most popular esport played in the world today, and as such a common focus for free bet offers, such as those provided by comparison platform OddsChecker, among gaming aficionados. Wild Rift is likely destined to enjoy continual growth by association, especially as it matures and gives rise to its own homegrown player-base and competitive circuit.
Download: League of Legends: Wild Rift
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang – 500M+ Downloads
The most popular ‘mobile MOBA’ today, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang has won over gamers with its novel take on this classic esports format. In eschewing the more complex mechanics of its influences in favor of snappy and bombastic gameplay, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang has been praised for bringing the MOBA experience to the masses.
Add to this the title’s commitment to casual gaming – with short 10-minute long matches and rapid-fire 10-second matchmaking – and it should come as no surprise that developers Moonton Games have hit upon a winning formula.
Download Mobile Legends: Bang Bang
PUBG Mobile – 500M+ Downloads
PUBG is one of the most popular esports today across any platform, with some 30 million daily active players enjoying its tactical battle royale action. However, since as early as 2019, the mobile version, PUBG Mobile, has become the most popular way to play.
Now, PUBG Mobile’s headline events offer the largest collective prize pools of any esport save Dota 2, and the game’s popularity only appears to be gaining ground.
Download PUBG Mobile
Free Fire – 1B+ Downloads
Garena’s Free Fire, an immensely popular 3rd person mobile battle royale, seemingly came out of nowhere to become the most downloaded game globally in 2019.
At present this title enjoys some 150 million daily active players from around the world, and even became the game with the highest peak concurrent viewer count of any esport in 2021 when, during the Singapore World Series final, some 5.4 million spectators tuned in to catch the action.
Download Free Fire