The eSports Effect: League of Legends Part II

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Updated: March 8, 2014
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In part 1 of eSports In-Review: League of Legends, we discussed the ease of play and general game play and balance of League of legends. In this segment, we will discuss the third person perspective and how the game is making money.

eSports In-Review Title - Spectatorship PNG

League of legends has very good spectatorship. They do a great job of allowing the game to be broadcasted from an overall perspective and giving their spectators a great viewing angle. Generally speaking, the broadcasting team is easily able to communicate what is happening throughout the game, however, early in the game multiple fights can occur in multiple locations and cause an issue for viewers. For this reason, the LCS uses a great picture in picture system to view both action (while The League of Legends a championship series is not the only tournament to use this system in eSports, it was one of the first to implement it).

As League of Legends is a team game, the engagements occurring after the early game become much more team-centered. This allows for one “camera” to cover the entire battle and makes forager at scene. Furthermore, the developer support (as discussed later) is phenomenal and actual used to provide separate special versions of the game to tournament organizers before they implemented the same special features into the normal game.


eSports In-Review Title - Tournaments PNG

Riot! Games is true,y the leader in eSporte tournaments. When the game launched, they included their own tournament series, the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS), which was a step in the right direction for the industry. In Season 3 of the LCS, Riot! changed the format just a little bit and created uniformity across all the tournaments. They essentially made the LCS the only League of Legends tournament and when League of a legends was played at tournaments like MLG, they were actually just playing the LCS on location.

Eventually they made huge step by providing their content on a weekly basis. Every week there were a certain amount of matchups which were kept track of in a standings bracket with the to 8 teams making a post-season playoff bracket for each region which then eventually leads to a global tournament. The format even includes an all-star game that had incredible viewership numbers. Riot! has done an incredible job with their tournaments and has really set the standard for the rest of the industry.


eSports In-Review Title - Developer Suport PNG

As explained multiple times throughout this article, Riot!’s support of the eSports scene for League of Legends is unmeasurable. They brought this game up through the beta as an eSport. From day one this company’s intention was to create an incredible eSports game and bring high level competition to gamers everywhere. They have succeed largely because of their own efforts. They have invested millions of dollars into their ventures and have been able to fill indoor stadiums at their events.

They have provided tournament organizes with differ versions of their game for better support that allow the organizer to place players in specific orders and allow the spectator interface to line up cleanly and beautifully. They provided professional players at tournaments with special accounts that had every single champion, skin and rune unlocked so that they can do whatever they please without the rules. They promoted, hosted, and organized their own tournament for the game and signed their own contracts with the teams and its players as well as make agreements with streaming sites like Twitch and Azubu. They even offer a collegiate program for student players and allow them to create and host tournaments. They are so supportive of their game, that if you email the company about sponsorship for a League of Legends tournament, they will happily provide you with logos, brackets and formats for the tournament so you can have a successful and fun tournament.

It’s no question why League of Legends has been so successful. Riot!’s support of this game and its eSports community is unmatched and has not only increased the success of League of Legends but also the industry as a whole.


eSports In-Review Title - Monetization PNG

League of Legends makes money from many different streams of revenue. On the eSports side you have advertising and promotion along with sponsorship deals with big companies. You have events such a PAX and ComicCon where their presence is well known and advertised and generally well accepted. Not to mention the amount they make in streaming numbers alone.

For the game itself they use what is called the “freemium” model. They allow users to play for free with limited capabilities (only 10 champions to play with) and require you to unlock other champions, runes (which increase your champions’ abilities) and mysteries by leaving up and spending the points you earn from playing the game. This in-game currency is accumulated rather slowly and they allow you to unlock these items and champions a different way, by purchasing a separate currency. They use the incentive to want to unlock everything sooner as a way to push the market of in-game purchases which are not necessary to play. They also allow you to send real money on in-game purchases for different skins and costumes that change the look of certain champions. These skins are purely aesthetic.

The great thing about this model is that you are not setting a price point per person. Instead, you are letting each player set their own price point. They may spend nothing on the game, but they are playing it which increases your awareness and increases their chance of investing money into the game. They may spend $50-$60 which is how much a standard game costs to buy new. Or (and this is likely the case) they may spend $100-$200 on the game because they are buying in-game purchases at $20-$35 each and don’t realize how much money they are putting in. The fact of the matter is, people don’t mind spending money on things they enjoy. This model allows them to decide whether or not they enjoy it first, and then spend their money on it instead of gambling on the purchase and hoping you like the game later.


eSports In-Review Title - Following PNG

Finally, the following. This will be short and sweet. League of Legends has one of the biggest followings in eSports. There are millions and millions of players and just as many people who watch and keep up with the LCS. It is very impressive to see this many people be excited about an eSports and it just goes to show you that if the game is right, and the developer has supported it 100% and does everything it can to push its strengths, eSports just might be as popular as some real sports someday.

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