Riot Games, the creator of League of Legends, recently started a week-long celebration of their 10th anniversary. For most people, ten years isn’t that long. It’s about half of the years an average person spends in school. However, in the context of video games, ten years is a huge accomplishment. There aren’t that many games that can boast of success that lasted this long and is still going strong.
Riot’s humble beginnings
Riot Games was founded by college roommates Brandon “Ryze” Beck and Marc “Tryndamere” Merrill on September 2006. They became friends because they both loved video games. Additionally, they shared a disdain for game developers who constantly disregarded their player base. They also didn’t like the idea that game studios preferred making sequels to their existing games, making the previous ones obsolete. With these principles in mind, they co-founded Riot Games with the goal of creating an incrementally developed video game that would be continuously improved through constant communication with the player community.
Launching of League of Legends
After formal establishment and funding acquisition, they hired their first employee: Steve “Guinsoo” Feak. Guinsoo worked on the popular Warcraft 3 mod Dota AllStars, which was in itself a popular multiplayer game. Their masterpiece, League of Legends, first launched on October 27, 2009. Since then, League took the world by storm. In an era dominated by Blizzard’s Warcraft and Starcraft, League of Legends was a breath of fresh air. With Dota AllStars still tied up to Warcraft 3 and Heroes of Newerth failing to garner enough steam, League took the mantle of popularizing an emerging new genre: the multiplayer online battle arena or MOBA.
In MOBA’s, every game is a fresh start. Players needed to devote their full attention to the game for its entire length. Video gamers loved this. Their days of endless grinding to get the best gear and unlock super high-level stuff are now over. Every game is an hour of intense, rapidly flowing thoughts. By 2013, League of Legends has been the most-played multiplayer PC game in the world, according to British newspaper Metro.
League of Legends and the rise of eSports
Being an extremely popular game, it didn’t take long for League’s professional scene to rise to the top. The first World Championship was held on June 2011 as part of Dreamhack Summer 2011. For long-time League fans, this event marked the beginning of an era. The following World Championships had an increasingly bigger prize pool as well as huge viewership numbers rivaling those of the NBA and the FIFA World Cup. Seeing the potential for massive profit, investors from all over the world started to pay attention to the game and the competitive scene. In 2017, Riot announced the franchising of the North American LCS. Franchising meant shared revenue and overall legitimization never before seen in esports.
Riot’s new ventures
Along with the announcement of the 2020 preseason, they promised players that the popular game mode URF would be making a comeback, this time with a full champion selection. Next, they revealed the establishment of the Social Impact Fund, a non-profit aimed to help charities all over the world. For League players in the Middle East and Africa, Riot also announced that they would be supporting an Arabic client, a huge win for fellow players out there.
Anyway, Riot also announced seasonal changes for TeamFight Tactics and (GASP!) a mobile version of the game with cross-platform support. They didn’t stop there. Riot made the explosive announcement of a multi-platform version of Summoner’s Rift. That’s right, it’s coming to your phones and to your consoles, ladies, and gentlemen. League of Legends: Wild Rift will take on the challenge of overthrowing the popular mobile games currently driving the world crazy. I’ll also make an in-depth review of Wild Rift once it gets released.
Finally, they announced LoL Esports Manager, set to be released next year. Players will take on the role of coaches and managers, similar to Football Manager. Players will now be able to build their dream teams and maybe even revive old rosters that we will never see again. *cough* ROX Tigers *cough*
To round out the other announcements, I’ve listed them below. We’ll dive deeper into each one of their respective releases.
- Project A, a character-based tactical shooter game
- Legends of Runeterra, the League of Legends card game
- Project L, the League of Legends fighting game
- Project F, an RPG game
- Arcane, an animated series based on the League of Legends in-game lore