Posted on Thursday, March 21st, 2013
I had great fun researching this article, because it’s a game that I love to play and the answer to the question “what is the future of League of Legends” became pretty obvious as soon as I started analyzing Riot Games (the creators of League of Legends) and their stakeholders. It was surprisingly easy for me, as it covers topics I’m well versed in such as on-line competitive gaming, Blizzard, Warcraft and most importantly of all: Chinese Businesses… bear with me.
First up lets learn about League Of Legends (also known as LOL), in October 2006 Riot Games was formed in California, it consisted of some Blizzard employees and most notably a former developer of the Warcraft 3 mod Defense of the Ancients (so it’s pretty obvious the company was formed with a complete focus on creating a new and improved DOTA game) and after 3 years development they released their first and so far only game: League of Legends to massive success.
Funding for Riot Games initially started with a few million from venture capitalists (Source) but after 2 years of explosive growth the Chinese company Tencent Holdings bought a majority steak in the company for $400 Million (US). Now this isn’t some faceless investment company, I consider Tencent Holdings the Google of China. The reason for this is their massive blog/communication system QQ, think of it as ICQ combined with Blogger and a little Facebook thrown in…. with 647.6 million active users!
So what does all this mean for the future of League of Legends? Well I’ve always seen that developers make the decisions but stakeholders shape them and Tencent Holdings (the major stakeholders) is heavily into iteration not revolution. QQ has slowly been improved upon with slight re-designs and feature additions but I wouldn’t say it’s ever been completely remade and with the steady increase in popularity of League of Legends that has some ramifications…
So in conclusion I don’t foresee any massive changes but I guarantee League of Legends is going to change slowly and incrementally into something completely different over the next 3 years. It’s going to be a bumpy but hugely fun ride.