League of Legends is one of the most popular and lucrative video game franchises of all time, selling more than $1 billion in game tickets for the first time this summer. It’s also been a wildly successful eSports program, with a handful of teams that have earned the lion’s share of the big titles of the past two years.
There are multiple reasons why Riot Games’ flagship MOBA is so attractive to esports teams. For one thing, it’s an incredibly accessible and straightforward competitive experience, requiring only a controller and Internet access to play, and a high degree of skill to compete. It is also incredibly easy to market and reach a broad audience. Most MOBA players aren’t competitive in any other games, and as a result they’re incredibly receptive to new experiences that can offer them a chance to play on the biggest stage, just like in the real world. League is essentially a game that works for everyone, no matter your age or interest.
It’s no secret that Riot Games wants to be a major force in the competitive gaming industry — it’s not only the leader of the market for MOBA games, but one of the most popular game companies in the world, having sold more than 33 million copies of its five games as of July 2018. The League team has also been on a major push this year to develop a competitive gaming scene of its own, hosting multiple qualifiers to bring the largest teams to the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) each year.
It's a major undertaking to put together an entire esports scene from the ground up, but Riot has proven itself capable of pulling it off. While the LCS has often seemed a bit inauthentic, especially compared to the real world League of Legends, it’s grown up significantly in recent years and now offers a legitimate world-class competitive ecosystem. The organization is putting a massive amount of time and money into the teams and tournaments it organizes, and as a result has a wide audience — it has the attention of even the biggest pro players.
What a perfect time for League to return to the top of the world rankings.