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The Future Of Competitive Titles At Riot Games

The president of esports at Riot Games, John Needham, has outlined the future of the developer’s competitive titles. As he puts it, the company wants “nearly every game” to have “some sort of esports component.”

“If you look at Riot’s games, almost all of our games are competitive games, with varying levels of whether they’d be good sports or not,” said Needham. “We’ve talked about L publicly, obviously esports is a really core part of the fighting game community, so we’ll be investing there. But all the games that Riot produces, we really look at games that can span generations. Usually, those games are online competitive games – so I think that almost every game that you see Riot produce and develop will be competitive, which by its nature of being competitive, there’ll be some sort of esports component to it.”

Project L is an upcoming fighting game being produced by Riot. That game, along with other upcoming titles, was mentioned as “great esports” during a recent tour of the Project Stryker remote broadcasting center that was opened by Riot in Dublin, Ireland in late July.

“When you look at this facility, it’s not exclusive to esports content,” Needham said when discussing the RBC. “We can produce live music events [and] live entertainment experiences as well. We’re very much looking at how we can leverage this kind of infrastructure to reach this ambition of being a new kind of entertainment company.”

The Profit‘s Take:

I’m not knocking the strategy or person, but it’s very convenient for the head of esports to come out and say, “we want everything to be an esport!” In my mind, one of the goals at Riot should (obviously) be to make fun games. If there’s a competitive scene surrounding those games, that’s fantastic. That would be much better than what they’re doing, which is saying “we ONLY want to make competitive games.” They’re setting up artificial limitations for themselves. I just don’t understand who this announcement is for. Esports team owners? Players? They said they want to make an MMO. And, if anybody is going to take down WoW, it’s Riot Games. But, I don’t think they’ll be able to successfully squeeze a competitive scene into the MMO space. WoW has had 15 years to do it and hasn’t been able to (successfully). All this does is give people material to roast you if you fail to live up to these expectations five years from now. I hate big statements with “always” or “never.” This has a huge downside from a communications perspective. Don’t pigeonhole yourself. There’s no point to that. I don’t see the benefit to this type of “announcement.” The fear is that the pigeonhole leads to a bad game. They should know that the only blanket statements that are ALWAYS right are the ones made by me.

(All information was provided by NME and Riot Games)

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