League of Legends is a very popular game developed by Riot Games. The game launched on October 27, 2009. It has been almost 12 years since the game launched (Washington Post). The game has been adding to Riot Games’ profits. League of Legends is a similar game to capture the flag but with very amazing-looking champions (Business Insider). The game player count has been growing year by year. When it launched, the game had a few hundred thousand players and was quickly able to reach 11 million players by 2011 (Leaguefeed). By 2014, there were 65 million players and by 2017 it reached 100 million players (Leaguefeed). In 2018 it experienced a drop to 75 million but quickly recovered in the upcoming years and by 2020 it went up to over 100 million players (Leaguefeed). As of 2021, there are 115 million active players that play League of Legends every month (Leaguefeed). In the image below you can see the top 5 countries playing league of legends. The player base is very diverse. In this post, we are going to look at now what Riot Games did to make the game a success.
As you can see in the graph above, it has been producing quite a bit of revenue over the years. But what does League of Legends owe its success to? League of Legends is a free-to-play game. Considering the amount of money the game makes for Riot Games, it is surprising to see that the game is free to play. Riot Games uses a model that relies on in-game purchases for champions and cosmetic effects for champions (Reuters). Different champions have different amounts of skins and cosmetics effects.
Over time, the game has evolved to respond to the players’ needs by providing more skins for champions and fixing bugs, patch updates, in-depth beta testing. Riot Games was able to fix issues with the champions, items were added to the game, and the items that caused issues were removed (Leaguefeed). The game launched in North America in the beginning and spread to Europe and other regions later on. The nature of the game is competitive within itself which attracted a lot of competitive Esport fans which is one of the reasons why the game became a massive hit among the competitive players. There are different regions for the game and servers. The competitive leagues are divided accordingly. The best teams from Canada, the United States, and the rest of North America are able to play in the LCS. The same goes for other regions such as European LEC, the South Korean LCK, the Chinese LPL (Leaguefeed). Each league works on launching the best team possible to compete internationally. Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) is an international tournament that happens annually and is organized by Riot Games (Leaguefeed). The most important event is the World Championship. The event attracts a lot of viewers.
There are a lot of players that became influential figures in the League of Legends community that influence viewership and loyalty to the game. League of Legends is one of the most streamed games on Twitch (Twitch Tracker). Although the game has been able to maintain the players and add more players by creating a competitive community, there are other marketing efforts as well. For example, Netflix will be releasing an animated series in 2021 Fall about League of Legends.
In one of our earlier posts about video games, we mentioned that mobile games are on a rise. League of Legends has released a mobile version of the game called League of Legends: Wild Rift.
League of Legends is getting a piece of computer, console, and mobile games now. With the increase in different marketing efforts, it will be interesting to see if there will be a spike in the number of players and the revenue the game brings.