Riot Games Announces A 5 Million USD Prize Pool



In an incredibly bold move, Riot Games shows the world why they are the leader of Action Real Time Strategy (ARTS) eSports by announcing a 5 million dollar prize pool for their season 2 championships. By announcing a prize pool this big, they are also sending a message to the world that eSports is the future and cannot be overlooked. This tournament has the largest prize pool in eSports history for any game, in any country, and with the the growing viewership of online spectators, there is no problem in finding people to watch the games. Riot Games proudly declared in their announcement video that halfway through season 2 more people were tuning in to watch matches of League of Legends than Major League Baseball games on ESPN. With viewership numbers like these, the statement Riot Games is sending to the world is sure to be heard.



So who is Riot Games and why would they offer up such a large prize pool for their tournament? Riot Games is the developer behind the wildly successful free-to-play game, League of Legends. In 2011, Riot Games became one of the largest contributors to PC gaming revenue in the world by revolutionizing the micro-transaction based business model in their free to play games. As a result League of Legends earns itself the title of most played PC in 2011 and is growing in active members in 2012 world wide. With a move as bold as announcing a 5 million prize pool, its overall active members and total number of professional teams are sure to rise.



In addition to encouraging growth by displaying their dedication to the industry, Riot Games has solidified their positions as leaders in competitive ARTS games. None of their current competition is able to make this large of a contribution to the competitions, let alone justify providing it. On one hand you can make the assumption that they are trying to dominate the market and push out the competition, but at the same time becoming the dominant company of the genre will allow them to focus more of their efforts on the growth of eSports as a whole. They have already created a fantastic game with a development team creating new content at a consistent monthly pace. Now is the time to reach out and expand their audience while helping to nurture talented players on an international level who have interest in joining or starting a professional team. Riot understands this and I feel that this giant leap of generosity will not be the last of its kind.



Courtesy of SK Gaming

The Season 2 regional qualifiers will be held in 5 cities in 5 different countries around the world before the grand finals in Los Angeles, California later this year. The competition is already fierce and it’s only going to get better now that teams from every region of the world will now have a chance to face-off. I personally would love to see Europe’s Moscow5 be matched up against Team OP from the OGN Leagues in Korea. And with only 12 spots available for the finals in LA, some of the teams will have to travel to foreign tournaments in order to secure a spot. Needless to say, the 2012 summer is going to be a season of wild growth and stiff competition.




Post your thoughts on this announcement or any other League of Legends related topic/questions in the comments!





2 comments on “Riot Games Announces A 5 Million USD Prize Pool

  1. TheDon says:

    League of Legends is a great game I started playing last year. But how did they “revolutionize” micro-transactions?

    You can buy new characters, permanent powerups, or unique champion skins with cash. Of those three, only skins cannot be bought with in-game currency but skins change the appearance and don’t affect play. It’s a fair model but revolutionary?

    • Steven Caito says:

      The reason I classify them as revolutionary in my mind is because of the absolutely insane amount of success they achieved with it. A success that was driven by a few brilliant business decisions revolving around the “normal” prices they chose and the methods in which they let people test their product. Having the normal price per champion set at 975 Riot points(RP) or 7.50USD is a reasonable price for most of the middle class world wide and more often then not, falls in the potential impulse buy margins for the same demographic. Now the part that I feel they really revolutionized it is how they went about allowing people to test champions by making a selection of them available for 1 week at a time. The notion of playing and discovering your favorite character in the game, then making the content no longer available is the process which enables the impulse buy. Especially if the champion is on sale. Now while we have seen this in real life applications for the past 100+ years, we have not seen it be successful in the Free-to-Play/micro-transaction space until Riot did it.

      Even acknowledging the fact that every champion can be purchased with in game/earned currency, the time it takes to obtained the required in-game currency is quiet a time consuming process. Earning that amount (6300) of in game currency at a rate of 100-150 per game (assuming you win every game) is a time consuming process that Riot put in place to encourage and remind people that you can work/play the game for 40-50 hours to earn a champion or work for 1 hour at your job to earn the same champion. It is a system that piggy backs to on the notion of the general population wanting to take the easier way to obtaining champions, the sales numbers have proven it works.

      I know it’s not a true revolution in the literal sense of the word but again, their great success in comparison to their competition suggests that their method of encouraging micro-transactions in a digital space is revolutionary.

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