Riot Games (2011-present)

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Riot Games
Riot Games 2022.svg.png

"You used to be cool."

Type: Subsidiary
Founded: September 2006
Founder(s): Brandon Beck
Mack Merill
Headquarters: Los Angeles, California, United States
Key people: Brandon Beck (co-chairman)
Marc Merrill (co-chairman)
Nicolo Laurent (CEO)
Dylan Jadeja (CFO)
Parent: Tencent (2011–present)
Divisions: Riot Forge
Riot Tabletop
Subsidiaries: Radiant Entertainment
Hypixel Studios
Notable works: League of Legends
League of Legends: Wild Rift
Legends of Runeterra
Teamfight Tactics

Riot Games, Inc. is an American video game developer, publisher, and eSports tournament organizer based in Los Angeles, California. The company was founded in September 2006 by University of Southern California roommates Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill. Riot Games was majority acquired by Chinese corporation Tencent in February 2011 and fully acquired in December 2015. As of May 2018, Riot Games operates 24 offices around the world, which employs 2,500 staff members.

Riot Games is best known for League of Legends, a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game and the company's flagship product. The game was first released in October 2009 and subsequently became the game with the highest active player count by 2013. They also operate various eSports tournaments for the game, most notably the League of Legends World Championship tournament (or Worlds), which is one of the most viewed eSports tournaments in the world.

Why They're a Riot Now

  1. Since Tencent's acquisition in 2011, Riot Games has slowly headed towards the "Games as a service" model, as they've started adding in microtransactions in the form of champion skins. While these skins are purely cosmetics, Riot has set the bar for "acceptable" microtransactions in games, which is quickly followed by various AAA studios such as EA, Activision, and Take-Two to follow the same models and trying to raise the "standard" of acceptable microtransactions till today.
  2. They ruined League of Legends as they made it more competitive rather than fun. Riot barely listens to the community's responses and balances the game based on the eSports tournament results.
  3. Riot is infamous for their failed attempt to fix the power creep problem in their games. As they prioritize popular champions (such as Ezreal and Lux) over other champions. The problem was made much worse after the inclusion of Yasuo, a champion who's infamous for his overpowered skills and his abilities to block and evade several attacks while delivering ridiculous damage in return.
  4. Before the release of Valorant, Riot tends to milk the League of Legends franchise to death by creating a lot of spin-offs out of LoL based on other games, such as Teamfight Tactics (based on Valve's Dota Auto Chess), Legends of Runeterra (based on Blizzard's Hearthstone), Arcane (a Netflix animated show based on the game lore and characters, especially Jinx), as well as cash-in titles such as League of Legends: Wild Rift (created to cash-in on mobile MOBA game trend that Tencent has pioneered earlier with Honor of Kings/Arena of Valor). Because Project L and Project F (a work-in-progress project) were a fighting game and hack-and-slash spin-offs of LoL, Valorant is so far the only non-LoL game that Riot has created.
  5. Since 2015 (after Tencent's complete takeover), Riot has sold even more expensive and somewhat overpriced champion skins in LoL, the most expensive skins in LoL today cost as much as $50.
    • In 2017, they announced "Chroma", a palette pack that changes champion's and skin's palette colors. This technically makes chroma a skin of a skin.
      • Some chroma packs were as expensive as an actual skin in the game.
    • The skin pricing problem is also carried over to Valorant, as the game featured ridiculously cheap-looking gun skin packs that were sold at $15 minimum and may reach up to $50.
      • On July 2020. they announced the Elderflame skin bundle which had a base price tag of $100 with the "skin of a skin" mechanic carried over from LoL in the form of "visual upgrades", it cost $192 to fully upgrade all weapons, and $292 in total.[1]
  6. In 2018, Riot Games was accused of gender discrimination by various former and current employees, according to Kotaku (despite them being unreliable to gamers), several of whom claimed that female employees at Riot were being discriminated against, such as ideas from female employees being overlooked while the same ideas from male employees being readily accepted, and some female employees being groomed for more senior positions only to be passed up by a new male hire (described as a "bro culture" by former employees). There are also reports of sexual harassment and misgendering. This led to a class-action lawsuit filed by Riot's former employees who demanded US$10 million in damages to women who had been employed at Riot Games over the prior five years and a mass walkout in 2019.[2]
    • In December 2021, Riot agreed to pay $100 million in its lawsuit settlement.
    • And in August 2022 they mocked Suzi Hunter, Resident Evil fan and streamer, over sexual assault.[3]
  7. During and after the 2018 gender discrimination controversy, Riot has gone into the pro-leftist route in an attempt to recover their image, for example;
  8. Similar to Blizzard Entertainment, they fired voice actor Quinton Flynn from League of Legends when sexual harassment allegations rose against him and refused to re-hire him even after he proved his innocence.
  9. Their Vanguard anti-cheat software runs on a kernel driver and is always running unless you disable it, even when not playing the game. This has led to concerns over it possibly being spyware, especially since Riot is owned by Tencent, a Chinese company.
    • During the closed beta of Valorant, Vanguard was notorious for false positives, disabling drivers and software such as keyboard and mouse, graphics, overclocking software, fan controller, etc. However, most of such issues have since been fixed.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Riot Games has pioneered and sponsored the eSports tournament (starting with League of Legends World Championship in 2013), which in turn greatly improved the image of the gaming industry and turned it into a widely anticipated and supported sporting event around the world.
  2. While Riot is milking the money out of various skins, they are well-known for creativity on several game mechanics and character designs, including skins in League of Legends.
  3. Their multimedia output, like the K-Pop group K/DA and the aforementioned Arcane animated series, is pretty great and visually impressive. As the latter got the adult animation crowd loving it, for being an adult animated show that didn't completely use the comedy genre to tell a story it provides.



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