Riot Games released a slew of big news Tuesday night
as it celebrated the 10th birthday of League of Legends, one of the most successful online games in the world. And the strategy behind these – League and Teamflight Tactics ports, a fighter, a tactical shooter, a card-battler, and an action-RPG – show that Riot wants to become the premier esports company.
Let’s look at the games:
- Project A is a competitive tactical shooter. PC gaming editor Jeff Grubb notes it looks like a mix of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, and Rainbow Six: Siege … three of the top esports shooters.
- Project L is a fighting game with League of Legends characters. Fighting games have a smaller slice of the esports market, but when you combine Riot characters with its competitive gaming savvy, we might see a new contender for top fighter in esports.
- Runeterra is a card battler using League of Legends characters, and Riot’s timing here couldn’t be better. Blizzard is still dealing with the fallout of its decision to ban a pro player from Hearthstone’s esports after they protested the Chinese crackdown in Hong Kong.
- League of Legends is coming to consoles and mobile, and Teamflight Tactics is coming to mobile as well. This should expand their audiences for both games, which could result in more esports competitors and viewers. A month ago, Riot said League had hit 8 million concurrent players … amazing for any game, especially one that’s 10 years old.
What’s the common thread here? Esports. And Riot is one of the most successful esports companies around – if anyone can make strong competitors to CS:GO, Hearthstone, and Magic: The Gathering – Arena, and Street Fighter, it’s Riot … even if some fans aren’t happy that the company asked competitors not to discuss politics
in the wake of the Blizzard scandal.
(Though I’m intrigued about Project F, the action-RPG. Will it be like Diablo or Torchlight, with single-player, multiplayer, and online modes, or will it live online like Riot’s other games … and the excellent Path of Exile?)
We’ll see how suitable these games are for esports as Riot shows off more of these projects in the near-future.
–Jason Wilson, GamesBeat managing editor