Season 4 of League of Legends is upon us – if you haven’t already, now would be a good time to fiddle with your masteries and whatnot. However, there is no need to download a new client; Riot isn’t releasing a new one for the new season. Some people took to Reddit to rage and call Riot greedy. Warning, their response includes some less-than family-friendly language.
The Reddit response begins with the typical explanation that Riot isn’t greedy because their game is free. Not Pay to Win free, but actually free – plenty of players never spend a cent and still get to enjoy all the game has to offer. Fair enough, but the post goes on (again, if foul language offends you, you may just want to skip this part):
We do all this because Ryze and I are gamers. Always have been, always will be. We play the shit out of League of Legends. When servers go down, we flip out. When we don’t deliver on something we promised, we flip out (Magma chamber where?) and change the world internally. When we overreach on legal language with eSports contracts to prevent competitors from paying our pros to promote their games, we acknowledge the error and change it immediately.
And guess what else? Most game businesses focus on metrics like ARPU (average revenue per user) and try to build their entire companies and organizations around optimizing for driving to a sale (think Zynga). We do the OPPOSITE.
We train our entire company to drive towards ENGAGEMENT. Meaning, MAKE COOL SHIT and deliver VALUE and if people PLAY enough because they love what we do, then they will WANT to spend money. Our focus is entirely different.[…] So, thanks for the additional reminder we need to do better at explaining who we are. But FUCK me if I don’t allow a little emotion to slip in when the takeaway is so utterly wrong for who we are as a company.
I love the selective use of all caps. Looking past swearing and caps lock, I think it is a fair enough point to make. Riot is focused on community engagement, adding features, champions and events that the gamers want. They play their own game, and there’s a reason that it’s the most popular MOBA out there. I think we’ve gotten to the point where any game company that dares to make a profit is seen as greedy and cashing in or selling out. Why do we expect game developers to be purely altruistic? Of course these guys want to make money – what could be better than making money from doing something you love? At least the mindset over at Riot seems to be gamer-focused.
Is Riot greedy in their handling of LoL? How about Valve with Dota 2? Does it even come close to the level of greed we see with COD or Facebook games? When are games allowed to make money without being seen as greedy?