Riot’s Rules – Monopolizing or Professionalizing Esports

Jan 19, 2016


If you did not read the article on the proposed changes be sure to check it out here. This will catch you up on some of information that was addressed in a previous article.

So far we have covered the players perspective as well as smaller organizations and what the proposed changes would do for them. Moving on from that discussion let us discuss how this might impact Riot themselves.

As Riot grows in size it is hard to think of it as the little engine that could. Just a mere six years ago the company looked radically different, as did the League of Legends graphics. With all of the continued success from Riot it begs the questions, are they trying to seek more control? League of Legends is their creation after all and it seems logical that they want to foster it like a parent. As the game grows, more rules get put into place to help it achieve the maximum amount of success.

With each passing rule that Riot sets forth they are creating a system of liability on their part. They are acting as judge, jury and executioner for these rules. While this leaves bureaucrats in the dust it creates a co-dependency for the game. Now, as it evolves Riot must evolve with it making sure to address everything that is happening within the universe. If they fail to address everything then situations similar to Korea making their own rules will come into play.

To elaborate, Korea created their own governing body for eSports (Korea e-Sports Association or KeSPA) that deals directly with rules and regulations. Now when Riot wants to enact a change they must go through this governing body to approve the changes. Instead of just making a sweeping statement saying said rule is now in place. This creates a problem for Riot when they want to enact a rule and must first make sure that it clears with KeSPA.

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This leaves Riot in a tricky situation needing to clear its rulings first with KeSPA. In one way, it is a checks and balance system making sure that Riot will not completely rule the eSports rule making. If more organizations were backed and created we might end up seeing the full ruling support of eSports on professionally established level akin to the National Football League.

To analyze the flip side of this argument, Riot may indeed just want to better the eSports scene. In order to do this they might feel that they need to professionalize the sport. One step towards professionalizing the sport is creating an established set of rules. This will help create fair competitions and minimize the amount of cheating that can occur during high pressure situations like this.

Riot created an extensive set of rules for their League of Championship Series as well as Challenger Series, North American Collegiate Championships and World Championship Series. Reading over each one of these rule books might put you to sleep but they detail exactly what Riot expects out of its competitors. This might be the professional standard that eSports needs in order to push it further into the spotlight.

Stay tuned for the next part of this series were we examine the financial aspect of professionalizing eSports. In the interum, think about how ruling can impact a game. Would viewers even be interested if there were no rulings implicated during play? More importantly, would the esport/sport be considered a profession if the rules of the game were absent?

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John Kelly
John Kelly fostered an early love for esports. By the age of twelve he played Diablo for the first time and the rest became history. Each game after focused his passion for competitive gaming and while he never engaged in competitive esports he loved the idea of becoming a pro gamer. John studied History at West Chester University and received his Bachelors for his efforts. Writing about multiple games such as League of Legends, CS GO, Halo and Destiny increased his passion for knowing the latest information in esports. As a journalist he is tasked with keeping the fans updated on developments within the esports universe.
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