How League Of Legends Has Changed eSports
Updated: Apr 1
When it comes to eSports you’d be remiss not to have heard of League of Legends, one of the biggest video games on the planet. Released in 2009, League Of Legends started out as a humble attempt to make an accessible and easier to approach version of Defense of the Ancients - better known as DOTA - a Warcraft 3 mod that popularized the MOBA genre.
Combining the best parts about Real-Time Strategy and Role-Playing games, MOBAs became more and more popular making League Of Legends rise within the gaming community almost inevitable.
Today, League of Legends is a behemoth of a title that has generated its development studio, Riot, astronomical amounts of revenue; enough, in fact, to hold one of the biggest eSports events year after year: The League Championship Series. Thanks to its immense prize pools and thriving fan culture, League’s approach to eSports changed their landscape from niche to mainstream.
It all started through the rapid growth of its now colossal community of gamers of different stripes, from casual weekend warriors to hardcore rising stars. With such a mass of followers gathering at its hectic battlefield mecca, a solid meta-game was quickly adopted and set as a standard eventually leading to fierce competitors seeking to prove their worth. It was at this boiling point that Riot began its eSports initiative by kicking off the very first season of the LCS in 2013.
Of course, big competitions cannot be had without big prizes for their victors, and Riot was quick to comply. By amassing big sponsors and pooling from its own resources, the LCS has seen growing prize pools reaching amounts that could almost give real-life sports a run for their money. Cascading from these lush jackpots, League Of Legends teams also grew in value with players becoming hot commodities that are now traded and bought in similar ways to football and basketball leagues. It is through such an abundance of profits that eSports today are considered one of the fastest-growing industries.
Back in 2009 when LoL was first released, there were plenty of detractors touting how a “dumbed down” version of DOTA would not be accepted by the competitive scene, let alone become one of the prime household eSports names. Today, it’s not only one of the most recognizable brands in the world, but also, thanks to its massive appeal and profit-generating potential, the title that skyrocketed eSports to its current mainstream sponsor-filled form.
Riot has come a long way since it's birth.