Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Riot OP

Riot is currently the powerhouse of the computer gaming industry. Their most popular game is called League of Legends but better know as LoL, and the game itself  has caused quite a stir in the competitive gaming world. Currently this game is the only game Riot has made so far but this single game has created a bigger impact than any other video game ever created.

Here is a quick synopsis on how to LoL works. It is a Mass-multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) in which there are 2 teams that consists of  5 players on each team and the objective of the game is to over take the other team's base. During gameplay each player will choose a "champion" or character to play as. Each character has unique 4 spells and the character can earn "gold" during the game by farming resources. Then each player can use this gold to buy item which will makes their champion stronger. A team wins when the other teams base gets destroyed or if one team surrenders.

Riot made the game so popular because of their distribution network. Even before the release of the game Riot had already made plans distribute their game worldwide simultaneously with the help of a few other gaming companies in other parts of the world. The game was made to be accessible to the public by offering it as a freemium game, which means the cost of picking up the game is completely free. However, if you like the game enough and want so additional in game extras then you can pay for them. The game was an instant success. The first year after the release the game had already draw in over a million player and following that up in year 2, Riot decided to hold a World Championship Tournament where the total prize pool is $2 million dollars. In year 3, they pushed it even further by increasing the prize pool to $5 million dollars. The enormous prize pull drew in a lot attention from people all over the world. Some of these people are pro gamers, but mostly they drew the attention of the average player and increase their fan base for the game by holding Superbowl like championships.

There are other similar games created by Steam, a rivaling company, call DOTA2, so why is LoL is the preferred MOBA. The reason is because of its simplicity. The learning curve is relative low to get started but it become increasingly steep the higher you want to go. Thus, it draws you in and then makes you play more in order to get better. The longer you play the more likely it is that you would want to buy their add-ons. By now the fan base of Riot has already well surpassed 32 million active monthly players. Their new strategy for growth is to create different mode of gameplay like 3v3, 6v6, and different maps, while at the same time creating special sales for add-ons to get people to start spending money. Their most successful sales event happened during the winter of 2013, where they offered people to get mystery skins. Basically, this is a random add-on sale in which a player can spend roughly about $3.5 dollars and hope to get something of much greater value. Their promotion also states that a player will get at least something worth $4. The sale was so effective that Riot decided to keep this type of sale as a permanent promotion that will be offered all year round.

Another reason why Riot has made such a big impact is the fact they have created a online web forum that basically gathers player feedback or whatever it is that the player choose to tell them. A lot of the time the forum contains new idea that they would like to see in game like a special game mode or new add-on ideas. This type of crowdsourcing for new ideas will help provide for them a better understanding of what the consumers are looking for and then focus on targeting that. It not only saves time and money to come up with new ideas but it also guarantees consumer likability.

Riot's strategy of distributing a freemium worldwide game that everyone will eventually buy additional add-ons was really effective because they were able to create a player feedback channel that allows them to know what they should focus on. Being able to know what consumers like to see and are willing to buy makes selling a whole lot easier. However, eventually playing the same game over and over again will get pretty boring, so I am curious to see how they will adapt to the change. Will they create a whole new game or will the modify this one? I guess, I will have to wait and see!


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