Riot restrict streaming for League of Legends pro players, ban certain games outright | PCGamesN

Strap in: the 2014 Steam Holiday Sale has officially launched; here's all the best offers

DayZ patch 0.52 adds a slew of features; includes gardening and grim suicide mechanics

WarCraft: Armies of Azeroth is a nostalgic Starcraft II mod remake of Blizzard's Warcraft III

League of Legends

Riot restrict streaming for League of Legends pro players, ban certain games outright

Riot places restrictions on LCS pro streaming

"Wait, no more Dyrus Hearthstone?!"

Yesterday, eSports-focused editorial site OnGamers broke the news that in the contracts for the 2014 season of LCS, pro players will have certain restrictions on what they are allowed to stream. Unsurprisingly, Riot don’t want their top pros to be streaming (and effectively advertising) other MOBAs on their public streams... but neither do they want them playing Hearthstone, Diablo, or World of Anything At All.

It’s a contentious point, because until now, LCS pros had been able to stream whatever they pleased and Hearthstone has become kind of the unofficial “off-hours eSport” for the entire competitive gaming world. Furthermore, stream revenue is an important source of income for many players and teams, and fans enjoy tuning in to see the pros casual gaming pursuits as much as their practice.

On the other hand, LCS pros are basically paid by Riot, now. League of Legends eSports is an extension of Riot and subject to both unprecedented investment and opportunity, and also unprecedented oversight.

Riot’s eSports director Whalen Rozelle remarked on Reddit, “...These guys are professionals contracted to a professional sports league. When they’re streaming to 50,000 fans, they’re also representing the sport itself. I can’t stress enough how these guys in the LCS are on the road to being real, legitimate athletes. This is new territory for a lot of teams (especially in esports), because the transition goes from being a group of talented individuals to being real icons of a sport and a league. Similarly, you probably wouldn’t see an NFL player promoting Arena Football or a Nike-sponsored player wearing Reebok on camera. Pro players are free to play whatever games they want – we’re simply asking them to keep in mind that, on-stream, they’re the face of competitive League of Legends.”

This is a bit self-serving, of course. Pro players sign sponsorship deals independent of their leagues and teams as a way of augmenting their salaries. For most Western pro players, streaming fills that role, and part of streaming is being able to build and hold the attention of a large audience. Diversity helps with that.

The other thing that makes this restriction seem a bit heavy-handed is that it goes beyond what most players and fans will see as Riot’s legitimate interests. Nobody would bat an eye at a contract that says, “You can’t stream Dota 2.” It’s preposterous to think that Riot would want to be paying a player a salary, and then have that player basically start promoting a rival. But Diablo, Hearthstone, World of Tanks, and Fat Princess (I mean, really?) do not seem like games that should be of much concern to the makers of the most popular MOBA in the world.

Which makes sense from a certain point of view, but perhaps not from Riot’s. The free-to-play economy is about engagement and time. If you look at this list, the common thread is that Riot don’t want their players streaming big time-sinks. Even if a game isn’t necessarily directly competitive with League of Legends in terms of genre or even business model, they can still be rivals for time and attention. And MOBAs thrive on consuming both, because the money tends to follow.

It’s also worth noting the unusual position that League of Legends pros find themselves in. Grassroots League of Legends doesn’t really exist, and there are no strong independent leagues where they can take their talents. The smaller tournament circuit has been subsumed by the LCS Challenger series.

This couldn’t really happen in StarCraft or Dota because neither Blizzard nor Valve exert such blanket control over the eSports ecosystem. But the deal that Riot offered was to make eSports more stable and lucrative for a larger number of players than any other eSport in the world. There are sixteen pro teams in North America and Europe comprised of five players apiece, with alternates and support staff. That’s a product of Riot’s investment. But the flip side is that the entire pro scene now has a boss named Riot, and the boss’s priorities have to become theirs.

Login or Register
1
+1
-0
Shriven's picture
1828

Riot need to be taken down a peg. Who do they think they are? An actual respected sports organisational body?

0
+1
-1
unwanted's picture
483

These guys are professionals contracted to a professional sports league

Arrrrrghh!! *punches wall*


Alienware - Game VictoriousTurtle Beach
A Region Reborn - NA League of Legends Championship Series Playoffs crown TSM

League of Legends

A Region Reborn - NA League of Legends Championship Series Playoffs crown TSM

Riot has summoned League of Legends' Poro King and his furry minions

Riot has summoned League of Legends' Poro King and his furry minions

NA LCS Expansion tournament concludes this weekend

NA LCS Expansion tournament concludes this weekend

Counter Logic Gaming fined $10,000 for poaching in League of Legends LCS

Counter Logic Gaming fined $10,000 for poaching in League of Legends LCS

League of Legends patch 4.21 brings gifts for

League of Legends patch 4.21 brings gifts for "many orphaned champions" (but not Warwick)

League of Legends players suffer locked out spells; Riot pledge fix in next patch

League of Legends players suffer locked out spells; Riot pledge fix in next patch

How a quadriplegic ex-wrestler reached Gold in League of Legends

League of Legends

How a quadriplegic ex-wrestler reached Gold in League of Legends

At its peak, over 11 million people were watching the League of Legends World Championship final together

At its peak, over 11 million people were watching the League of Legends World Championship final together

League of Legends dragon champ Ao Shin

League of Legends dragon champ Ao Shin "on hold"; "We do intend to make him someday"

Rek'Sai is League of Legends' newest champion; she's underground, so you've probably never heard of her

Rek'Sai is League of Legends' newest champion; she's underground, so you've probably never heard of her

League of Legends patch 4.20 is all about “strategic diversity” and lasers

League of Legends patch 4.20 is all about “strategic diversity” and lasers

Why

Why "under the radar" League of Legends champion Sona needs nerfing

Dear Riot: please bring more League of Legends live events to the UK

League of Legends

Dear Riot: please bring more League of Legends live events to the UK

Riot on League of Legends toxicity: 95% of players never need to be punished

Riot on League of Legends toxicity: 95% of players never need to be punished

Riot's rewarding League of Legends players with Influence Points, but only if they've been good

Riot's rewarding League of Legends players with Influence Points, but only if they've been good

Why the Summoner’s Rift update is good for League of Legends' performance

Why the Summoner’s Rift update is good for League of Legends' performance

How Riot's Summoner's Rift update is improving clarity in League of Legends

How Riot's Summoner's Rift update is improving clarity in League of Legends

Riot on League of Legends preseason changes: we haven't forgotten about tank junglers

Riot on League of Legends preseason changes: we haven't forgotten about tank junglers

10 Ways We'd Fix the League of Legends Client

League of Legends

10 Ways We'd Fix the League of Legends Client

Kalista, League of Legends' new champion, is a bit miffed about being murdered

Kalista, League of Legends' new champion, is a bit miffed about being murdered

Riot outline preseason plan to bring choice back to League of Legends' jungle

Riot outline preseason plan to bring choice back to League of Legends' jungle

How item changes are redefining the jungle in League of Legends

How item changes are redefining the jungle in League of Legends

Hexakill comes to Twisted Treeline in League of Legends' Halloween event: The Harrowing

Hexakill comes to Twisted Treeline in League of Legends' Halloween event: The Harrowing

League of Legends is close to making $1 billion from microtransactions this year

League of Legends is close to making $1 billion from microtransactions this year