Co-founder Marc Merrill even referenced the popular internet reference in his address to the League of Legends/Riot Games community debuting all the project announcements.
This month, "League of Legends" (LoL), created by Riot Games, celebrated its 10-year anniversary by announcing the creation of multiple new games -- most based off the League of Legends universe -- subsequently causing myself and anyone abreast with the gaming industry to freak out (and because I've been a "LoL" player since 2011).
Riot Games reported that "Lol" has about 8 million players active daily, and other sources have projected that number to a total of around 100 million players as of this year. As you might imagine, it’s a very appealing source of advertising for brands.
In all 10 years of its existence, it has been very difficult for many marketers and advertisers to understand the game itself, making it even harder for them to invest in the space or to know how to interact with fans.
Despite this challenge, LoL’s esports leagues have been highly successful, garnering a number of sponsorships from Mastercard to Red Bull, which clearly took the time to get involved with "League of Legends" in authentic ways. This is what all these gaming companies are about, since esports/gaming fans can be ruthless. Mastercard, for example, will be releasing credit cards themed with "League of Legends," and also giving more “Mastercard Priceless” experiences.
How did companies like Mastercard do it? While I can’t be completely sure, I am aware of how open these major esports and gaming companies like Riot are to discussion with potential partners and sponsors. Showing that interest and reaching out is the first step.
Along those lines, 10th Anniversary announcements for "League of Legends" contain an exciting number of opportunities for potential sponsors and advertisers.
Here are all the projects they announced with release dates in 2020 and beyond:
League of Legends: Wild Rift - a mobile/console version of "League of Legends".
Teamfight Tactics Mobile - a mobile version of the recent "League of Legends" universe hit, Teamfight Tactics.
Legends of Runeterra - Card game based on "League of Legends" universe.
League of Legends: Arcane - animated series based on the "League of Legends" universe.
Project A - Shooter with loose connections to "League of Legends" universe, but mostly based on a “future earth,” intended to be competitive.
Project F - an open world, top-down view game. No further details.
Project L - a fighting game (think Mortal Kombat, Tekken, Street Fighter) in early development.
League of Legends: Origins - A Netflix documentary on the community building of "League of Legends". Now available on Netflix.
League of Legends Esports Manager -- a fantasy league esports creation tool, allowing users to draft teams, create strategy, and more.
What. A. List.
For anyone familiar with the gaming industry's giants, a number of flags pop up. Of course Riot has had these projects in development for many years, but it shows that Riot has been paying close attention to the gaming industry, and how it understands it can use its existing fanbase to expand further into genres of games outside its critically acclaimed MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena).
Clearly taking cues from the rest of the industry, Riot's foray into mobile gaming and new genres, expanding on a universe that is beloved by millions of players across the world, will undoubtedly draw millions more young adults, and even younger players.
There will be new and incredibly fruitful opportunities for marketers to reach audiences via in-game events, cosmetic purchasables, merchandise -- you name it.
Riot will do anything already being done within gaming advertisement and sponsorship, and more.
These developments will put Riot Games -- excluding the other ventures of its parent company, Tencent -- on the same level as Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard, longtime heavyweights of the gaming industry.
On top of the new revenue streams from these games that will flood Riot, assuming they release the quality content we have come to receive and expect from them, many of these games will almost certainly launch into their own esports leagues, also owned by Riot Games.
The LoL Esports Manager is the first fantasy esports tool released by a company that also holds the IP for the game itself, leading to further in-house unique opportunities for franchising.
These new games and leagues will hold an abundance of the 18-34 key audience, making the understanding of and engagement with Riot invaluable to marketers and advertisers.
If I were an advertiser, I would be thinking about ways I can get involved with the latest initiatives in gaming like those at Riot, Activision Blizzard, and EA.