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Why isn't Riot just another game company

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League of Legends, jogo criado pela Riot (Foto: Divulgação)

League of Legends, game created by Riot (Photo: Disclosure)

It's time to blow the old ladies. League of Legends (LoL), the world's most famous online game, turns ten. On his birthday, he won a gift from Riot Games, the company responsible for its creation, a global party (in over 16 countries) and announcements that mark a new phase in its expanded universe. A fantastic world for no fan to defect.

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In the announcement, Riot showed that it begins to think beyond games. Among games, modes and characters from the LoL universe, two big news stand out: the first version of the game for smartphones and another for consoles like Xbox One and Playstation 4, in addition to producing an original animation with the characters of LoL. The smartphone and console version was a creation of Riot from scratch. Instead of adapting the PC game, the company decided to invest in a whole new environment, with narrative and gameplay designed for the mobile device. Already the Arcane series hits the market in 2020, still no defined means of distribution.

Another novelty was the licensing of the game with Brazilian brands. For the first time in ten years, consumers will find LoL products in stores across the country. The agreement was signed with Riachuelo, Tilibra and Piticas brands.

In an exclusive interview with Época BUSINESS, Jarred Kennedy, vice president of Intellectual Property at Riot Games, commented on the news. “The 10th anniversary is important for us to look at what we've built so far, but also to project the future and think of new products for the fans we've gathered so far,” he says.

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Jarred Kennedy, Vice President of Intellectual Property at Riot Games (Photo: Disclosure)Jarred Kennedy, Vice President of Intellectual Property at Riot Games (Photo: Disclosure)

Jarred also took the opportunity to discuss topics such as media investment, diversity and the impact of new technologies on the gaming experience. “We are and always will be a game company. But that does not stop us from going beyond that. Our mission is to create products that meet the needs of our audience, ”he says.
Below, check out the best moments of the chat:

BUSINESS Season: Why did Riot decide to create a LoL animation?

Jarred Kennedy: This is not the first time we have explored this kind of content. If you look at the music clips we have created with the characters (video below) in recent years, you will notice a similarity to what we expect from this new project. I'm very excited, because I believe our fans will really like this new project. In addition, the serious is an opportunity to bring in new players, who will go the other way. We don't know where it will be shown yet, but it is expected to be in the air next year.

Why invest in media?

We realized that our audience was very fond of our investments in this type of product. If you look at the KD / A video, that's over 250 million views. It shows that people want to know more about the world of LoL. And we realized that the best way to explore this story was still through animation. In the end, it's hard to tell everything we want within the format of our game. We worked two years on this idea now we are looking forward to the result. The only certainty we had was that the project had to be well done and also had to respect our community. We hope they enjoy it.

How was the creation? After all, Riot Games is a game company.

We follow as a game company. And let's follow. But I believe our company has the ability to do more. To be more. The point is: whenever you enter a new area, you need humility and good partners. Our writing team has worked hard to adapt the game to a series in the best way possible, because we know this is not an easy mission. At this stage, we enter a new layer of the League of Legends universe. You have to be special and perfect.

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Is this the final step for Riot to become a media company?

No I do not think. I can't believe this is our aspiration. Riot is a game company and always will be. Our mission is simple: to serve the audience in the best way and make sure fans and players are happy with what we do. One feedback we always had was that people wanted to know more about those characters. So we decided to make a big investment in that direction. The same goes for LoL on consoles and smartphones. We realized they had people who wanted to play but didn't like the PC experience. But it was no use simply transferring the original game into the phone. We had to offer the best experience possible. This required a hard work of creation. This is also why, for now, it will not be possible to play mobile with people playing on the PC. But it's on our horizon.

Riot got involved in controversy from 2018 here (employees went on strike claiming that the company offered a toxic and sexist work environment), what can you say about that?

Over the course of this year, Riot has learned and grown a lot as a company. We have taken some steps toward a change that makes our company good not only for players but also for its employees. We hired a new diversity executive and are conducting internal training to help us create a strategy. The work has been done and I feel progress, for sure. But this is an endless journey. We have an obligation and responsibility to be the best company possible. That is our focus. Did we solve everything? No, it is a complex issue and it will take time. What I can say is that I am proud of the steps we have taken and hope to make Riot a good example.

Is lack of diversity a serious problem in the gaming arena?

I think diversity and inclusion are aspects that the economy will have to deal with. I am proud of our response and believe we are in the right direction. I insist, it's a journey. We are not there yet.

Will the player experience change a lot with new platform technologies?

Look, the way we play is always evolving. But Riot believes games have a unique and very human issue. Therefore, we consider ourselves “agnostic” in terms of platform. The important thing is to create compelling experiences for our consumers. Wherever technology goes, we'll be there with good stories.

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