League of Legends producer frustrated by claims of greed
Riot Games may be the studio behind League of Legends, but it's important to remember that they are a company first and foremost. They are a company in the video game industry, an industry that generates billions of dollars in business. Key word there: business. The word certainly doesn't have the best connotation, especially when it comes to video games, but Riot Games is far from the greedy corporations that swindle the masses. And Riot Games president and League of Legends executive producer Marc Merrill is seemingly sick of the greed accusations.
Posting in a Reddit thread in which a user complained about the lack of a new League of Legends client for Season 4, Merrill addressed the accusations that Riot Games is a "money hungry" studio.
"It's pretty frustrating when people try to position us as greedy, because look at it from our perspective," Merrill wrote. "1. We build pretty much the first successful free online game in the west that core gamers actually really like and play.
"We did this by building a really fun game, constantly investing over and over to grow and improve this game and by NOT selling power or being money hungry," he added. "Millions upon millions of our players spend zero dollars on league and enjoy it endlessly. We're COMPLETELY OK with this. Greedy how? You do not have to spend money, it is completely opt-in."
"We do all this because [Riot Games CEO Brandon Beck] Ryze and I are gamers. Always have been, always will be. We play the shit out of League of Legends. When servers go down, we flip out. When we don't deliver on something we promised, we flip out (Magma chamber where?) and change the world internally. When we overreach on legal language with eSports contracts to prevent competitors from paying our pros to promote their games, we acknowledge the error and change it immediately."
Merrill went on to explain that Riot Games does the opposite of most companies by not focusing on metrics like Average Revenue Per User or by not optimizing for driving to a sale, like Zynga does, which Merrill directly calls out in the post.
"We train our entire company to drive towards ENGAGEMENT. Meaning, MAKE COOL SHIT and deliver VALUE and if people PLAY enough because they love what we do, then they will WANT to spend money. Our focus is entirely different," Merrill said. You can read Merrill's full statement over on Reddit, but I think the core points were made.
As someone who has spoken to numerous members of Riot Games, I couldn't agree more with Merrill's sentiments. I understand they are a company that needs to make money, but the reasons for a lack of a new client isn't due to greed. It's likely due to them thinking of the next badass feature to incorporate in League of Legends and how they can further revolutionize MOBAs and eSports as a whole.