Interview with Riot Games' Guy Costantini about League of Legends Community Programs
During League of Legends Season 3 Worlds in Los Angeles, I had the opportunity to talk to Guy Costantini about Riot Games’ Community Programs division. What exactly does Community Programs do? In Guy’s own words, his job is to make people happy. What’s not to like about that? The whole League of Legends “viewing party” initiative is a large portion of this division.
Viewing parties are player organized get-togethers that are supported by Riot. The process is exceptionally simple to set up and get underway; each region having a slightly different process. Once sponsored by Riot, they add your party to their map so that other fans can find the locations of these showings. When a situation arises, such as renting out a movie theater, Riot even allows the party thrower to make a profit off of ticket sales to support the cause.
By having a Riot endorsed party, they will send assets. This swag could include support packages, Logitech Gear, hats, t-shirts, trinkets, and cardboard cutouts. Guy even mentioned that at one party, the hosts cut out the heads of cutouts so that fans could stick their heads through them for photos. While Riot will provide content, the technology of the party thrower varies.
The concept of these parties is simple: bring League of Legends players together. Coming from someone who has been to PAX Primes and Worlds, LoL is far more enjoyable to watch in large crowds. Besides bringing LoL players together, the other idea behind these parties is to make them frequent. Riot is interested in making these showings more than a one-time thing. Through building these events, the League of Legends community strengthens across the entire world. Before Worlds, there were over 200 submissions to create viewing parties.
Don’t get it in your head that viewing parties is all Community Programs do though, no no. All grassroots and local League of Legends tournaments are also under the jurisdiction of Community Programs. If you’re thinking of setting up a tournament, fundraiser, or even a league, you do so through Community Programs. One of the more popular leagues is the Collegiate League. These teams represent colleges the same way a football or soccer team would. Similarly, these teams play other colleges, compete, and even develop rivalries like any other sport. The collegiate scene in California and Texas alone is highly competitive, with matches streamed and broadcasted for fans to watch.
Much of the success and popularity of Community Programs rises from previously existing culture. In North America, the thriving bar scene has produced massive interest. Like any other sport, fans like to meet up places on regular intervals to watch matches with people of like interests. Riot, of course, encourages this behavior. League of Legends has come so far in the transition from eSport to sport. Part of this transformation comes from these “out of game” culture advancements. The sport itself is only one part of the greater picture. Riot is going to continue listening to what their fans want and grow with them. Expect to see the Community Programs quite active between Season 3 and Season 4.
Historian, teacher, writer, gamer, cheat master, and tech guru: follow on Twitter @AndrewC_GZ