It’s no secret that Riot Games has had a big influence on the gaming and esports industries in the past few years. The company strongly popularised esports, with League of Legends being one of the top titles in professional gaming for over a decade. Franchising the regional leagues, cooperating with some of the biggest brands on the planet, such as Kia or MasterCard, and fighting for players’ abilities to get athletic visas in the US are only a few of the examples.
In 2020 we have seen even more of Riot's influence on the gaming industry, as they expand into new genre's of games with the release of tactical shooter, Valorant, and expand the League of Legends universe with a mobile game and new content for the original. The company has shown that it aims to be the main player when it comes to esports.
Riot’s ambitions don’t stop there. It has now come to light, that the game developer has registered an another, truly different trademark in business. It is called “League of Legends Esports Association.” While there hasn’t been any statement from the corporation itself, the description of the trademark gives us some hints on what its goals are.
“Promoting public awareness computer and video game competitions and tournaments, promoting the interest of professional computer and video game players.” While the specification isn’t exactly clear on what Riot’s plans are, we can already make some assumptions.
(Picture: Riot Games)
With the quick growth and spread of esports into mainstream entertainment, a lot of people are still unsure about the nature of professional gaming.
The industry has been negatively portrayed by mass media, and Riot has been trying to change that for quite some time now. A documentary on Netflix, “League of Legends: Genesis”, which shows the birth and development of the world's most popular MOBA game, is one of many examples.
Another prospect is that it plans to make a legal subject, that would look out after players’ interest itself. That would be something similar to the Counter-Strike Professional Players’ Association. A union formed by the game’s pro competitors, which already makes it a bit different from what Riot is doing. CS:GO ecosystem as of now makes it easy for professional gamers to suffer from fatigue and stress. Its purpose is to represent them and to oversee their wellness and well-being.
Most recent cases of Counter-Strike players facing new, challenging issues, were those of Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander and Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth. Danish duo decided to step back from Astralis’ active roster, because of burnout caused by the tight calendar, full of tournaments all over the world. The issue hasn’t much changed since the esports scene has gone online, simply because the number of competitions played through the internet has been enormous.
All players need a break! That is why the CSPPA continue to enforce the tournament break regardless of tiers.— Counter-Strike Professional Players' Association (@CSPPAgg) June 26, 2020
Even though LoL’s players don’t have to face problems such as these, because of the leagues’ franchising and organised well thought out system, it’s professional scene has issues of its own. For instance, in the past few months, the media was buzzing with resentment because of the Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett situation.
Back then the player had been a part of Team SoloMid roster, and some uneasy comments about him were made by TSM’s President, Leena Xu. Her remarks about Dardoch’s poor form and difficulties in selling him to other teams were overheard on Yilliang “Doublelift” Peng’s stream.
Naturally, that must have made the jungler even more unattractive in the eyes of interested parties. Hartnett eventually found a job in Dignitas’ Academy roster, nevertheless, situations like these could use some help from third parties, and possibly “League of Legends Players Association” is aiming to be the one assisting in conflicts of interests of this kind.