For League‘s 10th anniversary media event, we got the chance to do several interviews. You can read up on Jia Tan and Jane Chen from R&D, or Chris Tran and Marc Johns as heads of Esports and Marketing respectively, for SEA, HK and TW.
With all these new properties branching out of the original League IP, it would be curious to know some insider thoughts on the potential of growth within a region like Southeast Asia, especially when it would be competing with other established games in the region. Mobile Legends comes to mind as one of its competitors. Jennifer says they see the huge potential of the region, hence making SEA a focus market.
They want to have a bigger portfolio as a game company, that they can offer different experiences to players. They want something that can match to different playstyles, more so mobile. They understand the mobile market is incredibly vast in SEA, so putting a greater focus would pay off in delivering games directly to players in the region.
As for goals to accomplish within the year, they want to announce their games, which one could say they’ve already done. “Announcing and telling people about our pipeline is the first step so that we can actually start having conversations and start thinking on how we put the right team to service SEA correctly,” is an expressed sentiment. Jennifer is a new face to Riot, with other people to be announced later on. “We are looking for the brightest gaming talent in SEA to come and join our team so that we can better figure out how to serve our game effectively.”
Could we see an office in Malaysia then? They don’t think it necessary to have a physical presence per se, believing it more important to develop ways of listening and talking to players, then getting that feedback to game developers to implement the changes. Nevertheless, it’s not completely out of the question. They will be starting up with the Singapore headquarters and establish that first, with the right team.
From there, it’s figuring out the communication process, before having offices elsewhere. After all, a lot of the team is currently based in Los Angeles, and having a Singapore branch is a step in involving SEA in developing their games. While Garena will continue to publish League of Legends, Riot will be looking to self publish the rest of their games.
In regards to the next 10 years of League of Legends, Justin talks about Riot not thinking about games having “defined lifecycles”, so the following decade would be measured in the strength of links with the community, that they develop in a way that resonates with players. Taking Teamfight Tactics as an example, it managed to spin off into a different game thanks to great community response. The future of League depends on creating adequate touchpoints between them as a company, and with players, and with those in SEA.
It’s also about expanding the lore and universe, the overall IP. Things will continue to grow the way the community wants, and there’ll be other avenues of storytelling that would be open in the future. That way, people can get into the League universe in the near future through these new touchpoints.
Taking Wild Rift into consideration, while they can’t exactly answer about having different World Championships for that and PC League, having a strong playerbase is needed before a strong esports ecosystem. Sure, it would be easy to just have big prize pools for tournaments, but the health of the game should take priority before forming any professional scene. This would be evolving over time, for sure.
After all that, you may know of the sentiment of SEA players feeling not really being listened to, since League is published by Garena and not Riot directly within the region. The event and office in Singapore is the stepping stone towards improving the communication. They acknowledge it’s difficult for Garena to service players across the region “that makes sense for their business”. They can’t give specifics, but the future structure is said to be “pretty direct”. In the mean time, they will continue working closely with Garena. They don’t want to confine players to a specific forum in SEA, and intend to build teams to go to the players at their preferred communication platform. The forums themselves doesn’t matter; what does is a conversation that can bring change.
Speaking of regional things, yes, localization is in the works. Exact details depend on the game. Wild Rift is also meant to service China, so that will definitely be coming out in Chinese. Depending on what players want, more localized languages could be worked on. The new games are intended for global release, after all.
Players have plenty of League properties to look forward to in the coming years. Likewise, players can look forward having better chances of getting their voices heard. What are your thoughts?