Illustration redesigned by Devin Thorpe
Gamers all over the world are wishing a Happy Birthday to Riot Games this week as their primary (and let’s face it only) gaming offering, League of Legends, turns 10. Officially, the game turned 10 on October 27th but the celebration is still in full swing as fanfare greets players on Summoner’s Rift, daily gifts are awarded (don’t worry, they aren’t all icons), people play the original URF, and Baron Nashor dons a party hat.
Over the last 10 years Riot Games has continually reinvented League to stay relevant and fresh in a highly competitive market and they’ve come along way. These changes have included visual updates, alterations to gameplay mechanics, new champions, items, modes, and maps, and about 200 Ryze reworks. And about those new champions? It’s not just a handful. They had 40 champions upon release, and now there are 145 champions strong with one more due to come out before the end of the year.
While celebrating a game’s release day may seem bizarre or impertinent, it is, in fact, noteworthy. In the whirlwind that is the gaming industry it’s not uncommon to see games, consoles, and companies rise and fall seemingly overnight. So, when something comes along – be it a game, company, platform, you name it – and stakes a claim and keeps it, people pay attention.
Far from fading into digital and social oblivion League’s popularity is still growing. Their first tournament in 2011 at Dreamhack saw fewer than 100 attendees with a mere 1.6 million digital viewers. However, this upcoming World Championship Series will be held across 3 European cities (Berlin, Madrid, and Paris) and will likely exceed the record 99.6 million digital viewers who tuned in last year. They’ll also receive media coverage from major networks, including ESPN.
So, a very happy birthday League, and here’s to many more. It’ll be interesting to see what the future holds both for League and Riot Games!