Time to tune in?

Professional gaming has yet to really catch on in a major way here in the US, and while I don’t think that is going to change much, hearing that the recent League of Legends live event had 17,000+ viewers watching is an impressive number. I’m not sure what that kind of viewership is worth in terms of advertising, but I would imagine it’s not insignificant.

In many ways LoL fits the mold in terms of the ideal e-sport product. The game is ‘free’, so anyone interesting after watching can download the game and jump right in. Additionally, it’s not difficult for an outsider to watch a match and understand the basics and ‘catch on’ to what is happening. At 30-60min in length, the games are not too long, and with proper commentating, they can be both very entertaining and educational for new and current players alike.

The benefit of something like this catching on and becoming a secondary source of income for Riot is somewhat obvious. More money = more devs = more content for the players. Plus if the source of income becomes substantial enough, the ‘burden’ of relying on the item shop lessens, meaning more free content or reduced prices overall. Finally even if the advertising money is minimal, the exposure for the game and the hype generated from a quality set of matches will results in new players hearing about the game and becoming interested.

With more events already planned, and with LoL still growing at a surprising pace (this recent event topped StarCraft 2 in popularity), this is one area to keep an eye on to see what happens. It’s certainly one opportunity for growth, especially as gaming continues to cut into TV viewership, and more and more people in general are exposed to the hobby. It’s not unreasonable to assume that just like most kids today can relate to baseball/basketball/football, shortly (if not already) most will better able to relate to gaming is a sport or source of entertainment.

Chuck is off today, sorry.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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11 Responses to Time to tune in?

  1. Jezebeau says:

    I hate to sound like Keen, but you’re kidding yourself if you think more money means more free content or reduced prices. That would make Riot pretty much the first in the “F2P” price model not to stick to their guns.

  2. Ben says:

    Right on. LOL is fantastic. Been a reader of your blog for awhile now, and glad to see you’re enjoying LOL! I have yet to play any ranked games (about 200 normal games under my belt) but would love to find some folks that know what they’re doing. Hit me up some time – tag is Excelsias in LOL.

  3. Joseph says:

    “More money = more devs = more content for the players. Plus if the source of income becomes substantial enough, the ‘burden’ of relying on the item shop lessens, meaning more free content or reduced prices overall.”

    Hah.

    • Dril says:

      Give me solid proof that LOTRO (a game that was by all accounts slowly losing profitability) hasn’t had a fairly crap significant content since mid-MoM and I’ll believe you when you laugh at it. While WoW isn’t a great example, at least it and EVE (the other big MMO) have relatively reasonably fleshed out and bug-free content updates.

      • SynCaine says:

        In a way WoW is a counter-example, because given all the money Blizzard is making, they should be abusluitely crushing everyone else in total content delivery, and they simply don’t.

        But more to the point, I’m in no way saying Riot is going to turn into a non-for-profit studio here, but rather that with additional revenue, you gain some OPTIONS for other areas. So for example they could drop the price of re-color skins to 260RP, not because they want to be ‘nice’, but because they could afford to do that and get people hooked into buying skins at a lesser price, ultimately resulting in more overall skin sales (that would be the goal anyway).

  4. Mala says:

    I’ve been slowly starting to watch some competitive gaming, and while it isn’t something I would rush home to tune into, if there is something interesting on and I’m going to be around, I’ll turn it on and see if it catches me. I find SC2 and Quake to be my games of choice to watch, and LoL is decent but since I don’t play it myself I occasionally have difficulty following the action.

  5. Sean Boocock says:

    Wondering what you were basing this off of:
    “With more events already planned, and with LoL still growing at a surprising pace (this recent event topped StarCraft 2 in popularity), this is one area to keep an eye on to see what happens.”

    Is it from the linked thread?
    “The match up drew the largest online and live crowd of any event at the WCG USA National Final”

    I can’t quote numbers but I know that recent MLG events after SCII was included have drawn quite a number of people on their live streams. Gomtv.net is sponsoring monthly SCII tournaments with $100,000 grand prizes and charging viewers a season pass to follow along live: http://www.gomtv.net/2010gslopens1/premiumzone/Service.php. Taking a cursory look at upcoming SCII tournaments, http://www.teamliquid.net/tournaments/, there are many with prize pools surpassing the WCG finals just in the next/last 30 days.

    I know DotA has been played professionally for awhile and I hope LoL takes up that mantle. My little experience with it was a lot of fun and I’m sure it would be similarly enjoyable to watch as a spectator. But I would be more careful about qualifying dismissals of the esports juggernaut (at least of the moment) SCII.

    • SynCaine says:

      Just based off that one event. The LoL live stream had more viewers than the SC2 one, and the audience was larger for LoL than it was for SC2. I just found it surprising/impressive given how popular SC2 is based off name alone, and the fact that LoL is still somewhat new.

      • Sean Boocock says:

        That’s good to hear and an impressive feat. Those numbers are comparable with the EVO 2010 finals which I watched most of. Hopefully all this interest translates into dollars for Riot. Would love to see a day where esports are as mainstream in the West as they are in places like South Korea.

  6. smee, T says:

    Chuck… off?

    What is this blasphemy?!

  7. LOLIMANTIBLIZZARD says:

    Topped SC2 in popularity compared to what? The MLG SC2 tourney had the largest number of viewers ever for any of their streams in their history. The first HDH SC2 tournament (which was done IN THE BETA) had it’s finals top out around 22k viewers. I guarantee that the HDH2 will top even that number.

    There are multiple streams that have thousands of viewers per night with people just playing SC2.

    Day[9], just a man who does a 45 minute cast a night, gets 5k+ viewers PER NIGHT EVERY WEEK.

    I get that you hate Blizzard. I get that. But saying LoL has, or ever will, top SC2 as an e-sport is laughable. I watched the WCG cast, and watching LoL, or any DotA clone for that matter, live is just terrible. It’s completely uninteresting and not nearly as spectator friendly as Starcraft is.

    So basically, get over your Blizzard hate and stop posting lies.

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