If you thought commercials in South Korea featuring Starcraft 2 were good, then get excited for some featuring League of Legends. It looks as if the little-MOBA-that-could has become popular enough to deserve its own tournament, at least according to our competitive gaming friends in the eastern hemisphere. They’re willing to pony up almost $200K for not only Korean players, but any team that feels they can compete. I guess now instead of fans crying when their favorite player loses a zealot, they will cry when they give up first blood.
According to Joystiq, OGN, the Korean television company that broadcast many Starcraft: Brood War and Starcraft 2 tournaments, will now be the home for League of Legends as well. Two times a week OGN will broadcast tournaments which include 16 teams from USA, Eurpoe and of course Korea. The $1.8K, which converts to about $200 million Korean in winnings, shows how much support they have for this fast growing e-sport.
It looks like the news for Riot Games, and their Chinese parent company Tencent Holdings, just keeps getting better and better. Earlier this week I posted about how Riot Games and not Activision Blizzard earned the most revenue for PC games in 2011. With this announcement, it looks like Riot’s success is actually affecting Blizzard directly. Starcraft: Brood War was untouchable during its reign as the #1 competitive game in Korea, but Starcraft 2 hasn’t quite caught on with the same success. If League of Legends is successful there, we might see a shift across the entire e-sports world.
This is also good news for competitive teams that compete within Summoners Rift for a living as there is simply more cash in the overall world prize pool. Fans of the game will also be excited that there is more competitive LoL to watch. It seems that Blizzard is really the only one who doesn’t benefit in some way shape or form from this e-sports development.
This may represent a major shift in competitive gaming as a whole. While Starcraft has always been identified as having a ridiculously high skill cap that focuses on actions per minute, League of Legends is focuses on communication and teamwork, similar to other real life sports. The fact that it is a team game with a more accessible gameplay may be one of the reasons fans seem to be attracted to the new sport. Or everyone just likes all of LoL’s champion skins.