Aug 25 2016 - 5:00 pm

HTC steps into debate over LCS revenue

One of esports' most high-profile sponsors has joined an ongoing and public debate between some of the biggest names in League of Legends over the financial structures that Riot uses to underpin its esport
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports

One of esports' most high-profile sponsors has joined an ongoing and public debate between some of the biggest names in League of Legends over the financial structures that Riot uses to underpin its esport. 

The statement from tech giant HTC is, in part, a direct response to revelations that Riot Games threatened to fine Team SoloMid for appearing in an advertisement that featured a game other than League of Legends

In a Facebook post earlier today, HTC said that the commercial in question was not aimed at advertising for a rival game, but rather the company's virtual reality headset, the HTC Vive. The game is called Raw Data, and HTC has clarified that its developer, Survivos, did not receive any payment for the spot. Instead, TSM players specifically chose that game to showcase the VR system.

But the broader purpose of HTC's response was to focus on the bigger conversations taking place in League esports—namely how revenue for teams is severely limited by the LCS system.

Over the past few days, Riot has found itself at the center of criticism for limiting the scope of revenue generation for professional League of Legends teams. Critics argue it doesn't offer solutions such as revenue sharing, franchising or co-ownership in the LCS.

HTC argues that the issue stems from there being no clear guidelines on what Riot might consider a competing game or interest and might, in turn, prohibit LCS teams from advertising.  That means sponsors don’t know what product could be used in promotional content. As a result, HTC feels it has “reached an impasse,” as the company and teams lose out on potential revenue due to the LCS's current setup, which hampers future investors from showing interest in the game.

“With less avenues for advertisements in League of Legends, stemming from the restrictions on the teams and players, restrictions on the subreddit, and the lack of available marketing opportunities at competitions, it is becoming difficult to justify our investments in the scene,” HTC said in its post.

The debate was ignited when Riot Game’s co-owner Marc Merrill, in a comment on Reddit, seemed to criticize team owners for not investing heavily enough into the LCS. That statement which led Team SoloMid owner Andy “Reginald” Dinh to write a lengthy rebuttal. Dinh argued that, “It’s irrational to invest even more money into LCS,” due to all teams having maxed their profits on the current setup, limiting the future growth of the scene.

Merrill released a follow-up statement on Tuesday in which he apologized for his “emotional response,” extending an olive branch to the owners. Dinh followed up with another reply on Twitter, thanking Merrill for the response and letting him know that “there is a detailed proposal signed by NA LCS teams and players headed to your inbox today. We'll solve these problems together.”

Jan 15 2017 - 10:31 pm

Kinguin and Fnatic Academy secure spots in European Challenger Series

The two teams made short work of the opposition.
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports
Photo via Riot Games

Fnatic Academy and Team Kinguin qualified for the European League of Legends Challenger Series, taking themselves one step closer to the game's premier competition.

In rather emphatic fashion, the two teams completely decimated their opposition. Both teams were able to secure quick 3-0 victories, and will now be competing in the upcoming season of the EU CS league.

While both teams fell short of first place in the qualifiers group stage, the teams made up for it in spades in the tournament finals. The Polish Kinguin roster were the first team to qualify for the league, as the team completely decimated opponents on Nerv.

Despite featuring former EU CS players such as mid laner An "SuNo" Sun-ho, as well as support Christophe "je suis kaas" van Oudheusden, it seemed as if Nerv weren't able to find any opening against the Polish team.

The final series of the day saw Fnatic Academy, in equally as dominant fashion, defeat Team Forge.

The academy team's display in the three games was incredible impressive, in particular the performances of mid laner Yasin "Nisqy" Dinçer and former FC Schalke AD carry Rasmus "MrRalleZ" Skinneholm, as both players only died once throughout the entire series.

With the qualifiers over, Kinguin and Fnatic Academy now join FC Schalke, Paris Saint-Germain, Millenium and Misfits Academy in the 2017 Spring Season of the EU CS.

The 2017 League of Legends season gets underway next week, when all regional leagues begin their spring seasons.

Jan 14 2017 - 4:15 pm

Court case between Riot Games and popular scripting site reaches its conclusion

The site has until February 28 to shut down its business.
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports
Image via Riot Games

League of Legends developer Riot Games have claimed victory in a court case against one of the game's largest scripting websites, shutting down the site for good.

The two parties have been embroiled in the case since August last year, with a settlement apparently reached on January 9.

The defendants, which consists of the five individuals behind the creation and maintenance of one of the major scripting/botting services in the world, have until Feb. 28 to comply with the court. Which includes a complete shutdown of the site the defendants were operating.

According to court filings from the California General District Court, the defendants submitted a notice of settlement, which suggests that both parties have agreed to settle the case.

Scripting is the name associated with services that employ the use of code which allows users to actively manipulate a game.

The defendant site offers scripts such as “Space bar to win”, which according to the website "will carry out lightning fast perfect combos in a fraction of a second much faster then normally humanly possible."

According to Riot's first amended complaint, which was filed on Nov. 21, 2016, the developer argues that the defendants actions have breached section 1201(a) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which relates to circumvention of technological barriers implemented by rights holders.

Speculating on the scale of the defendant's abuse, the complaint submitted by Riot claims that "Defendants also have knowingly and intentionally induced thousands or tens of thousands of Riot players in the United States to breach Riot’s Terms of Use." giving a clear indication of the prevalence of scripting in League's matchmaking service.

Additionally, the company which the website is listed as part of is registered under the name of one of the defendants, and is, based off of the court documentation, based out of Peru in order to escape legal ramifications.

Riot filed its initial complaint to the California General District Court on Aug. 5, 2016. Less than a month following the filing, Riot Games became aware of a malicious attack aimed at a Riot employees business computer, and discovered that the defendants had purposefully disseminated the employee's personal information on the internet. The defendants had also stolen assets belonging to said employee through a malware attack.