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Harrison | 23. November 2022

Riot reveals plans for future of Wild Rift esports

Riot Games, has revealed plans for competitive League of Legends: Wild Rift, the free-to-play mobile version of the major esports title League Of Legends. According to the announcement, Riot will now be moving the Wild Rift esports scene to Asia, while halting the scene in the rest of the world, as Asia is the biggest and the most active mobile esports market globally.

The statement shared by the company stated: 

“A year ago, we launched the inaugural season of Wild Rift Esports, Riot’s first mobile esport. We went in with all the aspiration, ambition, and resources we provide our major esports. While we built an exciting sport across several regions this past year, we have decided to put our focus on where mobile esports and gaming are flourishing, and wind down our own competitive operations in the rest of the world.

The new league

The Wild Rift ecosystem, which was only built this year, will be rebuilt from the ground up for the upcoming year. It is stated that the new league system will feature 12 teams from China’s WRL and eight teams from the other 2022 Asian regions. The new Wild Rift league in Asia will also be the first Riot’s cross-regional professional mobile esports league, featuring two splits each year. The new scene is set to replace the original Wild Rift esports in April 2023.

John Needham, President of esports for Riot Games, commented on the decision: 

“Given the vigorous mobile esports market in Asia and the level of competition in these regions, as showcased at Icons 2022, we’re thrilled to bring interregional level play to the Wild Rift Esports regular season for the first time. The new Wild Rift Asian league will bring the intensity and hype of regional rivalries more regularly to our fans in Asia. We’ll have more details to share about this new league in early 2023!”

Riot Games also stated that it will only prioritise and focus on the upcoming Wild Rift Asia League, while outside of Asia, it will no longer directly operate the Wild Rift esports scene. Instead, third-party organisers will get the opportunity to host events outside of Asia.  

Backlash & confusion

This move made by Riot comes as a surprise to everyone that has been following the scene and even more so to the Brazilian fanbase, as the country has been one of the pioneers when it comes to mobile esports and features notable Wild Rift teams.

The Wild Rift community has also shown their concern about this decision, as recent data have shown that the game is growing. However, only time will tell whether this wild decision will backfire for Riot, or whether it will favor the bold.

Header: Twitter/ Wild Rift Esports