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Gaming is community entertainment — Riot Games exec

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Now that we are forced to stay home, more people are discovering the joy of playing video games. In the new normal, gaming is community entertainment that helps us cope and stay connected.

“We see esports and gaming as a form of positive community entertainment,” Jennifer Poulson, Head of Publishing and Product for Southeast Asia of Riot Games, told Digital Life Asia.

Why gaming will grow

Riot Games believes gaming is community entertainment, says Jennifer Poulson, Head of Publishing and Product for Southeast Asia.
Riot Games believes gaming is community entertainment, says Jennifer Poulson, Head of Publishing and Product for Southeast Asia.

“That is why our number one priority is ensuring that our games stay up and operational. We want to be there for our players during these hard times,” she said.

Poulson acknowledged the challenges every company is facing because of the pandemic. She is bullish, however, that the gaming industry will rise to the challenge.

“Many companies, including Riot Games, have had to make several adjustments to our live events and offline community engagements with the safety and well-being of our players in mind. With people spending more time indoors, many consider gaming as a way to spend their free time. The industry is also looking at alternative avenues to deliver a new gaming and esports experience to players and fans.

“These avenues offer greater opportunities for innovation and growth within the sector, while attracting non-gaming companies to be part of it. Brands and media owners have turned to esports and gaming for a young and fresh demographic. Esports fans are educated, passionate and optimistic about brand sponsorships, so the increased time spent on gaming and esports would encourage brands to invest further in this industry,” she said.

Legends of Runeterra launch

Riot Games has recently launched Legends of Runeterra. This free-to-play, digital collectible card game features iconic League of Legends champions. It also introduces new characters originating from the world of Runeterra. Gamers will be able to access cross-platform play and enjoy the same, seamless experience on PC and on mobile devices. Legends of Runeterra is Riot Games’ first cross-platform game in Southeast Asia.

“Teamfight Tactics: Mobile launched in several countries early this year as our first cross-platform title, but Legends of Runeterra is the first in Southeast Asia for us,” Poulson said.

Singapore was actually the first country in the world to play on mobile since March 11. Riot Games then launched the game across Southeast Asia on May 1. Poulson shared they recently held the very first Legends of Runeterra tournament in Singapore online, with more than 32 participants.

The game can be downloaded for free on the site, and on the App Store and Google Play.

Evolution of gaming

Nearly everyone has a mobile device. With the push towards cross-platform play, could mobile gaming one day become bigger than PC gaming?

“There are ample growth opportunities for mobile gaming as we move towards a mobile-first society, especially in Southeast Asia. Growing accessibility to smartphones and the introduction of 5G connectivity will offer players in Southeast Asia faster connection speeds and lower latencies for mobile and PC gaming. We expect this to bolster the industry, especially mobile esports. It could shift mobile gaming from being just another means to pass the time, into a ubiquitous experience.

“That said, PC gaming will remain the bedrock of innovation in the games market as nearly all of the most popular game genres, including battle royale and MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena), can trace their roots back to PC gaming’s modding community. PC and mobile platforms offer different gaming experiences that are unique to the respective platform. It is really up to the players’ preferences and we aim to deliver the best possible experiences to them on both platforms,” Poulson said.

Responsible gaming FTW

I’ve been an advocate of responsible gaming for almost two decades now. So I was curious to hear what Riot Games is doing to promote responsible gaming.

“At Riot, we don’t want players to pay for power, and want to reward skilled play. We’re keeping games free-to-play as part of our core model, as we would like to avoid situations where players go overboard with spending just to ace the game.

“The safety and wellbeing of our players are also our top priority during this challenging time. This is why we’ve pledged our support to the #PlayApartTogether initiative with the World Health Organization and other members of the video game industry.

“We’ve also recently announced a new practice called Player Dynamics, which is dedicated to help players and their vibrant communities flourish. It will function across Riot’s new products, and through research from cognitive science, sociology as well as anthropology fields, we look to create new structures that can be applied to games, so its dedicated players and communities are put in better positions to thrive,” Poulson shared.

Here’s to more people discovering the joy of playing games. Just remember to be a responsible gamer.



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  3. naonao

    To outsiders, it might sound crazy: Why would people want to watch other people play video games? Insiders point to similarities with traditional sports. Just like basketball or football, esports has teams, leagues, championships, stars and passionate fans—plenty of them. Esports players even train like traditional athletes, logging countless hours of practice time.

    • Joey Alarilla

      True. For instance, I don’t understand the fascination with American football, but it has its fans. Same thing with esports, which I would rather watch than American football any day 🙂

  4. Otavio

    With these demographic, geographic and consumption sea-changes in the mobile ecosystem and entertainment landscape, it’s no surprise that the game space is getting increased attention and investment, not just from within the industry, but more recently from traditional financial markets and even governments. Let’s look at how the markets have responded to the rise of gaming.

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