Riot Games is pushing into new markets and demographics with its mobile version of League of Legends, Wild Rift.
Leo Faria, global head of Wild Rift esports, said the strategy behind developing the game is similar to its League of Legends strategy. The Wild Rift team is striving to make it bigger than just the competition, with the fan experience encompassing playing the game, watching it played at the highest level, and seeing aspects of the game coming to life through projects such as Riot Games’ first endeavor into film and TV, the Netflix series “Arcane.”
Wild Rift’s biggest difference to League of Legends is its audience’s demographic, “because they are younger, more diverse, even more connected and growing up using their phones as their primary or only device,” Faria said. “We want to build a sport that feels genuine and connected to this audience, speaks their language and create an esports scene that is more approachable.”
Riot is looking to accommodate the needs of the Wild Rift audience, he said, “by making it feel less technical, less complex and less polished in comparison to League of Legends to create an accessible, easy to understand and entertaining spectating experience for the mobile games’ esports formats.”
Faria and his team are exploring spectator aids that are like a score in traditional sports to answer the fundamental question of which team is ahead.
While Riot’s broadcasting approach for League of Legends took a large amount of viewer education to be able to tell which team is at an advantage, Faria told Sports Business Journal that for Wild Rift esports “the solution might be creating a new score that is a combination of several statistics indicating the current state of the game.”
Faria added that the approachability of Wild Rift esports content will be further supported by “the way we cast the game, the way the on-air talent looks like, speaking the audience’s language and building something to be watched on a small screen.”
In parallel to creating a new esports experience, Riot Games is supporting the establishment of a Wild Rift esports ecosystem by focusing on big markets for mobile gaming such as China, India, South America and Southeast Asia. While aiming to build a global product in the long term, Riot also wants to prove to traditionally PC-first audiences mostly found in North America and Europe that Wild Rift can be an entertaining and highly competitive esport as well.