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Colin McNeil


There is no disputing the fact that Riot Games has forever revolutionized the esports industry — from K/DA breaking K-Pop records to adopting a franchised league model.

It wasn’t enough for Riot to make League of Legends one of the most popular esports on the planet. This trail blazing company decided that it needed to have an opening ceremony for its international competition. One that would put the Olympics to shame, break a deal with one of the most elite fashion brands in the world, and introduce franchised esports leagues.

Oh, and one last tiny thing. Ever hear of the group K/DA? Riot Games is directly responsible for the creation of this insanely popular music sensation.

So what can’t Riot do, you ask? Apparently, nothing. We break down the five times that Riot Games revolutionized esports.

Number 5: ‘Warriors’ – Imagine Dragons

The first way that Riot Games revolutionized esports was with its introduction to music and the world beyond Runeterra. It’s the 2014 Worlds anthem “Warriors” by Imagine Dragons. On September 17, 2014 — just one day before Worlds — Riot and Imagine Dragons dropped their Warriors music video. While the previous Worlds opening ceremony featured Limp Bizkit and a live orchestra playing some general League of Legends client music, the Imagine Dragons song was something entirely different. “Warriors” became the theme song for a WWE event in 2015 and reached No. 2 on the billboard charts.

Number 4: Louis Vuitton Partnership

Moving from music to fashion; who doesn’t know Louis Viutton? Riot Games sure does, as it announced a multi-year partnership with LV in 2019. Starting off with a custom trophy case for the 2019 World Championship, Riot and Louis Vuitton launched a whole apparel line with a League of Legends theme. You could sport an entire outfit, from sneakers to fanny packs and much more. Some clothing was directly related to League of Legends, like a T-shirt with Qiyana front and center. And, others were a bit more subtle, such as the brand’s custom camo pants.

While fans could buy a $5,000 League of Legends Louis Vuitton leather jacket, those with less gold in the bank could rock more affordable custom Louis Vuitton skins in-game. 

Number 3: Worlds Stage 2020

For the third time in which Riot Games revolutionized esports, we have the groundbreaking technology used during Worlds 2020 that put the players on stage, up in the clouds and under waterfalls. In partnership with Lux Machina and Possible Productions, Riot made history by using some absolutely next level tech for the event. Throughout the month-long tournament, players were more or less quarantined in Shanghai, playing each of their games on one small stage up until the finals. Though Riot normally holds the competition in multiple locations, that just wasn’t possible during a pandemic.

Instead, they built different locations in virtual reality. First, teams played in a virtual Shanghai. Then, they were on stage amidst thunderstorms. And, every time the stakes got higher, the stage also changed. Part way through the tournament, players started interacting with the virtual world, like when G2 threatened to throw Caps into the virtual water.

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