Who Owns Riot Games?

We take a look at the history of Riot Games and explore the various controversies surrounding the company.

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Introduction

Riot Games is an American video game developer and publisher founded in 2006. The company is best known for developing and publishing the multiplayer online battle arena game League of Legends.until October 2019, when Tencent Holdings completed its 100% acquisition of the company for $2.225 billion.

History

Riot Games was founded in September 2006 by University of Southern California roommates Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill. The company started development of their first game soon after, entitled League of Legends. It was released in October 2009. Merrill and Beck used venture capital to finance the game’s development. According to the duo, they spent about $1 million developing the game. Beck and Merrill recruited several employees who had previously worked at Blizzard Entertainment.

In February 2014, Riot Games was acquired by Chinese internet company Tencent Holdings Ltd for $400 million. The deal resulted in Riot Games becoming a subsidiary of Tencent. However, Merrill and Beck continue to run Riot Games independently from Tencent.

The Company Today

###Riot Games is an American video game developer, publisher, and esports tournament organizer based in West Los Angeles, California. The company was founded in 2006 by two University of Southern California roommates Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill. Riot Games was initially founded to develop for the modding community of the popular MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) game Defense of the Ancients (DotA), but the developers eventually shifted their focus to developing their own game, League of Legends (LoL). LoL was released in 2009, and has become one of the most popular games in the world with over 100 million monthly active players as of 2019.

Riot Games is a subsidiary of Tencent, a Chinese multinational conglomerate holding company. Tencent acquired a majority stake in Riot Games in 2011, and fully acquired the company in 2015.

The Team

Riot Games was founded in September 2006 by University of Southern California roommates Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill. The company’s vision, according to Beck, is “to be the most player-focused game company in the world”. Merrill added: “This is a company built by gamers, for gamers. We’re game industry veterans who have experienced both sides of the business – from running our own development studio to working at large publishers like Electronic Arts and IGN. We think there’s a better way to do things.” The founders hired developer Steve Feak as the lead designer of their first game,League of Legends.

The Games

Riot Games is an American video game developer, publisher, and esports tournament organizer established in 2006. The company is best known for developing and publishing the multiplayer online battle arena game League of Legends. Riot Games was founded by University of Southern California roommates Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill, as they sought to create a company that continuously improves on an already released game, rather than banking on the release of sequels. The two were recently named coining the term “sportsmobbing” in 2008.

Riot Games is headquartered in West Los Angeles, California and has 23 offices worldwide

The Business Model

Riot Games was founded in 2006 by Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill. The company riot operates on a freemium business model. This means that their core product, the online game League of Legends, is free to play but they offer extras, called “microtransactions”, for a price. These extras include things like in-game currency, cosmetic upgrades, and boosts that help the player progress through the game faster. According to their website, they had 32 million players as of October 2012 and profit from approximately 1-2% of their player base.

The Future

Tencent
Riot Games, the developer and publisher of popular video games such as “League of Legends” and “Valorant,” is owned by Tencent Holdings Limited, a Chinese multinational conglomerate holding company founded in 1998. Tencent’s gaming business encompasses a number of well-known video game franchises, including but not limited to “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds,” “Fortnite,” “Honor of Kings,” and “CrossFire.” As one of the world’s largest interactive entertainment companies, Tencent Games also publishes and distributes games through its own online gaming platforms, such as WeGame and Tiantian. In addition to its gaming business, Tencent also owns a majority stake in Chinese social media giant WeChat.

Conclusion

Tencent’s investment in Riot Games is a complicated one, and it’s not entirely clear who owns what percentage of the company. That said, it’s safe to say that Tencent now has a majority stake in Riot Games, and is the primary shareholder.

References

– [1] “Riot Games – Wikipedia.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 01 Mar. 2017. Web. 01 Mar. 2017.

Further Reading

Riot Games was founded in 2006 by two developers who had previously worked for Blizzard Entertainment. The company’s first game, League of Legends, was released in 2009. In 2013, Riot Games was acquired by Chinese tech giant Tencent for $400 million.

Today, Riot Games is majority-owned by Tencent, with other minority investors including investment firms like KKR and Iconiq Capital.

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