League of Legends on why non-paying players are "super valuable"

Richard Cobbett at

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We had a chance to catch up with Riot Games this year at Gamescom for a chat about the future of League of Legends, and Riot Games' attitude to players who pick up League of Legends, play it every day, but never buy any items.

"We actually don’t say 'How can we monetize our users?' or anything crazy like that," says Lead Champion Designer Ryan Scott. "We just go 'How can we make players super happy”' and then players will buy what they want and then all of our free players are also super valuable because they’re in there, engaged with the game, and in the community. We’re totally fine with that, we love that."

"We renamed our customer support group "Player Support Group" because we didn’t want to ever give the impression that we only cared about people who paid in the game," adds Lead Producer Travis George. "People were like “Why did you do that?” and we’re well, it’s because we want that subtle mentality shift to be part of everything we do."

League of Legends is certainly a good template for other free-to-play games. No upfront cost, most things can be bought with in-game currency (and beyond XP/in-game cash boosts, none of them give you more power), and with ten free heroes cycling round all the time, you're never short of characters.

The next major addition to the game, Capture-and-Hold mode Dominion is out soon, and will be available to all players without any extra cost. Read our thoughts on it here, and check out this sneak peek.