League of Legends appears in Steam apps database [UPDATED]

T.J. Hafer at

League of Legends tower

It seems seemed Valve, one of the two big competitors in the MOBA genre with its in-house Dota 2, has had struck a distribution deal with rival League of Legends developer Riot. As of last night, Steam's database was updated with entries for the English, Spanish, French, and German versions of the League of Legends client.

League of Legends is still arguably the biggest PC game on the planet, with more than twice as many active players as World of Warcraft had at its peak and offering some of the largest prize pools in eSports. We don't have as many hard numbers to look at for Dota 2, but the player base is growing, its major tournaments offer comparably insane monetary winnings, and Valve hasn't even officially released it yet. (We did finally go ahead and review it, though.)

So what could be the motive behind this unlikely alliance? It's not much of a stretch to say that Steam users who hadn't previously heard of League of Legends might find their way to the Fields of Justice. But since it's free to play with in-app transactions, it's not like Valve will be getting a cut of anything. The League client is also self-updating, so it wouldn't make much sense for Valve to expect people to use Steam to get updates out of convenience and -- hey, what's this Dota 2 thing?

Whatever the case, this is an example of two of the biggest rivals in the PC space electing to coexist. And that's something we can't really complain about.

UPDATE: It seems Riot's communications director Vladimir Cole has clarified that these entries do not indicate the distribution of League of Legends on Steam in the near future.

"For a brief period of time after League of Legends launched in 2009, players could purchase a digital collectors edition of the game," he said in response to the community. "This was distributed through a variety of channels (Steam included) via our European partners. We ended those distribution arrangements in 2010, but a small number of players still have this version of the game in their Steam inventories, so that's why it occasionally pops up. There are no plans to change our current distribution model of providing League of Legends direct via signup.leagueoflegends.com."