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Riot Games Cracking Down on Professional Streamers

After an anonymous leak of the 2014 League of Legends (LoL) Championship Series (LCS) player contract, many fans of individual streamers are outraged.

It has been confirmed by Whalen 'RiotMagus' Rozelle, Director of Esports at Riot Games, that the professional players will not be allowed to stream certain games that are listed in the contract.

Riot Games is trying to legitimise this clause by calling LoL an e-sport and saying that this is how things work in the professional sports world. Riot Games keeps saying they want to grow e-sports, but this will hinder its rise into the world of professional sports.

With this clause, Riot Games is more than likely shooting themselves in the foot as many professionals are in a high tier in LoL and when they get stuck in extremely long queues, they play other games to keep their viewers entertained. If it were not for these streamers, Riot Games would not be the number one most played MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) games in the world.

The problem a lot of the fans are having with this is the fact that the streamers are doing it on their own accounts and during their free time. Sure Riot Games pays them to play in the LCS and that makes them an employee, things like Hearthstone which is not a MOBA has been banned.

There are some games on their list that are dead and or not in the MOBA genre and therefore not a direct competitor of LoL. Many people are saying that this is the start of LoL’s fall from the top. Many are saying they will be moving over to streamers of other games as they would rather watch the other game now that LoL streamers have nothing to do during queues.

This will also affect the number of viewers the professionals will have as people would rather watch a stream that is not controlled by Riot Games, and can play whatever they feel like. This is a shame as the streamers were getting paid by or Azubu for the amount of viewers they get.

Unfortunately there is no e-sports union, as we have not needed one up until now, that can help the players get out of this extremely restricting clause. The thing that a lot of people are misunderstanding though is that Riot Games is allowing them to play whatever they want in their free time, just not streaming it.

In the contract it states that “…the [LCS] Team shall ensure that, during the Term of this Agreement, its Team Members do not publicly stream gameplay of the titles set forth on Exhibit B". Exhibit B states "the specific restrictions on streaming are set forth in the Sponsorship and Streaming Restricted List, as updated by the League from time to time…” but with the complete uproar about it, they have realised that this could mean as long as they are not promoting LoL they can play whatever they want and have subsequently modified it to say otherwise.

A lot of gamers are unhappy with the vague references to sport that Riot Games has used to try and defend their point of view because they are not really giving away any information. It is hopeful that this issue is resolved before Riot Games loses more than just their reputation.

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