The recent controversies surrounding Activision|Blizzard has taken over the gaming community and has sucked in a large number of supporters to band against them. As the protests and controversies pushed forward, several employees in the company have either been removed or left the company altogether to avoid being implicated in an “evil video game company”. Since the controversy has begun to grow, a lot of names have been mentioned as comparison – that includes, Riot Games.
The Activision|Blizzard Downfall
Blizzard was and is still (to some degree) one of the most successful video game companies in the world. This is largely due to World of Warcraft, which was the largest MMORPG for almost 2 decades. While they’ve been overtaken by Final Fantasy XIV today, the title was unmatched and every MMORPG was modeled after them in one way or form. However, when Activision bought Blizzard in 2008, a lot of fans became dissatisfied with their products but not enough to dethrone their success with WoW.
After the release of Shadowlands in late 2020, a lot of content creators began voicing out their concerns that Activision|Blizzard refused to make relevant improvements in the game and continued to chase monetary benefits instead of satisfying its playerbase. WoW developers did the bare minimum to make changes in gameplay systems, some of which didn’t make sense or simply made the game worse. Many had enough at this point and only needed a catalyst to truly quit the game forever.
It was only in July 2021 that Activision|Blizzard would truly take a heavy blow. The state of California sued the company for multiple charges of harassment, discrimination, and toxic workplace culture. The information released was enough to send both content creators and regular users to get angry. While most content creators managed to convince players to protest against Blizzard, it was the company itself that continued to dig its own grave by issuing insincere “solutions” and refused to take responsibility.
The biggest force that would shake the foundations of Activision|Blizzard is the departure of Asmongold, who went to play FFXIV instead. Over the coming months, both streamers and former Blizzard employees began unveiling the truth of how much of an evil video game company Activision|Blizzard actually was. The company’s stocks went down and their projects were halted because senior staff began leaving in protest. Today, the company is at the edge of crashing down on itself.
What makes an Evil Video Game Company?
There are many things that make an evil video game company: corporate greed, discrimination, workplace toxicity, harassment, and overworking employees are a few examples. Activision|Blizzard isn’t the only evil video game company that exists today but they are definitely at the top of the category. While a lot of the major game companies have been called out as being “bad companies” in the past, a lot of them had no lasting effect on their reputations.
Before Activision|Blizzard, EA Games held the throne for being the most evil video game company. They were known to buy smaller game companies who were on the path to success and bastardizing their games once they get a hold on them while slapping an unreasonable price tag. Players hated EA for being such a greedy company. They held the title for years but all of that is nothing compared to a company doing criminal acts towards its own employees.
Is Riot Games an Evil Video Game Company?
Let’s get one thing straight before we go: YES, Riot Games did do some bad stuff and were discovered to discriminate against their employees as well. Riot Games employees came out to expose the toxic work culture in the company. Those REALLY happened and can never be undone and they even still have ongoing lawsuits even today. There are even some complaints and lawsuits against some higher officials in the company about harassment.
However, there is a major difference between Riot Games and Activision|Blizzard. Riot Games actively worked towards improving itself silently, not making extravagant announcements such as applying a “zero-tolerance policy”. Instead, they very slowly diversified their workforce and added more women in higher (and RELEVANT) positions. Given that this, in no way, washes them of their mistakes, Riot Games has displayed that it is willing to make the necessary changes to improve.
While under the pressure of multiple lawsuits, Riot Games also delivered amazing content for the players. The company never forgot that its primary duty as a video game company is to create amazing games and content for the fans. They did so by releasing pieces like K/DA, the cinematics, creating new content such as Teamfight Tactics, Legends of Runeterra, and VALORANT. We’re not saying that you should be grateful or forgive Riot Games for their sins, but they did do extremely well to provide what they’re expected to do.
Riot Games also made major changes in its esports. The VALORANT Game Changers series was a huge step for women in esports. They also provided more representation in their media, doubling down on inclusion by releasing and confirming LGBTQIA+ relationships in Runeterra. Arcane was the final piece that elevated this company to the next level as they gave THEIR community exactly what they wanted. So it makes you think, maybe Riot Games isn’t THAT much of an evil video game company if they’re willing to make the necessary steps to improve it.
Riot Games Relationship with Tencent
Another heated topic about Riot Games is its relationship with Tencent Games. What is Riot’s relationship with Tencent, you ask? Well, Riot Games is 100% owned by Tencent. A lot of people in the community are not fond of Tencent because they are accused of having sketchy practices. However, Tencent doesn’t own only Riot Games, it has majority shares in other major game companies such as Epic Games, Fatshark, Supercell, and some minority stakes with Activision|Blizzard, Ubisoft, Kakao, and Kodakawa Corp.
The fact that Riot Games is 100% owned by Tencent raises a lot of concern for the company but the fact that the staff and management work towards improving their games and the goals of their community means that they are not putting the interest of their parent company first. While there have been some controversies such as the censoring of graphics that are illegal in China and Chinese media getting prioritized in esports events, the majority of products have always leaned towards the global community.
The Community’s Perception on Riot Games
As much as you might hate to hear it, the community simply doesn’t care what Riot Games does as long as they don’t mess up their games. The sad reality is that most gamers only care about one thing – games. Whatever happens outside the game they’re playing is irrelevant. Even though a large group of fans in the community have stood up in protest, they still don’t account for over 10% of the total player base around the world. Of course, that is not to say that their efforts are fruitless or unnoticed.
However, the point is that the players don’t want Riot Games to fail. They don’t want to Riot Games to come crashing down because they’ve discovered that the company has been involved with some shady stuff. In fact, the community wants Riot Games to thrive even more so that they can continue creating wonderful games and continue improving towards the future. To them, Riot Games isn’t this evil video game company. They are a group that’s giving the world what it wants.
There’s nothing wrong with calling out Riot Games for the bad stuff they’re doing but that shouldn’t mean that the protesters should expect Riot Games to drop everything they’re doing until the situation improves. It can also be unreasonable to think that they’ll make improvements immediately since the quality of competent staff shouldn’t conform just because there’s a need for diversity. At least, we know that Riot Games IS listening to the protests and are being more diverse.
Riot Games isn’t the best game company in the world but they are providing what the people want. After all, a game company that cares more about saving its reputation than creating valuable content for the community isn’t a good really a good company. It’s time to start seeing how Riot Games is trying to improve over the years and how it will evolve into an inclusive community where all types of gamers can enjoy themselves regardless of their identity as a person.
Riot Games’ Trajectory as a Company
Fans of Riot Games, as a company, can stay feeling safe that they’ll be relevant on the coming years. With the direction of adding more diversity to their offices and enforcing more socially inclusive rules in the company, Riot Games is on the path to improving itself rather than destroying itself. While they still have outstanding lawsuits, Riot Games is expected to make a full recovery but not without repercussions such as a large fine or a massive change in the structure.
The company will continue creating games that appeal to the modern-age of gaming. This will feature more diversity and representation, which a lot of traditional gamers might not be sold on but Riot Games has been doing it in a way that doesn’t forcefully shove it down the community’s throats. Players will have to accept that this will be the norm in the future and that there will be more characters and content that will feature this kind of ideology.
What will happen if Riot Games gets exposed?
If Riot Games gets exposed as an evil video game company by doing something equivalent to Activision|Blizzard, you can expect that there will be huge amount of damages to the company and League of Legends, in general. However, it might not be as impactful as the people think it will be. This is because League of Legends users comes from a much humbler class of citizens compared to World of Warcraft users who are probably more informed about news and issues relating to video game companies.
League of Legends users don’t really care about the news. If news comes out that a higher-up in Riot Games turns out to be some high-profile criminal that has committed unforgivable sins, about 80% of the playerbase simply wouldn’t care and continue to play the game anyway. The reason being that most of the players don’t have access to western media nor do they relate with the problems that is prominently brought up in the west. The news will most probably pass their ears like the wind and be forgotten just as quickly.
How the Community Can Put Riot Games to a Higher Standard
Riot Games listens to its community, probably more than any other video game company. This is why they have such high ratings in the gaming and esports community since they allow the people to dictate the direction of their games and events. If the community can get enough people to protest against Riot Games, they’ll surely listen and make changes that benefit both the community and themselves. Even though some of you may feel like they are inactive, they definitely move forward in a positive way.
The voices of the people are always a powerful tool that you can use to get your message across. Luckily for Riot Games fans, this is one of the few major video game companies that absolutely adores its community. Even content creators protest against Riot Games and gets heard. You can do this physically or through the internet. If you can reach relevant people such as content creators or Riot Games staff, it will surely reach Riot Games themselves.