League of Legends dev Riot Games president says company is not "money hungry"

Riot Games president Marc Merrill says "Greedy how? You do not have to spend money; it is completely opt-in."

Riot Games president and cofounder Marc Merrill has spoken out to defend his company against accusations of greed concerning the hugely popular free-to-play game League of Legends. Writing on Reddit in a thread where users complained about the lack of a new client for League of Legends Season 4, Merrill denied that Riot is "money hungry."

"It's pretty frustrating when people try to position us as greedy," Merrill started off. "Millions upon millions of our players spend zero dollars on league and enjoy it endlessly. We're COMPLETELY OK with this. Greedy how? You do not have to spend money, it is completely opt-in."

Merrill further claims that League of Legends is in fact a tremendous deal when looking at the "entertainment-per-hour" factor that the game affords. "If you compare the price of League of Legends entertainment per hour to every other form of media, we're the lowest around."

Another example that proves Riot is not a greedy company, Merrill said, comes down to the company's investment in the burgeoning eSports scene.

"We spend tens of millions of dollars building a pro-esports scene to help some of our best players become global superstars who make hundreds of thousands of dollars," he said.

Furthermore, Merrill said that executives at Riot Games are gamers through and through.

"We play the sh** out of League of Legends. When servers go down, we flip out. When we don't deliver on something we promised, we flip out (Magma chamber where?) and change the world internally," he said. "When we overreach on legal language with eSports contracts to prevent competitors from paying our pros to promote their games, we acknowledge the error and change it immediately."

Merrill also said that most game companies focus on metrics like average revenue per user (ARPU), but Riot Games does the opposite. "We train our entire company to drive towards engagement," he said. "Meaning, make cool sh** and deliver value. And if people play enough because they love what we do, then they will want to spend money."

Merrill ended his note by emphatically disagreeing that Riot places a desire for money ahead of an ambition to make great games.

"So, no offense--but I completely disagree with your greed accusation and yes, it pisses me off because I've spent the last 8 years of my life building this company, game and team to deliver great value and to treat players well," he said.

"So, thanks for the additional reminder we need to do better at explaining who we are. But f**k me if I don't allow a little emotion to slip in when the takeaway is so utterly wrong for who we are as a company."

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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173 comments
KSenju Effect
KSenju Effect

it doesn't hinder you from any game experience which is fine, yes it's expensive, but it's purely cosmetic, so you'll think twice, will you take it or not? it's not like you should or have to collect all skins anyway

pupp3t_mast3r
pupp3t_mast3r

Probably going to get a lot of rage for this but worth pointing out that Dota 2 gives you access to all the heroes completely free. So in comparison to one of the leading moba games out there it's not too hard to look like you're being greedy. That said it's no worse than most F2P games out there.

shadowblades_86
shadowblades_86

"So, no offense--but I completely disagree with your greed accusation and yes, it pisses me off because I've spent the last 8 years of my life building this company, game and team to deliver great value and to treat players well," he said. 


8 years? xD you make me laugh kid, I know a man who borrowed 15,000 dollars from his grandmother and used only 5,000 to invested in his company. and he started the place in his house. now he is a billionaire go by the name of Michael Morhaime. and Not Brandon Beck or this puppet Marc, You know why? because they steal other people's content or designs and make into shit. You're LoL client is not updated, you have numerous lag, the client resets or bug splats. how long are you gonna take this? and you wanna talk about 8 years? please Silicon & Synapse was found 91, so please lets not go there. it does not matter if you make millions what matters is LISTENING to the fans and understand their point of views and understand they are suffering from this mickey mouse bullshit. 

pdubbs34
pdubbs34

I'm still wondering why they haven't updated the client. The out of game client is the buggiest client i have ever used. Greedy? No they aren't really that greedy, just doing what all companies do I just don't want super bugs out side of the game.

lostn
lostn

I like this guy's style.

alfredogun
alfredogun

It's not pay to win. It's pay to look nice. Doesn't make Riot greedy. Just makes you a narcissist

Aliff Alfiry
Aliff Alfiry

Microsoft shafting players with Forza 5 DLC cars, now that's what I call pure greed

Luis Gil
Luis Gil

I don't necessarily like League Of Legends, its an okay game but seriously 205 Points per including the first match of the day. And getting a maximum of 125 P when winning a match ? And champions cost about 7500 P to unlock are you freaking serious ?! Ive played smite and they give you double the amount the give you for winning or losing the game in 5 matches i had enough to buy myself a new and recently released god !

Reza Armstrong
Reza Armstrong

But if you do want to pay for the "optional" stuff you have to pay ridiculous prices for virtual items that have zero return in real life and after the company shuts down you'll lose it all. Oh and if you then want to buy gifts for your friends you can't use the money you already spent you are forced to pay for more RP just so you can gift an item. Free to play is a ploy, a way to manipulate humans into feeling comfortable and then using marketing schemes to make you pay through the teeth for things, They're a company out to make money after all not to feed the hungry or something like that.

Reza Armstrong
Reza Armstrong

Just because you have money to piss into the rain Jarrod and don't understand the value of it doesn't make you the only one with the correct opinion.

Reza Armstrong
Reza Armstrong

Hah good luck with that, Charging millions ridiculous prices for textures that once the company shuts down will be meaningless and un-useable. Especially in a time of economic trouble.

James Clayton
James Clayton

And yet SEGA is as greedy as they get, and nobody bats an eye

Egils3270
Egils3270

My only complain is price of transferring, i spend 20 Euros to play with my friends again, because I thought it would be free feature. I had written few complains to them, but they just replied that ''they can't refund nothing and its my own mistake''. 

Ryan Sookram
Ryan Sookram

lol because who needs facts and common sense and even if it was made by Bethesda how is that greedy to make an mmo? because they half ass games and they are never worth the money right? gtfo kid

Jarrod Buckard
Jarrod Buckard

besides, riot isn't a charity. they're in the business to make money. Why do you work? to make money? does that class you as greedy? Supermarkets don't let you take whatever you want for free, with the option to pay money to get through the checkout faster. Focus on them.

nickpeck36
nickpeck36

Everyone thinks everything should be free.  I really wish Dev's would tell people to "F" themselves and pay for everything.  Sure there would be a lull period where the butthurt people don't spend any money.... until they get bored and do it anyways.  I hate people today, so many whining losers out there.  Playing video games is a luxury, enjoy what you have and shut up already.

Jarrod Buckard
Jarrod Buckard

if they were greedy they'd make you pay to play, simple as that

Jarrod Buckard
Jarrod Buckard

funnel you into the option.. lol you've got an option from the start

Tanner Alvarez
Tanner Alvarez

Still not greedy though. The prices for new champions... Just a little.

Tanner Alvarez
Tanner Alvarez

Nice counter-argument there. They DO have a way of funneling you into the option of paying for the game. If you want new champions, the better option is going to be RP. They've made it that way. Quints cost over 1k IP. Over 1k? For a single quint? That's not a money sink?

Gouthama Kumar
Gouthama Kumar

Ok, you guys know what? Riot isn't really greedy. Nexon is the greediest

Daniel Courtney
Daniel Courtney

Fool... The same is saying you're not fat whilst many others disagree, denial is a powerful thing

Kevin M Zheng
Kevin M Zheng

The Elder Scrolls Online is not even being made by Bethesda.

Fábio Sosnoski
Fábio Sosnoski

who will espend money to buy skins or stupid icons??? surelly not me... skins and icons dont make anyone a good player, so theres no reason to waste a coin with this game.

Ali 'Raven' Adam
Ali 'Raven' Adam

@Andrew you have 2 rune pages, If you need a third one means you're playing a lot and your champion pool is big.

Sebastian Ramsauer
Sebastian Ramsauer

who would write something like that u can say a lot about gaming Comps., but riot is not greedy at all i play this game since 2009 and spent about 180€ in RP and that's okay because i love too get a new skins for my fav. Champs. it is 2014 now, so i play a game over a 1,5k hours in the last 4 years and spent 3,75€ a month on LoL. and Andrew you can get a runepage for the price of one new champ

Jaxith
Jaxith

It seems to me that it's perfectly fair for him to be at least a little upset.  LoL has a perfectly fair business model, and I can't fault them for it.  Me personally though, my issue is that they (nearly) completely abandoned the lore when they realized they had a leading e-sport on their hands.  Updating the character bios every once in awhile is no consolation for what they lost, and they're making more money now than ever, so it can't even be claimed they can't afford writers.

The lore was a big deal for me when I started playing.  I was really impressed with the dedication to the world and meta-story, but years pass and I've come to realize that Riot doesn't really care about people like me anymore.  This guy's quotes say it all.  They care about their precious pro-esport players.  Apparently, there's no more room for anyone else.

At one time, LoL was pretty much the only MOBA with a dedication to advancing and developing the game's meta-story.  Even if it didn't affect gameplay, it was a huge thing to distinguish it from the crowd.  Now that they're on top, they abandoned this feature.  Now there aren't any MOBAs with that sort of dedication to the story, and that's what really makes me move away from Riot.  Basically, I guess I'm just a little bitter about it.

TheAbyssalOne
TheAbyssalOne

This comic describes Riot perfectly: http://www.8bitgamer.com/comic/league-legends-bitter-bots/


This is the company that can't hire actual adults to do tribunal so they have the 10 year olds that play their game do it. Instead of implementing an ignore feature like other companies do they banned hundreds of players who had invested thousands of dollars in the game.


Furthermore, they never playtest their new champions. I've played the game too long before realizing the pattern, new champions would throw off the whole balance of ranking system until they were patched. Any smart developers understand their own game. I can't wait till this game dies.

tightwad34
tightwad34

Lol at LoL for having the exact same much used reference lol. Now I should lol at whoever brought up this garbage.

Erik Robles
Erik Robles

On the issue of the heroes, on the one hand yes, it seems weird that they only have a few F2P characters a week (or however long it takes to rotate them.) However, their justification for this is pretty much to help with new players (such as myself). They post a variety of easy to handle and differently played characters, so that a new player can try a small sample, and see how they play. With the IP points they earn by playing the game, they can then permanently unlock them. This seems fair and if there's a particular character you really like after playing, you can just unlock them. If the risk of buying a character you've never tried (but really want to play with) and find out they suck bothers you, well.. that's personal preference. They're being accessible to everyone, not just a niche group.

Juan Molina
Juan Molina

How is Riot greedy? Their game is FREE!! Spending any money for anything in the game is Optional.

Juan Molina
Juan Molina

Even though I like both games, I gotta give this one to league. It's much more fun imo

joey2010
joey2010

Free to PLAY just has to go AWAY fool, ya fool - Killer bee

berserker66666
berserker66666

For a second I read like "most game companies focus on Mattick like average revenue per user"...you know, Don Mattrick.....

Daniel McCann
Daniel McCann

I heard that Microsoft did something with forza motorsports 5 that you after pay £40 just for a little piece of dlc car pack

Jake Zehr
Jake Zehr

And Ernesto.... all I can say is you're an idiot. Shut up.

kilojs
kilojs

@pupp3t_mast3r Well, Valve has Steam and just better looking graphics. Riot Games have just League of Legends and any generous offers anyone has, including their parent company Tencent.

Comparing the two free to play systems. It's understandable.

lostn
lostn

@alfredogunIt is a little bit pay to win, indirectly.


You can buy IP boosts and XP boosts which allow you to level faster and unlock things faster. Also by buying champions, you get them faster than other people and save your IP to buy runes, which ARE power. So while you can't buy runes directly, you can buy champs, saving you IP which can then be used on runes. Other people who don't pay have to choose between runes or champions. 


If you don't pay up, unlocking champs is still possible but it takes a lot longer. There are a lot of champs in the game (over 100). So if you've never had exposure to them, you might get owned when you run into someone who has a champ you've never played before and not know what to expect.


I think their model is quite fair, I just wish the IP prices for champions wasn't so expensive, or if you get more IP per game. It takes about 40 hours of gameplay to unlock a champ. How many years do you think it will take to unlock them all?

AnimeFreaks
AnimeFreaks

@nickpeck36well in contrast I really wish all the players would tell the Dev's to "F" themselves and stop playing and paying all together. Sure they would have to find something else to do but that is actually really good. Maybe then the Devs will understand that they have to be more responsible and make games that are actually good and works properly. Too many games are just designed to drag it out as long as possible and suck as much money as possible.


Making a game free to play with paying options doesnt automatically make you not greedy. You are greedy when you do not spend the required effort to make a good working game and when you try to suck money with inferior content and quality.



kilojs
kilojs

Buying stuff can help you become a good player but it doesn't make anyone better from the get go.
All money does is give people an advantage. Runes do that in League, so I don't know what you're on about.

MrStygian
MrStygian

@Jaxith If you like lore and Mobas, go to DotA 2. At least the characters interact based on their lore.

kilojs
kilojs

@TheAbyssalOne Actually, they have learned to not do this. After Yasuo's stupid release champions like Azir and Gnar didn't and still don't throw the balance off the game. 
I hope Riot Games don't die.

kilojs
kilojs

@MrStygian @Jaxith Dude, Dota 2's voice acting script is so cheesy it almost makes me want to cut myself.

SandKing: "I will not sand for this."

Seriously, they could have done much much better. Lore could be developed much more, I do like the wolf camp interaction when you use Domination on a Wolf as Lycanthrope, that is what should be in that more. 
Lore is very basic. Not even comparable to the Journal of Justice.

joey2010
joey2010

@tightwad34 @joey2010 Nah. It's the killer Bee in Naruto series. Funny guy.