Riot Games, the developer of League of Legends (LoL), League of Legends: Wild Rift, Teamfight Tactics (TFT), VALORANT, and Legends of Runeterra, is making a big move that will change the LoL experience in Southeast Asia.
On Wednesday (9 November), the LoL developer announced that it will take over the publishing of LoL and TFT in Southeast Asia in January 2023, which was previously handled by Garena in the region.
This means Riot will now have five self-published products in the region, including VALORANT, League of Legends: Wild Rift, and Legends of Runeterra.
On top of this, Riot has decided to designate Taiwan Mobile as the new LoL and TFT publisher in Taiwan and VNGGames as the new TFT publisher in Vietnam. These regions, too, were previously published under Garena, the digital arm of Sea.
This move is Riot’s attempt to make players' experience in both games smoother while removing the silo that the region was in for more than a decade and including them in the global community.
According to Alex Kraynov, Managing Director for APAC, Riot Games, this was included in the company’s plan to expand in the Asia Pacific.
Riot is currently establishing regional hubs in the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia to strengthen its native presence and enhance its hyper-localisation to players in-market.
“As we further our focus on being the most player-focused game company in the world, we are excited to bring our players immersive and meaningful experiences, both in and out of the game. We are looking forward to seeing our players benefit from a unified Riot ecosystem and look forward to writing the next chapter with them,” said Kraynov.
This will hopefully make infrastructure, customer service, community support, and localisation much better for the Southeast Asian region, with the ultimate goal of delivering the best player experience.
What will change?
Beginning January 2023, LoL Garena accounts will be deactivated. However, players will be asked to migrate to Riot accounts starting 18 November to ensure a smooth transfer.
Players can use the Riot multigame client to play LoL and TFT, downloadable from www.riotgames.com.
Kraynov said that ping and potential packet loss would be significantly lower, and Riot aims to make games run as smoothly as other regions globally.
APIs for helpful websites such as op.gg will be opened to the SEA region, allowing players real-time access to statistics, builds, and champion performance and trends. On top of this, TFT will be available on Android and iOS devices.
Player information, champions, icons, and items won’t be deleted, but instead, migration from Garena to Riot Accounts will happen in the coming weeks.
He also confirmed that as a celebration of this migration, beginning January 2023, LoL players in SEA will get the chance to own all champions by completing a set of missions.
Once the publishing transition between the two companies is complete, players can expect a suite of exciting welcome events and rewards, access to regional Riot publishing services such as localisation, billing, and player support, as well as local marketing activities and the continued publication of LoL esports.
In the long run, players can look forward to greater in-game content integration, exciting in-game campaigns, and cross-franchise campaigns. Support for community tournaments will also eventually be better.
Account Migration: Next steps
To guarantee a smooth transition for players and the retention of their existing data. Riot and Garena are collaborating on the account linking process, which will be available to everyone on 18 Nov.
Players can visit the Account Migration Microsite for a full tutorial on account migration and a list of FAQs.
Players are urged to migrate their accounts to Riot as soon as possible to avoid disruptions. Early account movers will also be eligible for various exciting in-game benefits.
Any information voluntarily shared with Garena will not be transferred.
LoL History with Garena
Riot awarded the publishing rights to Garena, a major worldwide online games developer and publisher, for LoL's first launch in SEA back in 2010. Garena has taken LoL and TFT to new heights, celebrating the game's tenth anniversary in 2019.
Riot Games has since launched and self-published new game titles with corresponding esports leagues, such as VALORANT and the VALORANT Champions Tour, League of Legends: Wild Rift and Wild Rift esports, and has also expanded its entertainment offerings with new EPs from virtual bands K/DA and Pentakill under Riot Games Music, as well as the release of animated series Arcane.
"We are grateful for Garena’s partnership and publishing support over the past decade,” Kraynov said. “Their efforts have built an incredible community of LoL and TFT players across SEA, and the games’ success would have been impossible without them.”
Players in the region have been complaining about Garena’s lack of security which resulted in the spread of a virus in LoL PC players in Taiwan in 2018, the installation of malware to mine bitcoins, and other questionable practices in the past.
Some complain that the required Garena client bogged down their PC’s overall performance. Several petitions on change.org to cancel the Garena partnership were submitted.
When asked why Riot made this decision nearly ten years after players requested this move, Kraynov mentioned to Yahoo Southeast Asia that Riot had only one game in their portfolio for quite some time. With the expansion of Riot to five games, with more on the way, it would only make sense to take all players directly under their wing.
“We were listening to the players. This decision has been more than ten years in the making, with plans of establishing offices in the APAC region,” said Kraynov in an exclusive interview.
He also said that the launch of VALORANT as a self-published game "was received well by players in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines".
This was when Riot knew it was “the right time to own the publishing of League and TFT” in SEA.
“We would like to thank Riot and the League of Legends and Teamfight Tactics communities for their tremendous support and partnership in growing both games to the successes they are today in Southeast Asia and Taiwan,” said Kevin Huang, Regional Producer of League of Legends, Garena.
“We are honoured to have worked together with Riot over the past decade to create the best possible experiences for players, and wish the team every success in this next chapter.”
Garena publishing services will end in January 2023.
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.