Home Gaming League of Legends doesn’t try hard enough to take your money

League of Legends doesn’t try hard enough to take your money

1 min read


If you’re in the business of playing a MOBA there’s a pretty good chance you’re playing League of Legends. The free-to-play online title which launched before Dota 2 still has a respectable fan base, but one Ubisoft analyst says other studios shouldn’t learn how to make money from Riot Games.

That’s because Teut Weidemann doesn’t believe that Riot try hard enough to make a profit from their game. Weidemann gave a talk at GDC Europe, which took place yesterday. In his speech, Weidemann addressed League of Legends’ monetization scheme and explained that it only works because they have millions and millions of players.

Taking player numbers between 2009 and 2013, Weidemann managed to calculate that League of Legends has a conversion rate of only 3.75%. In other words, only 3.75% of the entire player base actually pays to play, which is extremely low in comparison to other free-to-play titles. World of Tanks for example, sits at around 30%.

What reason could Riot possibly have for such a low conversion rate? According to Weidemann, they simply don’t care.

Riot doesn’t care. Optimizing monetization is not the top priority. They monetize purely through their reach. So it only works because of the large user base, and if you don’t have that user base or don’t expect to, you should not adopt their monetization. It should not be a role model for your monetization system.

It’s important to note that Weidemann approached this from a completely business orientated view. He’s not saying League of Legends is a failure, but rather that the game isn’t focused on making a profit. That’s probably why League of Legends has the fan base that it does, with monetization not really getting in the way of people actually playing.

It’s an interesting perspective, since one industry veteran is advising studios not to adopt a model that is preferred by players. Maybe Riot’s success stems from the fact that profits aren’t their top priority?

Last Updated: August 12, 2014


  1. Compared to Dota where 0% pay to play … Buying cosmetic items are a choice, and have no bearing on your ability to enjoy the game… i.e. how it should be done!


  2. Umar

    August 12, 2014 at 10:04

    No look to EA. If you want to make money. Learn from the best. You’ll learn how to reuse assests while still making a huge profit. How to cut content and sell them as DLC for that extra buck. You’ll also learn how to skillfully release broken games and patch it later as if you’re doing your customers a favor


    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      August 12, 2014 at 10:41

      And yet they make tons of money in spite of that because almost everyone still buys their games. They have no reason to change what works for them.


  3. Jaded_Reprobate

    August 12, 2014 at 10:19

    i couldn’t agree more, Riot are about the players. they are making money, they must be or else they wouldn’t still be in operation.

    personally i think a few more studios should take a note out of Riot’s book.
    obviously making money is part of the business, but i think there is an ethical boundary that studios like EA don’t even know exist


  4. Alien Emperor Trevor

    August 12, 2014 at 10:26

    There has to be a balance between earning direct revenue from your product vs giving a little to your customers that you don’t have to. The latter is what earns you trust & respect from your customers & that (hopefully) pays off later down the line instead of trying to milk everything you can upfront from your cash cows. It’s a different operating philosophy.


  5. Labey-Kun

    August 12, 2014 at 10:30

    League Of Legends is a fair free to play game, since you only need to spend cash if you want to buy a champion without spending Influence Points or if you want to buy a new skin for your champion, small things like that, other then that the game does not cut your gaming experiencing in half if you don’t buy this special package or dlc.


    • Weanerdog

      August 12, 2014 at 14:22

      World of tanks uses a very similar model, they just made a tier system so that for people that try to rush the tiers they would pay for it.


      • Labey-Kun

        August 12, 2014 at 14:33

        Yeah that is also a good example, not like AAA titles that gets made into a full game, gets broken into to pieces and then sold back to you.


        • Weanerdog

          August 12, 2014 at 16:28

          Absolutely, Riot should seriously look into a prem account, where you could gain extra “income” from a monthly fee. Will not break the balance but at least you can buy the champions quicker as an alternative to just buying them once off.


    • Nope nope nope

      August 12, 2014 at 15:02

      LoL isn’t a fair FTP game since every champion is not available to you from the get go. A fair FTP game is where everyone has an equal footing with regards to the heroes they can pick WITHOUT needing to drop a dime.


  6. JASON

    August 12, 2014 at 10:32

    LOL’s revenue was +$600mil in 2013. Yup. They doing it wrong.


  7. Kyratic

    August 12, 2014 at 10:36

    Ubisoft, basically giving Riot a compliment. but riot isnt the only one with a unique business model, only valve could finance the completely free game of dota, as they have enough income sources. I think Riot’s almost free, non money focused is about the best thing gamers can ever hope for from companys that actually have to make money.


  8. Pieter Smal

    August 12, 2014 at 14:54

    EA can learn a lot from them *snickers*


  9. Brirelan Disagrees

    August 18, 2014 at 23:40

    I disagree. Unlocking new heroes with IP is part of what makes LoL fun. The only thing that costs IP that influences the games themselves are runes, and that’s what most people spend their IP on these days anyway. They’re already giving you the game for free, do you want them to unlock all of the content at once, or let you unlock it the fun way?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also

Surprise update for Super Mario Party takes the silliness online

Now you’ll be able to unjustly rob stars from your friends by doing absolutely nothing ove…