Riot Games Responds to Reports About Tense Relationship With Tencent, Declining Numbers

(Photo: Riot Games)

Riot Games has weighed in on reports about declining numbers and the League of Legends creator's sometimes tense relationship with its owner, Tencent Holdings.

A colossal Chinese tech company with stakes in many different games, Tencent acquired a majority of Riot Games' shares in 2011 before fully acquiring the company in 2015. This means that Tencent also owns League of Legends, a game that finds itself among other big names in Tencent's portfolio such as Fortnite and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds.

The relationship between the two companies has grown tense at times, according to a report from The Information. Though the article is locked behind a subscription service, Dot Esports had more information on what's found in the report, saying that The Information goes over the details of Tencent acquiring Riot Games before touching on the parent company's push towards mobile gaming. Tencent reportedly approached Riot Games about turning League of Legends into a mobile game, a proposition that Riot Games declined. Tencent went on to create Honor of Kings, known locally in the West as Arena of Valor, a move that allegedly left some Riot Games employees "stunned" and feeling as though Tencent had ripped them off.

The Information's report would go on to suggest that Tencent's interest in the battle royale games mentioned above has been driven partially by a decline in League of Legends' player numbers and profit, Dot Esports said. Layoffs allegedly ensued within Riot Games alongside company-wide meetings about the direction of Riot Games, but Riot Games co-founder Brandon Beck and CEO Nicolo Laurent stressed to The Information that Riot Games maintained a strong relationship with Tencent.

We reached out to Riot Games for comment on The Information's report and received a statement that confirmed League of Legends "is down from its peak," but said that the relationship with Tencent remains strong despite past tensions. Riot Games also alluded to the new games that it has in the works, something that's been talked about quite a bit recently.

The full statement can be seen below:

"Tencent has believed in us since our early days, and together we've collaborated to bring League of Legends to players around the world. And we're just getting started.

"We love Tencent as a partner, publisher, and owner. There have been times where there were tensions between us—including [Arena of Valor]—but we worked through those. We have an incredibly strong relationship built on collaboration and a shared vision for what we can do for players.

"We always expect players' relationships with League to ebb and flow, like it does with any game. League is down from its peak, but still doing incredibly well by any metric except its own very high watermark. We're excited to bring new games (yes "s") to players soon and have no plans to slow down on League now or ever."