During the recent Golden State Warriors versus Toronto Raptors NBA game at Chase Center, San Francisco, California, Golden State Warriors and Riot Games announced that Chase Center would be hosting the 2022 League of Legends World Championship Finals event, while Toronto, Ontario, Canada would be the host city for the semi-finals event. Additionally, John Needham, the new President of Sports at Riot Games overseeing the League of Legends and VALORANT Champions Tour global international events, sent out League of Legends t-shirts into the stadium while the cinematic trailer for the return of the League of Legends World Championship played.
It's raining LoL Esports merch ☂️ pic.twitter.com/um9fA3gvoJ
— LoL Esports (@lolesports) November 22, 2021
While the news regarding the return of one of the world’s biggest e-Sports tournaments gained a lot of attention from the audience, John Needham also gave some worthy insight into the future of Riot Games. In a brief interview with TechCrunch, he stated that the company has expressed some interest in the NFT market and is “analyzing” that.
“We have a lot of partners who want to do NFTs with us that we’re analyzing right now, but there isn’t an NFT or blockchain strategy for us to talk about yet. Collectibles just haven’t been a big part of esports, not like traditional sports,” he said. “I want to see the NFT market mature a bit more before we dive in from an esports perspective.”
NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are blockchain-based tokens used to monitor the authorisation of digital assets. In video games, these assets can be in-game cosmetics. As of recent, NFTs have become very common among blockchain enthusiasts and digital creators, and companies are starting to jump on the bandwagon.
At the start of this month, Andrew Wilson, the CEO of Electronic Arts, expressed his interest in the technology by calling NFTs “the future of our industry.” In one of the company’s earnings calls, Yves Guillemot, the CEO of Ubisoft, also called NFTs “very attractive for the long term.” So, it’s clear that many companies are now moving towards NFTs. However, it’s uncertain when Riot Games plans on making the change, too.
Unlike Valve Corporation, Riot Games doesn’t have a trading market for in-game cosmetics and assets, so it’d be remarkable to see a similar feature for players to trade their in-game cosmetics with others in League of Legends and VALORANT, as is the case with DOTA 2 and CS:GO. However, there is still an ongoing debate regarding the functionality of NFTs within e-Sports and what they mean for the future of the industry.
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