Leaked portions of a League of Legends professional LCS player's contract have led to some startling revelations, as reported by OnGamers. Players in Riot Games' professional eSports league are contractually obligated not to livestream dozens of games.
The anti-competitive clause's bans fall into several categories: online betting/gambling sites, MOBAs, popular eSports games and Blizzard games. That list includes:
- Gambling Sites: Full Tilt, TopBet, Pokerstars, Sportsbook, BetOnline, Winpalace Casino, Bet365 and any site that aids or abets the wagering of funds on a sporting/esporting event and many more
- MOBAs: Dota 2, Heroes of Newerth, Guardians of Middle Earth, Infinite Crisis, Rise of Immortals, Dawngate, Realm of the Titans, Sins of a Dark Age, Demigod
- MOBA-likes: Awesomenauts, Smite, Fat Princess, Solstice Arena, Monday Night Combat, Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes, Bloodline Champions, Land of Chaos Online, Crasher, Warlocks
- eSports: World of Tanks, World of Warplanes
- Blizzard Games: All games in the Diablo, StarCraft, WarCraft, World of Warcraft and Hearthstone franchises
As should be apparent, Riot Games has banned its professional League players from livestreaming not only some of the biggest and most popular video games online, but also several smaller, struggling games. While banning gambling sites should be obvious, considering the environment Riot would like to have for its sport, banning the other games is hard to view in a positive light.
Considering League of Legends is both one of the most popular games in the world , one of the most popular eSports in the world, and certainly the most livestreamed video game in the world, these contracts look astonishingly over-restrictive, anti-competitive and disappointing in the extreme.
Certainly a company like Riot Games, who claims to be a supporter of eSports in the broadest of terms, understands the meaning of being a leader. Each of these LCS players, they're not just League of Legends players, they're ambassadors of eSports and gaming. Each time of them livestreams they share their gaming experiences with thousands of gamers, growing and uniting communities. Banning games outright does the opposite, it creates barriers and divides our community. I believe Riot is working against their own interests here; I believe Riot is working against the interests of the gaming community.
That said, I highly doubt Riot Games will change the policy, let alone address it in a public setting. For all of the community interaction they feign, very little interferes with the bureaucracy of their eSports administration. That doesn't change the fact that these contractual clauses are inhibitive to the goals of our community, and yes, the goals of Riot themselves. I don't think I'll be forgetting that the next time I'm deciding what streams I'll be watching.