COMMENT: Riot doesn’t need Microsoft Game Pass to expand or retain its player base

·3 min read
Riot Games coming to the XBOX Game Pass may save players lots of money. (Photo: Riot Games)
Riot Games coming to the XBOX Game Pass may save players lots of money. (Photo: Riot Games)

It’s been almost a month since Riot Games announced its partnership with Microsoft and XBOX Game Pass.

The developer of League of Legends, League of Legends: Wild Rift, VALORANT, Legends of Runeterra, and more said that all their titles will be available through the Microsoft Game Pass sometime in Winter, or early next year.

As a player of some of their games for a while now, and a Microsoft/XBOX subscriber myself, I’ve had mixed feelings about this.

While it may potentially save me hundreds of dollars of content, I’m not very keen on playing something like Teamfight Tactics (sorry, they’re really cute and the gameplay may be nice for others, but it’s really not my thing).

On top of that, it takes the fun away from champion collectors who grind their way to get enough in-game credits to buy new champions.

If everyone purchases the game pass, then won’t the in-game credits be obsolete, eventually?

Also, if I have all the champions already, what good does it do for me?

How do they plan to reward older players who spent thousands of hours in the game to grind their way through the champion/agent roster?

There are still too many questions unanswered. But if Riot wants to widen their player base, the Microsoft Game Pass might be a good tactic now, but it won't be in the long-term.

For a newer game like VALORANT, this feels a bit unfair to pioneer players who went through a grueling grind to get some of their champions, especially if they are strictly F2P (free-to-play) players.

As for its oldest game, League of Legends, it’s not just access to all 180+ champions that would attract new players and retain older ones.

The devs have been hard at work to improve the champions and balance the game, but the learning curve of the game is quite high for newbies.

With so many champions, items and runes, a newbie might feel overwhelmed, especially if they encounter smurfers who already know their way up.

If Riot sticks to this plan, they should find ways to ease new players in and retain their existing players.

And they really should do something about the Garena partnership in Southeast Asia, because it’s one of the deterrents of the game.

The same goes for its mobile version, League of Legends: Wild Rift.

It’s not access to champions that would attract the mobile MOBA market, which is stronger in Southeast Asia and the Latin American region.

Rather, it’s the amount of time spent matchmaking (queue time has improved compared to last year) and finishing the match — which compared to its competitors, is a bit longer.

Hopefully, Riot figures out all the kinks and the follow-up plan soon before the Game Pass deal comes out.

Otherwise, they might miss the opportunity to maximize the benefits of this partnership.

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.

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