Riot Games is owned by the Chinese tech company, Tencent, an ownership situation that has since caused several clashes. League of Legends is Riot’s most popular game and it has a worldwide player base and fanbase. Tencent, however, is forcing Riot Games to implement player monitoring and tracking to ensure that players don’t play the game too much, as this can lead to addiction. Other gaming companies have faced similar restrictions. Recently, internal documents from Riot Games were leaked and they provide more insight into the level of control that Tencent can truly exert over the company.
An email from the Chinese company was sent around Riot Games’ headquarters. It detailed the AAS, or Anti-Addiction System ‘upgrade’ for League of Legends. This email report was written in China in conjunction with growing criticism of the gaming industry from Chinese authorities. The AAS allows for teenage players to be tagged within the system and provide warnings if play time exceeds two hours. If these players continue to play after this time is exceeded, they will be punished with in-game penalties or kicked from the game all together. Riot Games developers had no real choice but to pursue these changes, resulting in a quickly released update.
Riot Games defended their actions, as many activists deemed them unethical. Representatives from the company noted that League of Legends had different developments and updates for different markets – to help the games perform the best in those markets. American games are becoming popular in China, however, game developers that have games in that market have no choice but to abide by these rules. Systems like the one implemented are also becoming commonplace. The Chinese gaming market is currently worth approximately 36.5 billion U.S. dollars. Thus, if companies want to participate in a massively lucrative market, they have no choice but to abide by Chinese rules. To know more about the company click here.