Riot Games Centralizes Wild Rift Operations in Asia With New League
Riot Games announced they will now be centralizing their esports operations for Wild Rift in Asia with their upcoming Asia League in 2023.
— Wild Rift Esports (@WildRiftEsports) November 21, 2022
As per Wild Rift’s official esports blog, Riot’s move to centralize its Wild Rift esports operation in Asia seemed to be influenced by the fact that the region is considered ‘the biggest and most active mobile esports market’ in the world.
“Given the vigorous mobile esports market in Asia and the level of competition in these regions, as showcased at Icons 2022, we’re thrilled to bring interregional level play to the Wild Rift Esports regular season for the first time. The new Wild Rift Asian league will bring the intensity and hype of regional rivalries more regularly to our fans in Asia,” John Needam, President of Esports in Riot Games, stated.
The new Wild Rift Asia League will be Riot’s first cross-regional professional mobile esports league, which is set to replace the original Wild Rift Esports in April of 2023. It will consist of twelve teams from China and eight other teams from the rest of Asia and will feature a season that is divided into two splits.
Unfortunately, as a consequence, this shift to focusing on Asia also meant that Riot will be winding down its respective operations in the rest of the world — which understandably garnered much disappointment from Wild Rift fans from the rest of the world outside of Asia.
Like a stab in the heart 💔
— Christiaan Enwiah (@HellsDevil_) November 21, 2022
Well this is more like you guys! Ohh and anyway good luck on ur court😇 hope yall lose pic.twitter.com/1H6skaOXoT
— Dre (@Voodka07) November 21, 2022
You guys have effectively killed any momentum you had to gain more eyes in the west. Instead of pushing your top stars in NA EU LATAM you’re relying on “big numbers” from Asia? Nice guys I hope mobile legends bang bang continues to beat you in court
— Brock (@_NerfMyDoritos) November 21, 2022
Moreover, the recent announcement had cataclysmic repercussions on the general Wild Rift scene outside Asia (which isn’t anywhere as prosperous and is now left on its own basically). Organizations like TSM even pulled out from the Wild Rift competitive scene just shortly after the announcement.
Hoje anunciamos nossa despedida do cenário de Wild Rift.
Foram 2 anos de batalhas e conquistas, de uma família dentro e fora de jogo. Uma história linda, um capítulo inesquecível da #TSM no Brasil.
Aos nossos jogadores, aos fiéis torcedores e a esta linda comunidade: obrigado. pic.twitter.com/Yd4Pl1qfF4
— TSM Brasil 🇧🇷 🏆 (@TSM_BR) November 21, 2022
With a backlash from the announcement, Leo Faria, who happened to be Riot’s former Wild Rift Esports Director and current Global Head for VALORANT Esports, offered some insight into the situation. According to him, Riot had to be realistic as some regions outside of Asia “need more time”.
I realize these news are disappointing. When we set to build Wild Rift as a sport we went all in, and I hope big moments like Icons made you proud. But we have to be realistic, look at each market individually and do things when the time is right. Some regions need more time. 1/2 https://t.co/8tGTz8dZlh
— Leo Faria (@lhfaria) November 21, 2022
Furthermore, the same announcement also stated that Riot will be opening their doors to third-party tournament organizers to host Wild Rift tournaments as they are set to focus on their Asia League.
As of now, there are not many details regarding the new Wild Rift Asia League but more will be revealed in early 2023.
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