Awesomenauts, Heroes of Newerth Studios Speak Out Against LCS

Awesomenauts, Heroes of Newerth Studios Speak Out Against LCS

League of Legends logo

Romino and S2 Games say Riot's refusal to allow LCS players to stream other games during the season is "unsportsmanlike" and "anti-competitive."

It was revealed earlier this week that the contract for the upcoming fourth League of Legends Championship Series forbids any streaming of other games by LCS players during the season, including Dota 2, StarCraft, Hearthstone, Heroes of Newerth, Awesomenauts and a slew of others. While several studios whose games are affected by the restrictions have declined to comment on the matter, Awesomenauts co-creator Jasper Koning told onGamers that Romino Games is "disappointed to see Riot impose restrictions on the spare time of it's LoL Championship Series players."

"It's understandable Riot as a company wants to protect its interests, but the way they're doing it now is decidedly unsportsmanlike, anti-competitive and it sets a bad precedent," he said. "It could mean that future professional eSports athletes would have to ally themselves to a single company to be able to compete. This kind of segmentation goes against the efforts to professionalize the eSports scene as a whole. On top of that, as a developer paying gamers to publicly only play your game actually reduces the validity of their competitive efforts and turns it into a marketing tool."

Koning also expressed concern that by "stifling the gamers' ability to entertain," the LCS restrictions will inevitably shrink the eSports audience rather than grow it.

Marc DeForest of Heroes of Newerth studio S2 Games also criticized the new LCS contract. "We view eSports differently - it is a platform for competition, growth, and the collective celebration of videogaming passion," he said. "We do not view it as a leveraging tool for anti-competitive and monopolistic practices. S2 Games will continue to support the eSports idea as a whole, not just our own specific interests in it."

There was initially some question about whether the new contract actually forbids streaming of other games or just "advertising" for them, but Riot confirmed with onGamers that the restrictions are as they appear. In a post on Reddit, Riot Games Director of eSports Whalen Rozelle said that while there may be some differences of opinion, LCS players are "professionals contracted to a professional sports league. When they're streaming to 50,000 fans, they're also representing the sport itself."

"I can't stress enough how these guys in the LCS are on the road to being real, legitimate athletes. This is new territory for a lot of teams (especially in esports), because the transition goes from being a group of talented individuals to being real icons of a sport and a league," Rozelle wrote. "Similarly, you probably wouldn't see an NFL player promoting Arena Football or a Nike-sponsored player wearing Reebok on camera. Pro players are free to play whatever games they want - we're simply asking them to keep in mind that, on-stream, they're the face of competitive League of Legends."

Source: onGamers

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Andy Chalk:

This kind of segmentation goes against the efforts to professionalize the eSports scene as a whole.

actually this is the kind of thing that does professionalize esports, this is what normal sports does. See this why I hate it when people says they look forward to the esports growing and becoming more professional. The more professional it gets the more it loses its personality and the more BS will keep piling on the esport scene.

Riot is an unsympathetic company for me personally. Disguised anti-Dota 2 marketing quite a while back. Tried to control some tournament organizations. Now this. Seems like they try to hit their competition at every chance they get. Still the best reaction to it is to not make the same mistakes, deliver a better experience and not care to much about them. In the end players have to decide which game(s) they support and love.

Huh, I hadn't heard of this decision until now, and I've got to say, I think that's quite unfair. League of Legends isn't a team or a brand, it's an entire game, and Mr.Rozelle's comparison to people sponsored by Nike brandishing Reebok gear is just false equivalency. A better example would be chastising a golfer because he also happens to play professional baseball, and that really doesn't make much sense to me.

I wouldn't mind as long as the players are getting large sums of money for this privilege, if they're going to extend that analogy

Problem with Riot is that they want to bring in a traditional form of competition in a non-traditional industry... It's going to backfire. They've got to realize that while there is a room for a rivalry amongst games of the same genre, there's no room to make it one where someone can get barred from play when playing or mentioning other competitors.

I honestly think the tobacco ban is worse.
The players hopefully read the contract before signing it, so I see no issue with this. If they had a legitimate beef, they could go through their team and demand better circumstances.

As it stands, the players have just as much responsibility of forming e-sports.

Smilomaniac:
I honestly think the tobacco ban is worse.
The players hopefully read the contract before signing it, so I see no issue with this. If they had a legitimate beef, they could go through their team and demand better circumstances.

As it stands, the players have just as much responsibility of forming e-sports.

I agree, it might not seem like it but this goes further than the current Pro players and teams. This could become a standard in the industry for the future of e-sports as we know it and I don't like it one bit.

So wait... during the season those in it can't stream any other games? huh... what does which games they stream have to do with LoL? My suggestion, viewers boycott the LCS as in, do not watch any streams concerning it.

Seriously, even in regular sports this sort of thing doesn't happen.

Yeah its weird they are not allowed to play games that are not like League at all. We know Charles Barkley plays golf (poorly) but its not like us as viewers go "Hey lets not play basket ball! Sir Charles is playing golf!"

BigTuk:
So wait... during the season those in it can't stream any other games? huh... what does which games they stream have to do with LoL? My suggestion, viewers boycott the LCS as in, do not watch any streams concerning it.

Seriously, even in regular sports this sort of thing doesn't happen.

It's worse then that, at the higher levels in LOL it can take 20+ min to get into a game so up til now what most players have done during the down time is play another game which is great because it keeps people watching which means more ad revenue for the streamer. Now they can't really do anything and their viewership could take a big hit as a result. They could start playing games that aren't on the list but most of them would have to single player/noncompetitive games and that probably won't hold the audience as well

Of all people, I would have expected the guys behind Awesomenauts to be able to actually read/ The contract doesn't bar players from playing said games, it bans them from ADVERTISING them on the same stream they are playing LoL. Which means you can't play a round of X game while in queue for streamers, which only realistically effects Hearthstone, because that was the whole reason this happened. Blizzard pulled a kinda brilliant marketing stunt where the first salvo of Hearthstone beta keys were given only to prominent streamers to get viral attention for it.

Again, Riot has already stated on their forums this doesn't bar them from playing games, they just aren't allowed to stream them at the same time they've been playing LoL. If Dyrus wanted to play Fat Princess on stream, he can start up a stream just for that, end the stream, then wait a bit and go back to streaming LoL a bit later.

Orange12345:

It's worse then that, at the higher levels in LOL it can take 20+ min to get into a game so up til now what most players have done during the down time is play another game which is great because it keeps people watching which means more ad revenue for the streamer. Now they can't really do anything and their viewership could take a big hit as a result. They could start playing games that aren't on the list but most of them would have to single player/noncompetitive games and that probably won't hold the audience as well

This already going on, and the games on the list are all too long to fit in between queues. Most streamers either play MMOs they can drop in and out of (Bjergsen and Dragonnest recently), or single player affairs (OddOne's Civ 5 or Dyrus's The Last Remnant).

The really disturbing part is the LCS players don't even mind, many have stated on stream already. I know TheOddOne and Bjergsen have both said on stream they don't care as it doesn't even effect them, and shouldn't effect most LCS players. As I've said, this is almost entirely Riot stepping in to stop another Hearthstone beta trick.

And yes, I'm totally a TSM fangirl, why my examples are all from them.

Drejer43:

Andy Chalk:

This kind of segmentation goes against the efforts to professionalize the eSports scene as a whole.

actually this is the kind of thing that does professionalize esports, this is what normal sports does. See this why I hate it when people says they look forward to the esports growing and becoming more professional. The more professional it gets the more it loses its personality and the more BS will keep piling on the esport scene.

Except, normal sports don't have the same circumstances at all. I haven't heard of professional sports players spending any of their time streaming as they practice, for example. It's something quite unique to e-sports, and this contract can hurt that quite a lot.

The issue with the contract is LoL streamers have been streaming other games inbetween searching for a game. This downtime can get quite long, so to fill time you'll find players streaming other games, ones they can play quickly and with little loss if they need to switch over immediately. Hearthstone has been a popular choice I believe. Eliminating this downtime playing does nothing for the players or streamers, and is merely a way for Riot to screw over other companies. That's not something to be celebrated I'd think.

Andy Chalk:
In a post on Reddit, Riot Games Director of eSports Whalen Rozelle said that while there may be some differences of opinion, LCS players are "professionals contracted to a professional sports league. When they're streaming to 50,000 fans, they're also representing the sport itself."

"I can't stress enough how these guys in the LCS are on the road to being real, legitimate athletes. This is new territory for a lot of teams (especially in esports), because the transition goes from being a group of talented individuals to being real icons of a sport and a league," Rozelle wrote. "Similarly, you probably wouldn't see an NFL player promoting Arena Football or a Nike-sponsored player wearing Reebok on camera. Pro players are free to play whatever games they want - we're simply asking them to keep in mind that, on-stream, they're the face of competitive League of Legends."

Yeah, because I'm so fucking excited for esports to become more and more like the consumerist disgrace of athletic sports instead of using the opportunity of being an up and coming sport to set a new precedent of behavior instead.

funksobeefy:
Yeah its weird they are not allowed to play games that are not like League at all. We know Charles Barkley plays golf (poorly) but its not like us as viewers go "Hey lets not play basket ball! Sir Charles is playing golf!"

They're allowed to play them, just not stream them.

I'm tired of all the constant references to athletic sports in this discussion. For one thing, while pro athletes may not wear the team colours of another team, they are allowed to publicly play other sports. THAT is the appropriate analogy for this circumstance, and likening streaming Hearthstone in their down time as 'Advertising for another sports team' is ludicrous to me.

However there is a more important point. Professional athletes are on million dollar contracts; this is in part to compensate for the fact that after 20 or so years they are physically unable to play at the high standard expected of them and have to retire. While the contracts of E-sports players are not nearly as public, recently Speed Gaming Int. (one of the better Western pro-Dota 2 teams) publicly released the contracts of 2 of their players when their contracts were renewed. These contracts revealed that these players were being paid less than a full time minimum wage job (looking at their salary). Assuming that these contracts are relatively standard in the E-sports world (which admittedly I have no evidence for or against), we can clearly get the picture that pro-gamers are not paid enough to live off what they earn after they leave the pro scene, unlike pro-athletes. If pro-gamers are not getting a proper salary from the people they're playing for, they should fully have the right to make money streaming whatever they want to stream.

So let me get this straight:

People complain about "e-sports" not being treated like real ESPN level sports.

Riot pulls stunt that amounts to what real ESPN level sports already do to get the respect of real sports. People complain.

Companies still won't do anything about the players making threats towards newcomers, which in turn loses them money.

And people wonder why I hate online play.

I'm a bit confused by the posts saying this is how real sports go.

Admittedly I don't really follow sports much at all but from what I see it happens all the time that you've got clubs sponsored by brand A ( say Puma ) competing in national tournaments sponsored by brand B ( say Nike ) and later international by brand C ( say Adidas ). I mean I know that exact situation is happening with at least one of our national clubs.

Isn't that the normal mode for professional sports? You get as many sponsors as you've got room for on your shirt? And then compete in as many tournaments as big as possible, regardless of whom they're sponsored by, to get as much exposure as possible for those sponsors?

Hagi:
I'm a bit confused by the posts saying this is how real sports go.

Admittedly I don't really follow sports much at all but from what I see it happens all the time that you've got clubs sponsored by brand A ( say Puma ) competing in national tournaments sponsored by brand B ( say Nike ) and later international by brand C ( say Adidas ). I mean I know that exact situation is happening with at least one of our national clubs.

Isn't that the normal mode for professional sports? You get as many sponsors as you've got room for on your shirt? And then compete in as many tournaments as big as possible, regardless of whom they're sponsored by, to get as much exposure as possible for those sponsors?

I am in my phone so forgive typos and punctuation issues. The answer is not really. Wjen you get sponsored you enter into a legally binding contractwith exclusionary clauses. As such the idea of getting all the sponsors on your shirt us kinda impossible. Not to mention that if you break that clause then you can and willbe fined aa lot of money. For exampme in the NFL the fine is 50000 dollars per instance.

I'd like it if the players just refused to sign as Riot would be in some serious shit if they lost all their players buuuuut knowing the players themselves, they seem like a bunch of immature kids that couldn't be arsed to join together to make a statement. Very few of the pro players I've seen seem to actually give a shit or have any sort of real world experience, the rest are just young dudes who are good at video games and got thrown into a gaming house.

kiri2tsubasa:

Hagi:
I'm a bit confused by the posts saying this is how real sports go.

Admittedly I don't really follow sports much at all but from what I see it happens all the time that you've got clubs sponsored by brand A ( say Puma ) competing in national tournaments sponsored by brand B ( say Nike ) and later international by brand C ( say Adidas ). I mean I know that exact situation is happening with at least one of our national clubs.

Isn't that the normal mode for professional sports? You get as many sponsors as you've got room for on your shirt? And then compete in as many tournaments as big as possible, regardless of whom they're sponsored by, to get as much exposure as possible for those sponsors?

I am in my phone so forgive typos and punctuation issues. The answer is not really. Wjen you get sponsored you enter into a legally binding contractwith exclusionary clauses. As such the idea of getting all the sponsors on your shirt us kinda impossible. Not to mention that if you break that clause then you can and willbe fined aa lot of money. For exampme in the NFL the fine is 50000 dollars per instance.

Maybe it's an American thing?

I mean here in the Netherlands several of our major Football clubs are sponsored by Adidas yet their players also play in our National Team which is sponsored by Nike. Many other sports don't have any long-term competitions anyway and just a collection of single tournaments, each often sponsored by different and often competing companies, with the same sporters and teams participating anyway, each with their own sponsors on top of that.

Obviously it's anti-competitive.
That is LITERALLY the entire purpose of the amended terms in the LCS contract.

Kind of a poetic irony isn't it?
Riot believes to promote how seriously they believe in competition, that they should enact anti-competitive measures.

Andy Chalk:

It was revealed earlier this week that the contract for the upcoming fourth League of Legends Championship Series forbids any streaming of other games by LCS players during the season...

Unless some new info has come out they can stream other games to their heart's content, during the season or not. What they can't do is stream them alongside of league. So playing a game from the verboten list is a no no if they've been playing league and are waiting for a que, but okay if they haven't been playing league. Unless I'm incorrect, it's not nearly as bad as you're making it out to be.

Andy Chalk:
Awesomenauts, Heroes of Newerth Studios Speak Out Against LCS

League of Legends logo

"I can't stress enough how these guys in the LCS are on the road to being real, legitimate athletes. This is new territory for a lot of teams (especially in esports), because the transition goes from being a group of talented individuals to being real icons of a sport and a league," Rozelle wrote. "Similarly, you probably wouldn't see an NFL player promoting Arena Football or a Nike-sponsored player wearing Reebok on camera. Pro players are free to play whatever games they want - we're simply asking them to keep in mind that, on-stream, they're the face of competitive League of Legends."

Source: onGamers

Har?
But an NFL player promoting League of Legends is a-ok, huh?
What happened? I thought League of Legends is a real sport, so an NFL player shouldn't promote it since it isn't the sport he is being paid for. Yet, he does. And I bet he isn't sanctioned for it either.

The stupidity of this argument is immeasurable. A sports athlete being prohibited from doing other sports or 'promoting' them? Michael Schumacher openly did football (or some of you may know it as soccer I suppose) while being a Formula 1 driver. Pretty much every sports athlete does other sports, if only for training purposes alone. Also, attending big events of other sports where they are often interviewed as well is not really unheard of...

It's ok for Riot wanting to preserve their monopoly, they are a company after all - but damn it, just say so then. You can't do monopolistic practices, while saying all the time how League of Legends has become more than a game, that it has become a 'sport' and a 'profession'.
A sport isn't a product, yet they are clearly wanting to strengthen the monopoly of their 'sport'. And that is exactly why their whole esport promotion stunts are so pointless. For all those over glorifying things they say about League of Legends, how the LCS players are legitimate athletes, how it is evolving into a sport and how amazing that all is -blabla-... the only amazing thing about all that is the amount of money they made of their GAME.

And well, those legitimate athletes will have interesting CVs once the League of Legends train has passed by.

The attempt to compare the restrictions to professional athletes is just absurd. Last time I checked, professional athletes were allowed to play in other venues in their free time.

This is like saying the NBA should have fined Kevin Durant for playing basketball at Rucker Park awhile back. After all, he was recorded doing it, and he represents the NBA. How dare he promote a basketball court in Harlem behind the NBA's back? The nerve of that guy!!!

 

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