Riot Games: The Players Company
Back in 2011, Riot Games Vice President of Technology Scott Gelb wrote, “Riot isn’t a technology company… Riot’s a product company. We believe the only path to success is a focus on players, which means a focus on products.” This player-centric approach to game development has been touted by many of the industry’s titans, although none can show the commitment to players like Riot has towards League of Legends.
Getting back to a product company versus a technology company, one must ask, what’s the difference? Especially in a sector like video games that depends on the latest and greatest tech. Gelb has detailed what Riot’s player-focused approach looks like:
“A focus on products is why we’re not only building League of Legends, but also new games, esports experiences, a merchandise store, creative ventures, big data pipelines, and more. Our engineers create the technology for those products to succeed in delighting players. As players ourselves, we know the joy of truly great game experiences, and we’re dedicated to creating new ones.”
Riot was founded on a commitment to its player base and that commitment still dominates the direction of the developers behind LoL. In a recent interview with Forbes, Staff Writer Mike Ozanian, Riot Games’ Head of esports for North America, Chris Hopper echoed Gelb’s sentiments from back in 2011 saying, “We are as committed towards delivering a great product as we have ever been. First and foremost in our minds is what the fans want to see and how can we deliver a great product to them. We have been on that road and will continue down that road.”
Scott Gelb on Open-Source Technologies
Riot’s received awards like Best Online Game Design, Best Online Visual Arts, Best Online Technology, Best New Online Game, and Best Live Game. With the awards stacking up at Riot, the company knew it had to come up with scalable solutions for the massive demand of League of Legends.
To keep up with those demand and to maintain the highest level of availability of Riot’s game and web properties, they implemented tech stacks comprised of their own work and invaluable open-source technologies. They also partnered with several contractors to double download speeds back in 2011. In speaking about these partnerships, Gelb said, “The combination of faster download speeds with an intuitive user experience and a reliable download solution regardless of network constraints has proven successful for Riot.” Gelb has since taken a significant leadership role with Riot as its Chief Operating Officer.