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Why Riot Restricting LCS Streamers in Season 4 is Bad for League of Legends (and Everyone Else)

Riot's new season 4 contracts for their LCS players includes a very large change to what their streamers can (and can't) stream.

So as of today the contracts for the Season 4 LCS players have been released. This isn't really news in itself, as the contracts of LCS players are rarely noteworthy, however there has been a GIANT shift in how LCS streamers can stream their lives and interests.

The header image screencap lists off the games that cannot be streamed. Here is the actual article that is the root of the issue:

"Under Section 3 Rule 4 of the new contract handling 'Non-League Events and Streaming', it states that "... the [LCS] Team shall ensure that, during the Term of this Agreement, its Team Members do not publicly stream gameplay of the titles set forth on Exhibit B". Exhibit B states "the specific restrictions on streaming are set forth in the Sponsorship and Streaming Restricted List, as updated by the League from time to time", which is listed below"

From a business standpoint, this is a no brainer for Riot

League of Legends is the most popular game on Twitch.tv 90-95% of the time, so it's simply preventing other games gaining free publicity while high elo streamers are stuck in the long queues that they suffer in D1/Challenger.

However, from a PR standpoint, I believe this is a terrible move on Riot's part.

LCS players are still gamers at heart. Limting their play can only have negative reprecussions on their mood, attitudes and general psychological health.

They often speak rosey words about helping eSports grow as a legitmate force in culture and the world. I don't doubt that Riot has it's best intentions with growing eSports most of the time. This move though, trying to make their LCS streamers exclusively LCS streamers with some indie games (atleast osu! isn't on that list), will only cause division in eSports.

Many top league players are also incredibly skilled at games such as Hearthstone and enjoy playing it in their downtime as a stress reliever and a game to play for fun. LCS players are still gamers at heart. Limting their play can only have negative reprecussions on their mood, attitudes and general psychological health. This isn't like a professional sports player, where some are disallowed from playing other sports, even in a "pick-up game" environment. Those are truly to protect the athlete from physical harm.

Who is this 'game banning Riot' and what happened to the 'old friendly Riot'?

At least Dyrus won't fail anymore Challenger Promotion Series due to Hearthstone

Besides limiting the players, the rift that this announcement will cause can only harm eSports as a whole, and I believe Riot in particular.

There's a saying that "no man is an island." I don't believe that a game can be an "island" either. By forcing a split in your top end streamers from other games, I believe that Riot runs the risk of developing a percieved "elitism" over other games in eSports such as SC2, DOTA2, the Fighting Game Community and the CS:GO scene. While it's true that Riot and League of Legends is larger than all of these competitive scenes at the moment, I don't believe they should use their size and PR to seperate themselves from eSports if they truly care about the growth of eSports. Remember, Starcraft itself used to be the epitome of eSports once upon a time.

As a person who follows almost every eSports scene imaginable at the moment, I personally despise this idea from Riot.

A move like this only fuels the fire of the unhealthy portion of the rivalry between DOTA2 and League specifically.

A move like this only fuels the fire of the unhealthy portion of the rivalry between DOTA2 and League specifically. There's a lot of bad blood from the DOTA2 community regarding Riot for numerous reasons that are ancient history now.

Watching TSM and CLG face off in DOTA2 with Na'Vi and [A]lliance as coaches or vice versa becomes more and more of a pipe dream with moves like this.

As a player of both, I only can dream of a "MOBA EVO" after this announcment today. EVO, of course being the largest fighting game tournament in the world, a tournament that is not defined by a single game, but the love of the genre and a coming together of the top players from all of the popular fighting games into a weekend long festival of fighting games. Watching TSM and CLG face off in DOTA2 with Na'Vi and [A]lliance as coaches or vice versa becomes more and more of a pipe dream with moves like this. By coming together and holding a grand tournament featuring all of the games in their Genre, EVO becomes one of the most unique and amazing things in all of competitive gaming.

Yes, as a whole, this move is smart for the business side of Riot.

Prepare to be a lot less personal with your LCS favorites such as Dyrus, Doublelift, Oddone and the rest of them.

There's no reason for people to tune into an LCS pro's stream to see them throwing down Chillwind Yetis in Hearthstone or Six pooling in SC2. However, as a viewer of multiple games and lover of them all, I can't help but be a little bit frustrated with Riot's decision making here. If there's enough public outcry and protest from the LCS players themselves, maybe it's something that can go away.

Otherwise, prepare to be a lot less personal with your LCS favorites such as Dyrus, Doublelift, Oddone and the rest of them. You'll still see all of the League of Legends you know and love from them. You just won't get the full picture of their gaming habits.

Published Dec. 4th 2013
  • Rothalack
    Master O' Bugs
    That is pretty sad, I feel like it is going to take away some of the personality from the players. I feel the top esports players in any game need to realize obviously their ability as a top player is important but the money and fame comes from their personality, their stream, their connection to the fans. Without that a ton of the appeal of esports will be lost. So taking away the pros ability to do whatever they want on their stream to gain followers is detrimental to the esports scene in general.

    With this move Riot is making esports about the specific game, not about the players and the community. Riot has the players and the community to thank for their success, and to turn around and take away their freedoms is pretty messed up in my mind.
    Great read Mango.

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