The lights are on
Earlier this week, we reported that Riot Games' contract with sponsored players includes some new prohibitions on streaming. The agreement includes a long list of titles that League players aren't allowed to broadcast, including Blizzard games, competing MOBAs, and even Sony's Fat Princess. Now, two of the developers appearing on that list are reacting to the news.
"We are disappointed to see Riot impose restrictions on the spare time of it's LoL Championship Series players", said Awesomenauts creator Jasper Koning in a comment to OnGamers. "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."
The anti-competitive sentiment was echoed later by Marc DeForest of S2 Games (Heroes of Newerth) in a comment to OnGamers. "We do not view [eSports] as a leveraging tool for anti-competitive and monopolistic practices," DeForest says. "S2 Games will continue to support the eSports idea as a whole, not just our own specific interests in it."
[Source: OnGamers]Our TakeThe varying views on the nature of eSports expose the genre's ongoing maturity as a competitive phenomenon. Viewership is rising, and the competitors are transitioning into a more traditional sports role. League of Legends and its biggest competitors are big business, and that means the developers behind the titles need to find ways to protect their market share. Riot continues to suggest that it isn't looking to regulate off-screen play, and is just asking players to recognize they are paid to represent Riot's game.Rival developers see this as draconian and monopolistic. This issue will likely continue to be a significant one as eSports walks the path from niche pastime to formal athletic endeavor.