Thursday, 12 December 2013

LoL: Business as Usual

Last week we could hear that Riot, the developers of League of Legends have put some restraints on their streamers. Basically it boiled down to players that are getting paycheck from Riot, need to abide by the rules that Riot has set, no matter how these rules might affect them otherwise.

Now, knowing that the thing will probably explode, and that Riot was probably just testing the waters, like all companies do, I decided to wait a little before writing about this. This way, I can see both sides, and what they have to say. It is to be said, that were there no riot over the new additions to the contract of the streamers, they would probably still be contractually obligated not to play other games while they stream League of Legends.

Now, this does not affect me in any way, shape or form. Believe me, I would not mind getting payed to play the game, but I sure will not just watch others play, when I can play myself. So, while some might enjoy watching the streams of the pro players, I myself do not. In that respect, I could not care less what happens to them.

What I do care about, is when companies start reaching out with their draconian tentacles in often misguided attempts to protect their property. While I agree that they should protect their property, basically their interests, that does not mean I agree on the overly-aggressive stance the companies often assume. It seems that a lot of them these days follow the rule of "It's easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission."

We see time and time again companies testing the waters with various schemes and nefarious plans, and often they stick to those plans even if they are not consumer friendly. But let us leave to for some other time. Let us focus on the Riot for a moment.

It comes down to, their game, their rules. These players are getting payed by Riot, to play their game. So, when Riot puts a restrictions on what the players can and cannot do, they have nobody with any kind of authority to complain to. They can either accept ore refuse the deal. In which case, the deal would probably be offered to the next player in line. And in case of League of Legends, there is enough players willing to accept the deal, if the guy before them does not.

The players, are in a way employees of Riot. They get paid to play League of Legends on their streams, not other games. When they play other games on streams, they test Riot's patience in a way. How many people could get away with goofing around at their work? Doing something like playing Candy Crush instead of doing the paperwork needed for the actual work they are supposed to be doing. They would be fired. And nobody would think twice about it.

This is business. And most of it is not brave new world just waiting to be explored. It is dark, gritty, and often cruel. and this would be considered business as usual. Nothing new there.While you do not sabotage the neighbour's cow, you hope that said cow breaks her leg or dies. You tell your neighbour how sorry you are about his cow, while you in fact jump out of joy. Everybody knows that. And when you catch someone trying to kill your cow, you do everything in your power to disarm them, and scare them away. If that means you have to be stricter with your herders, so be it.

Now, while esports might be the new popular word to throw around, there is no such thing as esport. And especially, esport does not equal League of Legends. When Riot states they care for the esport, they care only for thier own scene, for their own niche. You remember the story about the neighbour's cow? They only care for their own cow, not for the others.

These are games, not sports. The players athletes in name only, and even that only because of Riot pushing for it aggressively. By all means, if players of League of Legends are considered athletes, than Chess players should be one as well. (If they are not already). Games are not sport, and this rebranding of my pass time activity is annoying. I do not need a rebranding of my leisure activity for it to be more socially acceptable. It comes across only as a mockery.

What is so sportsmanlike in games we consider esports? A surrender attitude? You do not see other participants in other sport disciplines just throwing the game, because the opponent score so many goals, or baskets. If you want to have an esport, you first need to have an attitude of a sport. That attitude is to never give up, never throw a game, and always trying to do your best. Saying GG, after you surrendered a game is nothing a real athlete would do. Ever. Because a real athlete does not give up.

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