In a recent press release on their website, Riot Games announced that they will now be focusing on only Asia region for Wild Rift Esports and will wind down their esports operations in the other regions of the world in 2023. After the first season of Wild Rift Esports, which is also Riot’s first mobile esports title, Riot has now decided to focus on only one specific region due to its most active mobile esports market.
Riot Games to stop all Wild Rift Esports operations outside Asia
With this decision, Riot will replace Wild Rift Esports (WRE) with the new Wild Rift league in Asia in April 2023. The newly introduced league system will feature 12 teams from Wild Rift League China and eight teams from the other 2022 Asian circuit. The Wild Rift league in Asia will be the first-ever cross-regional mobile esports league hosted by Riot, and the season will be played in two splits, similar to Wild Rift’s Fall and Summer split 2021.
Riot will now stop operating Wild Rift esports leagues outside of Asia. However, they will partner with third-party organizers for different third-party events in these regions. John Needham, the President of esports at Riot Games, added in the press release, “We believe these changes will give the community time and runway to grow organically and establish what role high-level competition will play in their ecosystem. As the Wild Rift esports landscape evolves, we’ll be ready to move in lockstep.“
The decision comes after the results and statistics from the first year’s Wild Rift Esports from Asia and the rest of the world. The Asians heavily dominated the Wild Rift Icons, especially the Chinese teams, as the fans witnessed an all-Chinese final. Surprisingly, no teams outside the Asian region managed to qualify for the tournament playoffs. Other statistics suggest that the viewership in the different regions was much lower than that of the Asian region during the recently concluded Wild Rift Esports season.
Western Wild Rift fans are extremely disappointed with Riot’s decision
After Riot’s announcement, the western Wild Rift community expressed heavy disappointment in Riot’s decision. Many have criticized Riot’s decision and suggested they build up their community effectively in these regions instead of dumping them.
With the news of Riot moving their focus away from Wild Rift Esports into other regions, many organizations have already started releasing their rosters, which shocked many people as no one had any idea about this upcoming announcement by Riot.
Regarding this matter, the former Global Head of Esports for Wild Rift Leo Faria tweeted that “I realize these news are disappointing. When we set to build Wild Rift as a sport we went all in, and I hope big moments like Icons made you proud. But we have to be realistic, look at each market individually and do things when the time is right. Some regions need more time.”
What do you think about Riot’s decision of focusing only on Asia for Wild Rift Esports? Let us know in the comments below.