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Riot Games criticized for alleged Saudi-backed Esports World Cup partnership

In this post:

  • Riot Games faces backlash for joining Saudi-backed Esports World Cup, sparking community outrage over human rights concerns.
  • League of Legends community expresses disappointment as Riot reportedly aligns with Saudi Arabia, prompting calls for deal cancellations.
  • Esports industry trends reveal Riot’s move to join the Esports World Cup follows a pattern of global collaboration with the Saudi government.

Riot Games, the developer behind the immensely popular game League of Legends, has reportedly accepted a deal to send teams to the Esports World Cup, a tournament backed by Saudi Arabia. According to esports journalist Jacob Wolf, Riot is currently working through the details of how its teams will participate in the upcoming event. Representatives from major leagues, including the LCS, LEC, LPL, and LCK, are expected to attend, though the specific participating squads are yet to be announced.

Community outcry

News of Riot Games’ involvement with the Esports World Cup has sparked a significant backlash within the League of Legends community. Players and fans have taken to social media to express their discontent, criticizing Riot for reportedly aligning with the Saudi government, known for its track record of human rights violations. One Reddit user stated, “If you are taking money from the Saudi government, you are taking money directly from human rights abuse.” The community is urging a swift response from Riot, calling for the cancellation of the reported deal.

Mixed reactions on inevitability

While some fans were taken aback by the news, others in the esports space view Riot Games’ collaboration with Saudi Arabia as inevitable. Freelance esports caster Shibby remarked, “Anyone genuinely surprised by this clearly hasn’t been aware of what’s been happening in other esports spaces. It was never a matter of if, only when.” This perspective suggests a growing trend of esports entities partnering with Saudi Arabia, raising questions about the industry’s stance on human rights issues.

Esports world cup background and industry trends

The Esports World Cup, announced in October as a successor to the Gamers8 event, encompasses various esports titles, including CS:GO, Fortnite, and Rocket League. With several game developers already forging partnerships with Saudi Arabia, Riot Games’ decision to join the Esports World Cup aligns with industry trends. This move reflects a broader pattern of collaboration between esports entities and the Saudi government, further integrating the Kingdom into the global esports scene.

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In the wake of Riot Games’ reported deal with the Esports World Cup, concerns have arisen within the League of Legends community. The backlash on social media highlights a palpable tension between the esports industry’s pursuit of partnerships and the ethical considerations raised by community members.

The Esports World Cup, announced in October as a successor to the Gamers8 event, encompasses various esports titles, including CS:GO, Fortnite, and Rocket League. With several game developers already forging partnerships with Saudi Arabia, Riot Games’ decision to join the Esports World Cup aligns with industry trends. This move reflects a broader pattern of collaboration between esports entities and the Saudi government, further integrating the Kingdom into the global esports scene.

While some fans expressed shock at the news, others viewed it as an inevitable development given the ongoing partnerships in the wider esports landscape. Freelance esports caster Shibby commented, “Anyone genuinely surprised by this clearly hasn’t been aware of what’s been happening in other esports spaces. It was never a matter of if, only when.”

As Riot Games navigates the details of its participation in the Esports World Cup, the community’s response emphasizes the delicate balance that game developers must strike between expanding their presence and addressing ethical concerns. The esports industry finds itself at a crossroads, facing the challenge of maintaining integrity while seeking global collaboration.

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