League of Legendsis kind of a big deal. From its roots as a virtually unknown free-to-play PC game just a few years ago, it has blown up into one of the most widely played games in the world. Along with the game's growth, a healthy competitive scene has emerged which now brings in viewers by the millions to watch the best players in the world compete.
This competitive scene is set to receive a hefty investment from Riot Games next month as they outline their vision for Season 3 of LoL professional play.
“Talking to players around the world, they repeatedly asked if we could kick League of Legends eSports into higher gear,” said Brandon Beck, CEO of Riot Games. “The new League of Legends Championship Series is our answer. Millions of fans tune in every time we support a major League of Legends tournament, so we're broadening that support in an unprecedented way.”
Along with the usual tournament prizes (which are getting a boost as well) Riot will begin offering salaries to the top teams in the world. The stated goal is to ensure that League of Legends is a viable way to make a living for the best players, allowing them to further hone their skills.
Beginning in early 2013 they'll also be starting the League of Legends Championship Series which will bring together the top eight teams from Europe and North America along with teams from Asia to compete in a more traditional sports structure with a regular seasons and playoffs.
It's an encouraging move from Riot for any fans of eSports. League of Legends is one of the biggest games out there, but Street Fighter IV and StarCraft 2 have also been blowing up in a big way with the rise of easily-available live streaming. Hopefully this move from Riot will prove to Blizzard and Capcom that big investments in eSports can pay off monetarily.