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Riot all about building “engagement”, not “money hungry” ARPU metrics – Merrill

Thursday, 2nd January 2014 22:32 GMT By Brenna Hillier

League of Legends developer Riot Games doesn’t focus on revenue metrics, preferring to believe that if it builds a great game, money will just turn up, according to president and co-founder Marc Merrill.

Writing on Reddit, Merrill hotly contested accusations of greed.

“Most game businesses focus on metrics like ARPU (average revenue per user) and try to build their entire companies and organizations around optimizing for driving to a sale (think Zynga). We do the opposite,” he said.

“We train our entire company to drive towards engagement. Meaning, make cool shit and deliver value and if people play enough because they love what we do, then they will want to spend money. Our focus is entirely different.”

The executive said it’s “frustrating” to be casually labelled as greedy given how much it invests in its product and community.

“Millions upon millions of our players spend zero dollars on league and enjoy it endlessly. We’re completely OK with this. Greedy how? You do not have to spend money, it is completely opt-in,” he said.

“We spend tens of millions of dollars building a pro-esports scene to help some of our best players become global superstars who make hundreds of thousands of dollars. We build a TV show that also costs millions and we run zero ads on it to deliver a great experience to our players, entirely free.”

Merrill also argued that League of Legends was “the first successful free online game in the west that core gamers actually really like and play”, and delivers better value than competing media.

“If you compare the price of League of Legends entertainment per hour to every other form of media, we’re the lowest around (we should probably commission a study to explain this), but the easiest examples to think of are: movies, magazines, books, box games, etc. $60 for 10 hours, woo!” he said.

Thanks, Gamespot.

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