Riot ditches Wild Rift esports in the West as it refocuses on Asia for 2023

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Wild Rift esports has effectively been axed in Europe, EMEA and other regions in the West as Riot Games changes its strategy.

The developer said it’s refocusing on Asia as a region, is opting for third-party events going forward and won’t be directly operating Wild Rift esports leagues anymore.

Wild Rift is the mobile game version of League of Legends which first launched in late 2020.

Riot said in an update on the Wild Rift Esports website: “In 2023, we will centralize the operation and focus of Wild Rift Esports in Asia, the biggest and most active mobile esports market in the world.

“The new Wild Rift league in Asia will be the first Riot cross-regional professional mobile esports league and will replace the original Wild Rift Esports (WRE) in April of 2023.

“As part of the new plan, outside of Asia, we will no longer directly operate Wild Rift esports leagues and instead unlock the opportunity for third parties to host events – so that we will have our priority and focus on the up-coming Wild Rift Asia League.”

Riot Games

“Given the vigorous mobile esports market in Asia and the level of competition in these regions, as showcased at [the Wild Rift] Icons Global Championship 2022, we’re thrilled to bring interregional level play to the Wild Rift Esports regular season for the first time. The new Wild Rift Asian league will bring the intensity and hype of regional rivalries more regularly to our fans in Asia. We’ll have more details to share about this new league in early 2023.”

The new Wild Rift league in Asia will feature 12 teams from China’s WRL and eight teams from the other 2022 Asian regions, and will have two splits per year.

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Riot said it’s learnt a lot from its first year of Wild Rift esports and is grateful to the community, players and teams for their support.

‘Wild Rift will still be my game’ – scene reacts to Wild Rift esports leagues closing down in the West

UK caster and content creator Excoundrel penned a few words on Twitter: “It will be interesting to see what happens to Wild Rift content. Top players often the games biggest champions and created some of the most watched content. If you remove their motivation to play, do they bother to continue with content?

“Asia is essentially merging with China (which I think was the only truly popular league) and the rest of the world gets pair of shoes and a “good luck”.

“tl;dr Riot was just too late. Very hard to ask people to switch to a new game in the same genre, with similar gameplay loops and feels when their target audience has invested years and potentially a lot of money into games like Mobile Legends.”

Excoundrel added: “Had a day to digest the official Wild Rift news and be a little less emotional about it. I still really love the game. Going to channel some iTzSTU4RT positivity and look to work with community organisers (maybe a return of the Excoundrel Premiere League from VG lmao) for 2023.”

UK caster and content creator iTzSTU4RT added:

The news was especially tough on UK Wild Rift player Snitch, who had been in a similar situation before back when he was a pro Heroes of the Storm player and Activision Blizzard decided to cancel Heroes of the Storm esports, leaving him without a career in that game.

Snitch played for UK org Rix, whose chief gaming officer cZer commented:

UK caster Viperoon added: “I wasn’t with Wild Rift Esports for very long, but it was probably the most fun I ever had on an event. Really sad to see the news, but hope the community can do some awesome stuff with it!”

UK caster Deman also added the news was “such a shame” and that it’s “been a lot of fun over the last few years” as he’s been involved in Wild Rift.

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