Riot Games is set to open a new game development studio in Shanghai, China, focusing on both new and existing intellectual properties, according to Riot VP Leo Lin in an interview for CNBC International. According to Riot CEO Nicolo Laurent, the studio will hire hundreds of people to work on Riot titles, with a job posting online for studio head confirming the company’s plan.
Lin also spoke on the level of interest Riot has in console gaming, stating that the company is committed to bringing their products to all gamers, with both mobile and console included in that commitment. He made it clear they have full confidence in the Chinese market, where he describes console gaming as "emerging", suggesting that while it is a focus, it may still be behind PC and mobile in their thinking.
This could of course change as new titles are released. Rumors that VALORANT will be coming to console gamers have been swirling for some time now and the company’s long-awaited fighting game is seemingly getting closer by the day. Tencent, Riot’s owners, do have a focus on console gaming, but may be happy to let the League of Legends publisher focus on PC while investments in firms like Epic Games have provided great value in the console market.
One of the most interesting questions posed to Lin revolved around Riot’s social responsibility in light of recent regulations aimed at preventing gaming addiction, late-night play by younger users, and even potential eye problems caused by overuse of screens. Lin said they want to work with "society" not only on gaming, but on esports too, and to be able to react to the dynamic way Chinese culture has changed to accommodate gaming as a pastime and career.
According to Daniel Ahmad, a Senior Analyst at Niko Partners, League of Legends is the most popular game in China with 325 million players registered. The company is still waiting for the release of VALORANT in China, but that will surely be a priority for the firm as they look to further expand in the Chinese market and dominate the FPS space too.