Ubisoft consultant Teut Weidemann has come out with a statement declaring that Riot Games’ League of Legends has an inherently flawed system. The conclusion was reached as a result of examining the metrics of the game from public tracking services; as well as shareholder reports, press releases, and conference talks. Essentially, Weidemann believes that LoL is only surviving because of its massive playerbase.
The idea is that LoL has a massive player base but a very low conversion rate. With a conversion rate of less than 15-percent, Riot is not making as much money as it would by selling more items or heroes. Weidemann believes that the company is giving away too much free stuff, and it should adopt a model closer to that run by World of Tanks (who have a massive 30-percent conversion rate).
He states, “Riot doesn’t care. Optimising monetisation is not the top priority. They monetise purely through their reach. So it only works because of the large user base, and if you don’t have that user base or don’t expect to, you should not adopt their monetisation. It should not be a role model for your monetisation system.”
However, it would appear that this low conversion rate has not hurt the game at all. Riot is still pulling in a massive amount of revenue. To the tune of over US$600 million in 2013. It might just be that Weidemann is warning other potential entrants into the MMO market that they will not be able to survive by emulating the free-to-play model offered by LoL.
This being said, Ubisoft has been known to pursue extremely aggressive strategies for getting revenue. And hasn’t entirely had the best of reputations in gaming circles. Particularly as the pre-orders for Far Cry 4 and Assassin’s Creed Unity on Steam have been boycotted as gamers become fed up with large developers offering content available only as part of a pre-order; forcing people to buy games they are not even sure are good just to get the full experience.