League of Legends developer Riot takes on key selling website G2A

UPDATE: Ban is "heavy handed and potentially damaging", G2A argues.

UPDATE 9/10/15 11.45am: Marketplace website G2A has hit back at League of Legends studio Riot for banning its eSports team sponsorship.

In a new statement published by PCGamesN, G2A states Riot has "launched an aggressive attack directed towards the entire global e-sports community in a failed attempt to dominate and control the industry.

"[The ban] has the ability to impact negatively on e-sporters, especially during this fabulous time when hopes are so high for great e-sports events."

The ban followed a "friendly" discussion with Riot that was only met with "more and more demands", G2A claims.

Riot's beef with G2A stems from the sale of levelled up League of Legends account, something which is against the game's terms of service.

In other League of Legends news, BBC Three has announced it will livestream the game's 2015 World Championships event set to take place at Wembley.

ORIGINAL STORY 7/10/15 10.05am: A dispute between League of Legends developer Riot and popular video game key selling website G2A has spilled over and onto the eSports battlefield.

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As reported by The Daily Dot, Riot banned G2A from sponsoring League of Legends professional teams, including Cloud9, Counter Logic Gaming and H2K, and removed the website's logo from merchandise available at the 2015 League of Legends World Championships.

G2A came under fire because it contains a listing on its website that promotes services from a third party that sells League of Legends accounts, and because it offers "elo boosting services" - both of which contravene the game's terms of service and its eSports rulebook.

At the time of publication, a number of League of Legend accounts were available to buy on G2A. One, a level 30 account, was going for $25.

Elo boosting sees a player (The Booster) log into another player's account to improve its match-making rating (MMR). It's big business, and a quick Google search shows many websites offering similar services.

Riot hates Elo Boosting because it messes with its match-making system, which is designed to get players together with those of a similar skill level.

"If a player's MMR is boosted unnaturally they will most definitely falter when they begin to play ranked at that tier," Riot has said. "If a player is unable to keep up with the other higher MMR players in their match they will most certainly degrade the game experience for everyone involved."

In a post on the League of Legends subReddit, Riot's developer relations manager J. Eckert confirmed Riot had banned G2A as a sponsor on 18th September after negotiations with the company failed to come to a resolution.

Here's the post

... we've already formally banned them as a sponsor as of September 18th, and have no plans to reconsider the decision at this time.

This was NOT a decision we made lightly, and came after many weeks of back and fourth conversations with G2A to find a resolution, which we were not able to reach an agreement on. We do not at all enjoy affecting the income of the teams, but the LCS rules include guidelines specifically against this sort of thing. We did however keep teams in the loop during the process in an attempt to avoid any surprises.

EDIT - To clarify, it seems the wording I used was a bit ambiguous on "an agreement". Rest assured, "Remove all account selling an [sic] boosting-site links" was indeed our request. We weren't going to compromise our values on that one in the sake of preserving the sponsorships.

The ball now appears to be in G2A's court. We've asked the company for comment, but The Daily Dot reports G2A has told professional teams that it intends to drop sponsorship across the board following the ban.

There is also the issue of G2A sponsoring streamers. A raft of popular Twitch streamers, including those who play League of Legends, are sponsored by G2A. Will Riot turn its attention to those, next?

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Wesley Yin-Poole

Wesley Yin-Poole

Deputy Editor

Wesley is Eurogamer's deputy editor. He likes news, interviews, and more news. He also likes Street Fighter more than anyone can get him to shut up about it.

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