Who Owns League of Legends & Riot Games?

With Microsoft acquiring Blizzard Entertainment, we asked ourselves, who owns Riot Games and League of Legends?

Who Owns Riot Games
Is this that Bill Gates? | © Riot Games

With the most recent acquisition between Microsoft and Blizzard, fans have come to the realization that the computer giant is collecting quite the repertoire of game developers and publishers. It’s got us thinking, well, who owns League of Legends?

Is our favorite game going to fall into the hands of Microsoft anytime soon as well and change ownership? Well, let’s take a deeper look into League of Legends and who actually calls the shots in our favorite MOBA.

Who Owns League of Legends?

League of Legends is one of many games under Riot Games. Riot is the developer and publisher of League of Legends. Of course, that isn’t the only game Riot has developed in recent years, adding quite a few more games to their name and earning that ‘s’ at the end of Riot Games.

Everything You Need to Know About Riot Games

So, let’s quickly brush over the history of Riot Games, guys. Sit back, relax, it's a history lesson for you, so you know who the developers of League of Legends even are. We're not going to bore you with a deep dive, just a quick overview of the company and how it developed into the video game giant we know it as today.

Let’s hop onto our time machine and go all the way back to 2006. Flare pants were in, everyone had side-swept bangs and Lizzy McGuire was playing on the family channel. Yeah, the good old times. But what else was happening at that time? Well, in 20016 Brandon "Ryze" Beck and Marc "Tryndamere" Merrill founded their company - Riot Games.

It wouldn’t be until 2009 that a beta version of League of Legends was released though. The game grew steadily, developers taking player input into consideration at all times and in 2011, Tencent invested $400 million for a 93 percent stake in Riot Games… Now compare that to the $70 billion Microsoft had to fork over for Blizzard! 2011 was a different time.

So, basically Riot got completely bought up by Tencent. In 2015, Tencent came knocking a second time, wanting their final 7 percent of the shares. Tencent demands and receives… after forking over an undisclosed amount of money that is.

And well, most of you know the rest of the story, right? New champions every year, and in 2019, Riot announced more games and in 2021, they released one of the biggest Netflix shows ever. Riot has grown from a small studio that basically copied DOTA and made League of Legends their own.

League of Legends official artwork
Riot is also owned by someone?! | © Riot Games

Who Is Riot Games Owned By?

Since 2015, Tencent has completely owned Riot Games. As mentioned, in 2011, the Chinese multinational technology and entertainment conglomerate and holding company invested in Riot and became the majority stakeholder with 93 percent.

In 2015, the company bought up the final 7 percent and has since become the owner of Riot Games. Even though they own Riot though, Tencent lets Riot work autonomously, not interfering in the game development and planning most of the time.

Tencent & Riot Fight Over Mobile Market

The mobile market is one of the most profitable in the industry. It’s also the largest gaming market out there. This is why Tencent wanted to cash in with their own mobile version of League of Legends, which they wanted Riot to produce.

Riot refused, which led to Tencent creating their own copy of League of Legends on a mobile platform - Arena of Valor.

Since then, Riot has decided to make a mobile version of League of Legends, one we all know and love as Wild Rift, and Tencent seems to have stopped trying to market Arena of Valor to the west. Water under the bridge then, right? Right.

Tencent games spark more
Tencent has their hand in a lot of games. | © Tencent

Does Tencent Own Other Gaming Companies As Well?

Yes, Tencent owns stakes in multiple gaming developers and publishers. Tencent seems to have its hands in everyone's pot somewhere. Seriously, this company cannot be monogamous to save its life, owning pieces of everyone and anyone out there. So let’s go over the biggest fish out there that Tencent dabbles with.

Epic Games40%
Bluehole (PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds)11.5%
Activision Blizzard5%
Grinding Gear Games (Path of Exile)80%
Frontier Developments9%

Does Microsoft Own Riot Games?

So, it seems like Microsoft owns everyone in the gaming industry in the west, right? Well, rest assured, Tencent has a firm hold on Riot Games. League of Legends alone brought in a whopping $1.75 billion in 2020 according to Statista. Now imagine all those added transactions through Wild Rift, Valorant and TFT!

So, while Microsoft did purchase Blizzard, something no one could have dreamed of, they have not yet found ownership over Riot Games and League of Legends.