Since G2 Esports first announced the inception of G2 Hel, League of Legends fans have been speculating that this might be a sign that Riot Games is looking to expand the LoL esports scene with a circuit for marginalised genders. This potential new competition could take on a similar form as the Game Changers circuit Riot has created for Valorant.
Additionally, Riot confirmed to Esports News UK recently that it plans to “continue to build and test more programs” around increasing diversity in League of Legends esports after ENUK’s sources claimed that wheels had been put in motion for “a women’s League of Legends global esports circuit”.
Talking to The Loadout at the LEC Finals in Malmo, esports presenter Frankie Ward notes the positive impact that Game Changers has had on the Valorant scene, adding that it would be “cool” to see a similar circuit being brought to life for League of Legends as well. “The importance of these leagues is to provide a platform for women to be seen,” Ward says. “I think seeing other women out there competing at the highest level is going to inspire more and more women to take it to that level themselves and to prioritise competing professionally.”
Enhancing representation in the industry is one of the main purposes of establishing a circuit for marginalised genders, but the greatest incentive for publishers is that it would supplant the demand of the market by creating growth opportunities for the large community of female players around the globe.
The creation of a competition for marginalised genders would benefit LoL’s ecosystem as well, according to Maximilian Schmidt, head of League of Legends esports in EMEA. Highlighting how “incredibly important” inclusion is for Riot, Schmidt says that making the competitive LoL ecosystem more accessible is a “pathway to success.” Schmidt also says that those who work on League of Legends esports at Riot are looking closely at Valorant’s Game Changers initiative to see if there are “any learnings we can take for ourselves.” However, for now Schmidt is declining to share any solid plans Riot might have for a future League of Legends circuit for marginalized genders.
While it might seem that uncertainty reigns behind the scenes, as Riot might be waiting for the first ever VCT Game Changers Champions LAN to take place this November, other personalities in the scene firmly believe that something is indeed moving.
In particular, G2 Esports CEO and founder Carlos ‘Ocelote’ Rodríguez Santiago confidently tells us “there is a circuit coming”. According to Ocelote, that is the main reason why the organisation created G2 Hel, an experienced roster of female League of Legends players that are set to follow the same success G2 Gozen has had in the Valorant scene. He adds that G2 strives to be the best team across all competitions, and “that’s why Hel exists.”
Responding to Ocelote’s comments, Schmidt says that the establishment of a new circuit in Europe “will have to happen” at some point, and he praises G2 for “fostering that initiative”.
During the LEC Finals in Malmo, we also spoke to several fans about what they thought of a Game Changers-style competition in LoL. The general vibe was positive and welcoming, although a few were concerned about the possible underfunding of the scene and that splitting the scene might even further distance mixed teams over time.
“The problem with female leagues is that they’re mostly underfunded. I think Riot is going to push it a bit more on that economic perspective. But I think everyone wants to have a real mixed league, but we cannot have it right now so we have to be happy if a female league is established, as it will help the scene being so exclusive,” one fan told us.
Another LoL fan shares their frustration about the lack of representation. “As a female player, the female League of Legends scene is really important to me. I think it sucks that we don’t get any representation, but I don’t think it should be forced, I think it should come naturally. There’s a lot of female gamers that have it in them. If we tackle patriarchy in gaming I think that the problem of having or not having a female scene will solve itself.”
From G2’s proactivity, Riot’s efforts in Valorant, and Schmidt’s comments, a League of Legends esports competition for marginalised genders seems to be not only inevitable but extremely important too.
There will be more insight from Schmidt on a range of topics in a separate article which will be published on The Loadout in the coming days.