How Riot Games Manipulated Memes to Avoid Backlash When Announcing Controversial Games


Over the past few years, the gaming industry has evolved into one of the biggest in the world. With hundreds of new titles coming out every year, game development studios have to take a big risk when announcing games of uncommon genres. A prominent example of this is Diablo Immortal, a new Diablo game that angered fans simply because it was a mobile game. However, that isn’t always the case, as Riot Games’ announcements of several card and mobile games were quite well received. In a lengthy Twitter thread, League of Legends Communications Lead Ryan Rigney explains exactly why the announcements turned out well.

During Riot’s 10th anniversary livestream last year, the studio announced several new games, including card and mobile games. Unlike Diablo Immortal’s reveal, community response to these projects was positive, mostly due to Riot’s interesting announcement strategies.

One of the strategies that Rigney claims that Riot adopted was to remain transparent with the players. The studio had concerns that Teamfight Tactics would be branded a Dota Auto Chess clone. Their solution was to talk about the issue explicitly in the announcement.

“The solution here was to be honest and talk about TFT with players the same way we were talking about it internally.”

Rigney’s next strategy to circumvent the problem of memes was to embrace them wholeheartedly. Diablo Immortal’s “Do you guys not have phones” was of the most influential memes and played a great role is destroying mobile games’ reputations within gaming communities. At the cost of degrading relations with their rivals, Riot’s announcement of Teamfight Tactics mobile was an excellent way to avoid backlash. Rigney says that “subverting a meme in this way strips it of its power.”

The general idea Rigney discusses is to show “love” and honesty when announcing a “risky/controversial” game. Check out the entire Twitter thread to learn more about all the strategies Riot Games followed.

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