Yesterday, July 9th, 2016, a milestone was set in local games’ history. It was Riot Games League of Legends Brazilian finals, or CBLoL.
The venue was Ibirapuera’s Arena, a landmark in the city of São Paulo and place for several important sport tournaments. Yesterday was no different. The arena has capacity for 13,400 people, and it was packed full.
Entrance of the arena, already set for the public. Credit: @rogerioguimalli
I’ll leave the compliments and overall review of the whole thing for latter in this post, but I’d like to shed some light about how a structured, well planned GamePlan can turn something small, water-test sized, into a mass phenomena.
Let’s go back to 2012, specifically to the World of Warcraft launch event of the Brazilian servers. Diluted among the franzied fanboys and girls and industry executives, three guys were walking around, asking questions. Two, I’ve told, were senior executives from Riot, and the third was Paulo Fernandes, well known industry executive and influencer. Later, Paulo became the first Riot Brazilian GM.
I’d say Blizzard did a good job impressing the executives, because sooner after, in a crammed office space, Riot Brazil was founded, and the first employees were being selected. No big announcement, no massive investment, almost a stealth operation. People were being hand picked, and I remember talking to one of them about the effort to localize and build the local structure of servers and community support.
“We are not launching a game, he said. We are creating a new sport.”
Those words struck me. Not because of their boldness, but because they knew exactly what they were doing by then. Planned. Thought. Structured. They know the game HAD to be localized from the beginning. You are right if you are thinking: “of course, Riot already had a lot of cash and success abroad.” Agreed, but at the same time they were taking a very cautious approach to a new market, and more, acquiring the best local knowledge they could get.
Cue to 2016, Yesterday. Have in mind that this is ONLY the Brazilian finals, just two teams, 13K people screaming. The main award? Just a place at a WILDCARD (again, only a wildcard selective to the world championship). It simply does not matter anymore. LoL is a massive cultural phenomenon in Brazil; the finals were a world-class event, independently of the actual award (it was targeted to the community, not the actual e-athletes – the matches held no surprises); anyway, the whole show had premier coverage from mass and sports media across the country and the rest, as I said, is history.
Here a closer look from one of the GamePlanners, Luciana.
My point is: no matter your budget, no matter your size. If you have the right planning, and the right local people that understand the community and can set the right feet for you in a new market, the odds are much likely to be in your favor. All you need is a GamePlan.
Below, watch the official footage of the whole event. It is truly eye candy, tailor-made for the fans. Can’t shove enough compliments to the whole Riot team in Brazil, and for everyone involved in the production of this. Respect the community. Riot.
Here’s the official coverage video. Credit: Riot Games