Riot Games, the developer of League of Legends, announced on Tuesday that it would be delaying the start of the summer season for competitive North American League of Legends. The decision comes after players voted “overwhelmingly” to walk out in response to Riot Games’ announcement that LCS teams would not have to field an amateur group in the North American Challengers League (NACL) from the summer season onwards.
The LCS Players Association (LCSPA), which represents the players, organized the walkout after many teams declared that they would not field NACL teams, citing economic challenges. The players protested against these decisions, as they felt it would cut off an essential development pipeline for League of Legends talent.
The LCS summer split was scheduled to start on Thursday, but the start of the season will now be pushed back by two weeks. Riot Games hopes that this delay will give the parties involved time for productive dialogue, and the LCS competition can resume this summer. However, if the season needs to be delayed further, Riot Games would be prepared to cancel the entire LCS summer season.
Naz Aletaha, Riot Games’ global head of League of Legends esports, responded to a list of five demands from the LCSPA, committing to a single change: Riot will give Rally Cry, the organization it partners with on the NACL, an additional $300,000 to “jumpstart the 2023 NACL season,” which is set to begin on June 10th.
In a blog post, Aletaha said that if the LCS summer season were to be canceled, the LCS would not be able to qualify for this year’s Worlds, the global tournament that serves as the high point for competitive League of Legends every year.
On Tuesday evening, the LCSPA shared an update on its discussions with Riot. “We met with Riot Games today to ask for daily meetings — or more, if needed — to reach a resolution,” it wrote on Twitter. “Starting tomorrow, we plan to begin discussions that result in meaningful collaborative action to get our players back to where they want to be: competing for fans on the LCS stage.” The LCSPA had previously asked players not to step in if recruited to replace LCS players who were walking out.
Riot Games’ decision to delay the start of the summer season for competitive North American League of Legends comes after players voted to walk out in response to Riot Games’ announcement that LCS teams would not need to field an amateur group in the North American Challengers League. The LCS Players Association organized the walkout, and Riot Games hopes that the two-week delay will give them time for productive dialogue before resuming LCS competition this summer. However, if further delays are necessary, Riot Games would be prepared to cancel the entire LCS summer season.