REN Gets The Axe: Riot Games’s Streaming Plans Run Out Of Lives


Riot Games cancels plans for REN streaming platform and esports fan engagement hub after internal testing and company layoffs.

Riot Games made waves in the streaming world when it announced plans for its own platform dubbed REN (Riot Esports Network).

This scrappy newcomer aimed to take on streaming giants like – Twitch by deeply integrating with Riot’s hit games League of Legends and Valorant.

But barely after liftoff, the idea of REN has been dropped indefinitely.

What happened to this ambitious project? Let’s break it down!

What Was REN?

REN was envisioned as the ideal destination for fans of Riot’s hit competitive games to watch and engage with all the esports action.

Viewers would be able to support pro players directly and receive in-game bonuses or items for watching streams.

There were also plans to reinvent the broadcasting experience by integrating Riot’s titles deeply into the platform.

The idea was to complement rather than compete with Twitch’s core streaming, while still encroaching on some of their turf.

Riot president John Needham even stated a desire for REN to “sell digital goods and services directly to our fans“.

But did Riot Games really need to change anything when they were already getting plenty of viewership on Twitch?

So Why Did Riot Kill Its Own Streaming Darling?

After extensive internal testing, Riot ultimately decided to cancel REN as part of a broader 11% staff reduction.

Integrating live streaming so tightly into their games proved too disruptive, especially alongside other in-development features.

So, Riot decided to shift resources to their core games such as Valorant and League of Legends while cutting peripheral projects.

Riot Games faced a difficult challenge in gaining market share against Twitch, which is a much larger platform.

Twitch consistently attracts a loyal audience of nearly 300,000 concurrent viewers, making it hard for other platforms to siphon off this audience.

The Fallout

REN represented a hugely ambitious push into original broadcasting that could have paid off big time.

Alas, building a whole streaming platform from scratch is no small task.

The cancellation is certainly a setback for Riot’s broadcasting technology team after significant investment.

But for League of Legends and Valorant viewers, it’s business as usual on Twitch.

Riot will likely take lessons from this ambitious initiative into future broadcasting plans.

But for now, they seem content with Twitch primetime domination.

Just don’t expect any rad cross-platform integrations anytime soon!


Source – Bloomberg

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