Esports Rising 2021 Recap: Naz Aletaha – The Esports Observer

Mobile esports already are very popular in the East and, while they haven’t become too prevalent yet in the West, Riot Games Head of Global Esports Partnerships & Business Development Naz Aletaha said her company’s “promise is to make it a global sport.”

Riot Games initially released its third mobile title, “League of Legends: Wild Rift,” in October ’20. Aletaha during the Esports Rising virtual event said, “We’re pretty bullish on mobile in North America, I’ll be honest with you. I think as mobile tech continues to advance, there’s a whole new generation of players who are gaming on their mobile phones, and they want to be able to game any time, and they want to be able to tune into the programming they love about that game from anywhere.” She added, through mobile, “We are connected directly to our entire audience, and that starts to become really interesting in terms of how we can deliver for (players), how we can deliver for our partners.”

The ’21 SBJ “Forty Under 40” honoree addressed yet another title released in the teeth of the pandemic, calling “Valorant” the “fastest growing esport in the world,” and saying it “absolutely exceeded our expectations” since its June ’20 release. Aletaha said, “The majority of people playing ‘Valorant’ are actually playing a Riot Game for the very first time. So, that’s kind of just a testament to the fact that this is an entirely new audience, and that’s something that gets us really excited.”

On in-game advertising for sponsors and for Riot events: “With ‘Valorant,’ it’s a great opportunity, and we’ve started to play with it. … It feels super native to that world, just because of the nature of the IP. So, I think you can expect more of that from us, where we’ll really start to leverage the real estate.”

She indicated that, for Riot, it doesn’t end there with new games, either. Aletaha: “You will definitely see more from Riot Games. I think that ‘s’ in Riot Games will continue to get bigger and bigger.”

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