The relationship between Riot Games and Chinese company Tencent is in hot water, according to a report from The Information. 

The rocky relationship between League of Legends developer Riot Games and Tencent began as early as 2014, The Information reported. "Riot was so dissatisfied with how Tencent was publishing League of Legends in China that it opened its own office in Hong Kong to try to take more control of the game," the report read. "It quietly hired a former Tencent executive who once oversaw League of Legends in China to oversee China publishing -- warning Riot employees to not talk about the hire to Tencent people."


Later on, Tencent, who released mobile games like PLAYERSUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS and Fortnite: Battle Royale in China, approached Riot Games with the idea to create a mobile version of League of Legends but Riot declined. Tencent then proceeded to create its own mobile game called Arena of Valor.


A few Riot employees saw early screenshots of Tencent's game and felt it was a rip-off of League of Legends. They brought their concerns to Tencent, who responded by altering its game enough where it would have no relation to League of Legends. The game's popularity soared and Riot Games was not happy with Arena of Valor's success, according to the report.

A former Riot Games employee described the relationship between Riot Games and Tencent like a bad relationship between a parent and their child. "Riot was like the kid who didn’t like living with his parents and was driving his mom’s BMW. Tencent was like the parent who was prepared to put up with certain bad behavior as long as it got what it wanted."​​


The supposed declining popularity of League of Legends and its player base also helped push Tencent's focus onto more profitable and in-demand games like PUBG,  Fortnite, and upcoming Fortnite esports


Riot Games gave a statement to Dot Esports, claiming the opposite of the report. 


"League numbers are down from their peak, but it's still one of the most-played games in the world and we're very happy with the numbers, and we think some of the new content we're putting out soon can only help with player numbers," Riot said. "Basically, League is doing incredibly well by any measure except its own very high watermark. The relationship with Tencent is the best it's ever been. We're working together toward an exciting future, both for League and our upcoming game." 


Riot Games was recently on the radar after multiple reports on alleged sexism in its offices from current and former employees.


Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games