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How Riot Games Mastered The Art of In-game Selling

493 words·3 mins
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Riot Games is a video game company that has mastered the art of selling.

From its humble beginnings in 2006, it has grown into one of the world’s leading video game companies. The developer gifted the world games such as League of Legends and Valorant. It is also up there with the leaders in esports tournament organizers. Its success can be attributed to its unique selling proposition (USP), which is its dedication to its players and the sense of community that they foster.

They sell by delivering the best experience to their players.

The Solid Community Building>

The Solid Community Building #

We will discuss the approach in the case of Valorant.

In only two years after its launch, Valorant has already managed to capture a battalion of loyal audiences. It listens and resonates well with its audiences. Here are some ways:

    The community discusses whether a character is overpowered or underpowered; or if certain areas of a map are unfairly difficult to navigate. Those are heard and improved on.

    In the Valorant universe, characters (known in-game as “Agents”) have different personalities, narratives, and origins. This is also used as a marketing tool. The introduction of Raze as a Brazilian agent and Neon as a Filipino generated buzz among the social media capitals. Moreover, battle maps are inspired by places around the world, with exact coordinates.

    Valorant gives its fans everything, from inside memes to pop culture references to tributes to its players. They will capture it all.

All of this builds a solid audience for the game which makes selling in-game products as smooth as silk.

The In-Game Purchase Model>

The In-Game Purchase Model #

Like Riot’s every game offering, Valorant uses the free-to-play model. It does not charge the user or player to join the game. They make money in four ways: merchandise, advertising, esports tournaments, and in-game purchases.

Riot Games generate the majority of its income through in-game sales. Also called microtransactions, it brings in around $31 a second, or $2.64 million per day for the company. In Valorant, players spend real money on cosmetic upgrades or unlocking new characters faster.

The typical selling cycle of a featured Valorant cosmetic bundle is two weeks. It becomes ‘old’ in two weeks as a a new collection of skins takes over. This model creates an urgency for the customer.

The Skin Launch Communications Plan>

The Skin Launch Communications Plan #

Here’s a look at the typical communications strategy followed by Valorant at every product launch:

Valorant in-game cosmetics and skins launch marketing communications strategy

With only a two-week period per featured bundle, it makes sense if one sees the typical comms strategy as formulaic. But make no mistake, it is NOT easy.

It takes a solid audience that the company has built and continuously nurturing for organic marketing to flow smoothly. It is also aided by influencers, streamers, and content creators dedicated to the game.