Professional League Of Legends players in the game’s North American circuit have announced they will be voting to strike, after developer Riot Games scrapped a rule that supported talent development within the scene.
Earlier in the month, Riot Games dropped a rule that meant franchised teams in the League Championship Series had to field another team in the North American Challengers League (NACL), a lower-tier circuit that was seen as a pipeline to developing regional talent.
Shortly after, most franchised teams — including popular orgs TSM and Immortals — quietly dropped their own NACL teams, leading to the LCS Players Association (LCSPA) warning that “as many as 70 players, coaches, and managers will lose their jobs overnight”.
The LCSPA also identified concerns that without Riot’s enforcement, too many teams would pull out of the NACL for it to be functional — meaning the LCS would end up further relying on importing players to stay competitive, rather than sourcing local talent.
Riot's Lack of Commitment to the NACL: The LCSPA's Response pic.twitter.com/3IqhNKzkGA
— LCS Players Association (@NALCSPA) May 12, 2023
As reported by Mikhail Klimentov, the LCS Players Association has since confirmed that its members will be voting on Sunday (May 28) to determine if a walkout will go ahead.
“If we have 26 out of 50 of the LCS player willing to do something, I can tell you right now, the league’s not running,” shared Phil Aram, executive director for the LCSPA.
The group’s demands, which you can see below, include a “Valorant style” competitive system where teams can be promoted and relegated between the LCS and NACL, along with minimum contracts for players who win the LCS.
— LCS Players Association (@NALCSPA) May 23, 2023
Explaining the strike, Aram said the LCSPA “cannot go and be in the room with Riot and have meaningful negotiations of any kind like we’ve had in the past, unless we’re able to establish with them that the actions that they took without our consent, without consideration for us or for the league, in this case, are not acceptable”.
In other gaming news, Activision has shut down X Labs, a popular Call Of Duty fan project.