Riot Games looks to be expanding its online presence. This week already the game studio registered the name ChampionshipSeriesLeague.com, but that’s not all. Riot has bought up even more domains, this time names centered around “league” and “esports”, like LeagueeSports.com (WHOIS) and LoLeSport.com (WHOIS).
Although it’s only speculation, I think we might see a web site and a level of professional programming from Riot Games, that you see with the likes of “ESPN”.
It’s not too far fetched an idea. With Major League Gaming taking off, why not?
While the company may have nothing in store beyond protecting its IP, with a record 2012 and Season Three just beginning, I think many would agree that 2013 is shaping up to be the biggest year for League of Legends and eSports.
In its newest batch of registrations through the brand protection MarkMonitor, Riot picked up: league-esports.com (WHOIS), leagueesports.com (WHOIS), lol-esports.com (WHOIS), and lolesport.com (WHOIS).
It is just speculation at this stage though, as none of the newest registrations resolve to a web site.
In August 2012, Riot Games announced The League of Legends Championship Series, a global league of the top professional, salaried teams that features multiple matches per week and playoff events leading up to the World Championship.
As players begin to battle for spots in the League of Legends Championship Series during Season Three, Riot has went and registered the domain name ChampionshipSeriesLeague.com (WHOIS) through the internet brand protection company MarkMonitor.
Could Riot be planning to launch a new website that provides online coverage of the Championship Series?
It’s too early to tell. For now, the domain name doesn’t resolve to a web page, but given the massive popularity of League of Legends and its thriving community, it wouldn’t be surprising.
Another possible sign that Riot may do more with the name than just park it, is that, unlike most companies that buy up dozens, sometimes hundreds of domain names to help protect their brand, Riot Games has gone a different route, selectively acquiring a limited number of domain names over the years.
According to a rough estimate using Reverse Whois, Riot only owns about 100 domains.
The company’s last major buying spree came in April 2012, when it secretly registered a slew of domain names for the top secret project Supremacy. Riot has also acquired names by filing complaints with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) which led to the company taking down porn and scam sites like support-leagueoflegends.com, LeagueofLegends.co, and LeagueofLegendsPorn.com.
If you’re not familiar with the League of Legends Championship Series, here’s a recap:
The League of Legends Championship Series: the top eight teams from the US and EU, plus top teams from the Asian regions
The top three teams from Gamescom and PAX immediately qualify
Weekly regional pro League of Legends matches live, for free, in HD
Millions of dollars at stake
Regular season, regional playoffs and a spectacular World Championship
Critical Challenger Circuit events featuring up-and-coming teams vying for a shot at the League of Legends Championship Series
Whether Riot launches a new online website for Season Three and beyond, is all just speculation at this point.
We’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, you can keep checking the website ChampionshipSeriesLeague.com to see if anything goes online.
In late September, a decision was handed down by the World Intellectual Property Organization in a domain complaint brought by Riot Games against the owner of LeagueofLegendsPorn.com.
As reported earlier in the week, the ruling went in favor of Riot Games (the complainant), and as a result, Florida man Michael Brown (the respondent) was ordered by a single-member panel to transfer the name.
Now details of the WIPO decision have been published online, including an exchange between both parties in which Brown asked for a “transfer” fee of USD 200,000.00.
When Brown first responded to the complaint, he stated he had no intentions of doing anything with www.leagueoflegendsporn.com and that he had “forgot” that he had registered the name. He even said he would gladly hand it over, but when it came time to transfer the name, he wanted a huge cash payout.
Here’s a look at the details of the “back and forth” that Riot Games contends took place, as provided by WIPO:
In February 2012, Respondent registered the disputed domain name.
On or about February 21, 2012, Complainant became aware that Respondent had registered the disputed domain name, which fully incorporates Complainant’s LEAGUE OF LEGENDS mark.
The website associated with the disputed domain name does not host or display any content or provide any services to the public. Instead, it consists of a graphic with the words “Future home of something quite cool” and an invitation for visitors to “please check back soon.”
Upon learning of Respondent’s registration, on March 14,2012, Complainant sent a letter to Respondent. The letter demanded that Respondent immediately discontinue use of the disputed domain name and Complainant’s LEAGUE OF LEGENDS mark, or any variation thereof, and requested that Respondent transfer the disputed domain name to Complainant.
On March 19, 2012, Respondent responded to Complainant, stating that he has “no intentions of doing anything with www.leagueoflegendsporn.com” and that he had “forgot” that he had registered the disputed domain name. Respondent assured Complainant that “the domain name will not be used nor will I use the League of Legends name in any way.” Respondent added that if Complainant needed the disputed domain name, he “will gladly hand it over” and asked for instructions on how to transfer it.
Complainant responded on the same date requiring the transfer of the disputed domain name, and providing instructions on how to do so.
On March 20, 2012, Respondent sent an email Complainant inquiring about “financial compensation” that he would be offered for complying with Complainant’s request.
Complainant responded on April 30, 2012, offering to reimburse Respondent for the cost of registering the disputed domain name.
On May 14, 2012, Respondent rejected the offer stating that it is “simply not enough… the traffic that can be drawn to this website with the millions of league fans is worth too much” and asked for a “significant offer” for the disputed domain name.
On May 16, 2012, Complainant offered to pay USD 250.00 for the disputed domain name in the interests of avoiding legal expenses and time. The next day, Respondent rejected the offer, stating that the website “is predicted to bring in an unrivaled amount of traffic and will be highly competitive in search engines” and asked for a “transfer” fee of USD 200,000.00 based on his “traffic estimates.”
Full details of the leagueoflegendsporn.com decision can be found online at WIPO.
As of today, the name is still registered to Brown according to Whois records.
(Image of Season One Championship via LeagueofLegends.com)
Riot Games may dominate the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) market in the PC universe with League of Legends, but today, it has yet to enter the mobile MOBA market.
A market that is very small but has big possibilities.
Though League of Legends may not be ready for gaming on the go, Riot Games is ramping up its mobile development teams as shown by job openings posted online.
This week, the company even acquired the domain name RiotGames.mobi (Whois). Dotmobi is the top-level domain introduced for the mobile web. Of course, while obtaining the name may be nothing more than a move by the company to protect its intellectual property, there are plenty of signs that Riot is focusing efforts in the mobile arena.
In late August, Riot posted a job for a Mobile Product Manager in Santa Monica. The listing says the company is building a dynamic, fast-moving Riot Mobile team to help the company develop and create mobile solutions.
The website RiotGames.mobi is currently a parked web page at the time of this story.
It’s unknown whether Riot had to fork out cash to get the name or if it simply had its legal department contact the previous owner. The domain was acquired through the internet brand protection company MarkMonitor. According to Whois history, the name was originally registered anonymously in 2010 and changed ownership to Riot Games this week.
There are developers in the mobile MOBA market.
This October, Gameloft will be releasing the mobile game Heroes of Order & Chaos.
As Pocket Gamer points out in a recent story, Gameloft will be copying the League of Legends tactic of making six characters free for a week at a time, with the option to buy them outright with real money should they take your fancy.
There hasn’t been much news out of Riot regarding its mobile game plans, but with all the mobile job openings being posted, it may not be too long before more is known.
And in case you’re wondering, Riot Games does own the domain leagueoflegends.mobi. The company has owned the web address name since 2008. Today, the web address redirects users to LeagueofLegends.com.
Although the case (Case Number: DCO2012-0024) remains active on the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) website where it was originally filed, the Whois records for LeagueofLegends.co reflect Riot as the owner of the name. In addition to the change of ownership, the URL resolves to a blank web page, instead of a porn site filled with photos of nude women.
Considering LeagueofLegends.com ranks among the top 1,500 websites in the world, according to Alexa, it’s likely a lot of users entering a typo by forgetting the ‘m’ in .com, found themselves on a porn site, after typing the Colombia dot-co domain.
Right now if you type leagueoflegends.co into Google search, you can still see the hit for the porn site as shown in the screen shot below.
Since details of the ruling haven’t been posted online yet, it’s unknown whether the previous owner Martin Hornak handed over the name before a decision was even issued or if he was ordered to transfer the name.
One thing’s for sure, Riot must be relieved to have control.
However, the company isn’t finished going after owners of domain names with its popular hit video game ‘League of Legends’ in the name.