A little rough-housing against the competition is fine and all, but this latest report may be taking things a bit too far.
Mobile Legends developer Moonton is reportedly forcing esports organizations to drop League of Legends: Wild Rift teams, or flat out not create one, thanks to a signed exclusivity contract with the company (via WRCompetitive).
The news broke out when Team Secret CEO John Yao, who now has a Philippines Wild Rift team, stated that the ability to participate in multiple titles is crucial to the survival of esports organizations. In order for the exclusivity to work, Moonton’s compensation needs to be justifiable to just stick to one side of the mobile MOBA train.
Keep in mind that Mobile Legends is a major esport in Southeast Asia, regardless of its dubious status of being a tad similar (legally distinct, if we’re being honest) to Riot Games’ MOBA. But that game popped up first way before Wild Rift entered the scene, so Moonton already had years to create the esports scene they’re thriving in today.
What Is Riot Games’ Response?
In response, Riot Games SEA esports project manager Ban Chee reassured folks that the company will not restrict SEA teams from competing in other esports.
Been receiving multiple enquiries regarding WR teams in Indonesia. We would like to reassure our players that Riot SEA does not restrict WR SEA esports teams from participating in other mobile esports leagues, & we empower our teams to exercise freedom of choice in this space.
— Ban “ChisinX” Chee (@chisinRPL) July 8, 2021
Well, that settles things then. Moonton may need to lighten its current stance on competition if it wants to keep playing the esports long game.
According to sources close to us, Moonton’s MPL policies do not ask teams for exclusivity. While player roster is exclusive, the branding of the teams and organisations are not. For example, if Team A is playing with MPL Indonesia, they can compete in Wild Rift if there is a separate player roster, or if there are transfers during the regular season.
Due to commercial contracts, some teams have to cooperate with Moonton due to a previous agreement, thus are tied to an exclusive requirement on team branding. Apart from that, all teams are allowed to refuse the commercial program and still continue to compete in MPL.
Long story short, this is far from over. But at long as a team has two separate teams for both games, everything may seem golden for now.