“It was risky to pursue a social feature that had such skepticism among the League community, but by putting players first and really understanding their concerns, we were able to deliver a useful feature that continues to foster meaningful player experiences.”
-- Matthew Enthoven, Product Manager (League of Legends)
Success Story: Riot Games’ League of Legends
Riot Games is a player-focused game developer with a worldwide presence.
Building In-Game Relationships through Real-Life Connections
Riot’s popular and global game, League of Legends (LoL), focuses on a shared competitive and social experience. Despite a fully operational social system, it was still challenging for players to find and play with their real-life friends. League had a community of millions but didn’t have a system for sorting out which of those community members were a part of a player’s actual social circle.
Riot helped players solve this pain point with a new LoL feature called “Facebook Friend Discovery.”
Teaming Up with Facebook
Riot is emphatic that League of Legends is more fun when played with friends. After discovering that Facebook was the leading social network among players in several territories, the company decided to leverage the unique advantages provided by Facebook Login to help players connect with one another. Riot launched a Login-integrated feature in LoL called “Facebook Friend Discovery;” using this feature, players could easily link their Facebook account to the game and generate a list of friend recommendations based on Facebook friends who also linked their LoL accounts.
Riot sought feedback from LoL players about their perceptions of social integrations in order to spot potential risks. For example, many players surveyed conveyed general mistrust of such integrations, having had bad experiences with other apps that didn’t give them enough agency over the connection. To help reassure players that they have control of the experience with Facebook Login, Riot Games adopted a staggered launch schedule with an emphasis on the optional nature of the connection. In communications to players both within LoL and on forums, Riot avoided the use of terms that would remind players of their previous bad experiences (e.g. “import,” “connect,” “link”), and instead focused on the key benefit Facebook integration provided: “Find your Friends.” Finally, Riot reassured players that it would never post to their wall. This approach gives players a feeling of control and empowerment over their virtual identity both in LoL and on Facebook.
Friend Discovery – at Scale
The overwhelming majority of players who linked their account were very pleased with the integration and highly satisfied by the new “Friend Discovery” feature. Most of the players surveyed indicated that they were glad that Riot took the time to make this feature.
Riot used player feedback to determine appropriate rewards for players who linked their Facebook account with their LoL account; rewards served the dual purpose of improving the value created for players and driving awareness of the new feature. Thanks to the mystery skin reward, players began encouraging their friends to also sign up. Players who hadn’t yet opted in saw the reward announcement, which spurred them to ask about how to get it and resulted in still more Facebook logins and friend connections.
Focusing on the Player, Not the Feature
Thanks to Facebook’s partner communications and comprehensive APIs, Riot Games successfully delivered a strong, interactive experience friends can enjoy together through Login integration. Riot’s key takeaways in this venture:
- Understand the audience’s perceptions and interactions with social media before starting feature development
- Be transparent with players at all phases of feature creation
- Focus first on the value a feature brings to its community
The care and consideration shown by Riot Games worked out: to date, over 4 million players have connected their LoL account to Facebook. Together, these players generated over 15 million new friend connections, providing a more engaging overall experience that friends can enjoy together.