The best products are made by user-focused teams, and Riot Games, who are behind the world's most popular game, League of Legends, strive to develop games that both they themselves and their users love to play.
Riot Games have impressive numbers confirming their enormous success; 67 million people are playing every month, 27 million of those play every day, and over 7.5 million are playing at the same time during each day’s peak play time. What is the secret behind the product everyone loves and what can other industries learn from this amazing success story? We took a deep dive into their great work and found these useful tips to follow their success:
1. First Build a Great Team, Then Build a Great Product
Before you build your product - before you build anything - you need to build your team. It is one of the key factors that determine success or failure of the development process or the product itself. Think of your team as a mosaic. You’ve got all these separate pieces, each functional and capable in their own right, but it would have never been possible to create a full image without all of them working together.
Riot Games is a great example - it was established in 2006 by a couple of entrepreneurial gamers in Los Angeles, and they've now reached 19 offices across the globe. To ensure worldwide success, they cross pollinated their team over the world, spreading their culture across the new locations, and let it grow naturally. If you still ask what is so fantastic about it, check the last years’ Fortune's lists "100 Best Companies to Work For".
2. Never Stop Thinking of Your Customers
Putting players before revenue, Riot Games has set a new standard on how video games should be made and maintained. It was one of the early games designed to allow free access to all the content. It’s still free-to-play and contains no ads or boxed copy sales and instead relies on microtransactions and other modes of revenue generation. This is a draw for many people as they don’t have to invest in a platform, pay for a download or a subscription.
By focusing on the needs of your customers and providing added value wherever you can, you are ensuring continued growth of their interest, loyalty, and in the end profitability of your own business as well.
3. Explore the Magic of Good User Experience
One of the reasons League of Legends has become so popular, is Riot Games’ focus on delivering an excellent player experience. It’s number one on their manifesto. However, this emphasis doesn’t mean only a constant focus on providing new, player friendly features, and attempts to keep the game engaging. There is another secret behind League of Legends that aligns with the Riot Games team mantra; the game is best played with a team, where players have to band together to defeat the enemy. What does this really mean in terms of the product success? That’s easy math: A happy gamer adds other friends which equals organic player growth.
The power of a connection works everywhere, inside and outside your product. Don’t forget that people are not alone out there and they will talk about your product. If you do things right, there is nothing to worry about. This is a path to your growing numbers.
4. Exploit the Power of Customer Feedback
Always listen to the users of your product. How do they feel using your product? What features do they really like? What do they recommend to improve? Follow their feedback and do your updates accordingly.
Growth of League of Legends has forced Riot Games to realise this is extremely important and they need to keep the dialog between developers and the community constantly open. They have found several ways for how to consolidate player reactions, like interaction with players in their forums or sharing “Inside Design” developer diaries. With 27 million daily users, you can be sure there is always someone who will be happy to comment on your work.
5. Remember That Less Is Sometimes More
Instead of churning out several games at the same time, Riot Games bet on one game, which has allowed their focus to ensure the success of a single product. With a continual improvement process, they’ve got a lot of learning on product development and user needs. Based on this experience, now they are more than ready to enter the door that League of Legends has opened for them. In the words of Travis George, Head of Product, EU at Riot Games: 'One of the things we get pulled up on is the fact that Riot Games is plural, with only one game. So a second game is obviously on the cards.'
Are you impressed by phenomenal success of Riot Games? Join us at UXDX in November and learn from the best. Travis George from Riot Games will discuss how they identify key product and team opportunities for a more meaningful user experience and product growth opportunities. Tickets for the conference can be found here.