League of Legends: Brexit pushes up price of in-game currency

Megahit MOBA League of Legends [official site] will raise the price of its premium microtransaction currency, Riot Points (RP), for UK players by 20% later this month.

Seeing as the pound has tanked since the UK voted last year to leave the European Union, developers Riot Games say players elsewhere in the world have been paying more per point than Kingdomeers. Raising UK prices will “restore balance in RP pricing around the world,” Riot say. That’s bad news for us, but don’t you want RP pricing to be strong and stable? Little bit of politics there, ladies and gentlemen.

Riot Points are used in League of Legends as one of the ways to unlock characters for your account as well as being the currency you need for skins and other cosmetics.

Yesterday’s announcement explained Riot’s reasoning for the price hike:

“Last June, the UK voted to leave the European Union, triggering a drop in the value of the pound relative to other global currencies, particularly the US dollar. This change meant that while UK players were spending the same number of pounds on RP as before, players elsewhere in the world were paying a lot more in comparison.

“Like a lot of companies who sell digital content, we monitored the situation closely over several months to see whether the pound would recover, but it’s been over a year now and we feel we’ve reached the point where a price change is necessary to restore parity.”

At 11:59pm BST on July 25th, prices will go up by about 20%. Riot Points aren’t sold individually but rather in bundles at tidy price points like £5 and £10. Rather than increase the price of bundles, they’ll lower the amount of RP each contains.

Riot are also doing away with the current £2.50 option. They say it “was being used by very few people”, and it’ll soon become a worse proposition. They’re also introduce a new £15 point, as otherwise removing it “would make it harder for players to acquire certain items without buying way more RP than they needed.” It’d be nice if they sold RP on an as-needed basis but hey, that’s microtransaction currencies for you. Behold, the new order:

Riot say, “The result of the change will be that whenever a player in the UK buys RP from 25th July onwards, they will receive roughly the same amount that they would get if they exchanged their money into dollars and bought RP in North America.”

If you like blowing a little cash on pretties, you might want to stock up on RP before then. The RP prices of items won’t go up, only the cost of the Points themselves, so buying before the 26th gives better value.

It was nice of Riot to wait and see if things picked up, rather than making this change immediately. HTC raised the UK price of Vive cybergoggles by £70 within six weeks of the EU referendum. It is a little grim that Riot have evidently decided nah, this won’t change any time soon.

This sort of regional price realignment is fairly common in games — Paradox caused a kerfuffle with their latest — but we in the UK rarely get the hard end of it so clearly. I’d expect more companies to follow Riot’s lead, especially as the first fortnight of official ‘Brexit’ negotiations have mostly involved the Europe Union saying “No, you can’t- that’s not how it wor- it doesn’t- mate I can’t even with you right now.”

I know you love a little bit of politics, madam.

17 Comments

  1. Ghostwise says:

    I hear that if this pricing increase hadn’t taken place, we could funnel £350M a week into the NHS budget.

  2. HigoChumbo says:

    I blame the Pakistanis.

  3. Stargazer86 says:

    Ah, politics. A word that should never be spoken on the internet lest you invite the slithering horror of the grue.

  4. Bforceny says:

    I will label China as a currency manipulator, they have been printing Riot Points to destabilize the economy of the world – great economy by the way – Did you know that? I knew that.

  5. Creeping Death says:

    While I do understand the reason for the price increase Riot and several other developers have or plan to implement I am really curious to see if any of these prices drop again in the future if/when the £ recovers.

    • trjp says:

      When I was a kid our local Fish-and-Chip shop would regularly posted a notice announcing a price rise – usually due to a ‘poor crop of potatoes’ or a ‘shortage of Cod’.

      I once asked the owner when prices would fall again, given blights/shortages are obviously short-term events.

      He looked at me in that way that adults look at children who don’t understand that the life ahead of them is simply a series of shaftings, often without even the briefest of reach-arounds…

      Always interesting to see items which cost nothing to make and have no intrinsic value tracking currency values closely in an effort to ensure their ‘creators’ are rich in all the currencies tho ;0

  6. Landiss says:

    I can’t believe I have to point this out. Decreasing the amount of points in each package by 20% (which is happening) does not mean the price is lowered by 20%. The price per point was increased by 23-26%, depending on the package (in most cases 25%). And I’m pretty sure they know what they are doing when they present it in this favourable way. Also, by the way, check how much pound really lost in this time. Even if you take the most favourable starting point (when the pound was the highest within the last 2 years), the new prices per point in $ are more expensive than they were.

    To sum up – every excuse is good to increase the price.

    • Nelyeth says:

      Ehrm… Your math doesn’t check out. Reduce 1 by 20%, what do you get ? 0.8, I think we both agree. Reduce 975 by 20%, what do you get ? 780. Yet they bumped it down to 790, which is a 19% decrease, and not a 23% one. You got your calculation backwards : 790/975~=0.81 (this corresponds to “we decreased RP by 19%”), while 975/790~=1.23 (i.e a fictional situation where they increase RP by 23%).

      Second, I don’t know about the rates, so I can’t say whether the 20% choice is accurate or not (though if it’s not, I’d expect the LoL forum to call them out on this). Even if it isn’t, you have to take into account the fact they’ve been essentially selling RP cheaper than they should for a year or so. In business terms, this is a loss, and wanting to compensate for a loss isn’t reprehensible.

      • Landiss says:

        1) You have selected the package where they increased the price the least.
        2) I’m not sure what you are arguing really. Yes, they reduced the amount of points in this package by ~19%, which increased the price per point by 23,42%.

        • Landiss says:

          Or perhaps I should make some more real-life example. If on Monday I can get 10 apples for 10 pounds and on Tuesday I only get 5 apples for 10 pounds, this was a decrease of apples amount by 50%, yet increase in price per apple by 100% (from 1 pound per apple to 2 pounds per apple). Is that more clear now?

      • Xipheas says:

        The price can go down by 20% and AT THE SAME TIME, the price per point goes up by 23%.

        Add 10% to 100 and you get 110.
        But you only take around 9.1%% off 110 to get back to 100.

  7. aircool says:

    Eugh!

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