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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.

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Alice O'Connor

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When not writing news, Alice may be found in the sea.

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