Riot Games raises $8 Million in financing

Riot Games is an independent Los Angeles-based game developer and publisher active since 2006.

At the moment the guys at Riot Games are developing League of Legends, a competitive online game that combines elements from both strategy and role playing games.

League of Legends

Unfortunately at the moment the beta seems to be closed, but I’m trying to get one account to test the game. Meanwhile you may want to check their Facebook fan page.

Why do I absolutely want to see League of Legends? What makes the difference between Riot Games and the rest of indie studios?

Well, maybe the $8,000,000 of funding they closed today with top venture capital firms, Benchmark Capital and FirstMark Capital, and the Chinese online services company Tencent. Tencent is the leading provider of internet value-added services with more than 400 million users and the largest digital goods company in China, which operates a fast growing online games business.

Ron Burgess from fortyseven communications, a fan of this blog, sent me the full press release I am happy to share with you

RIOT GAMES RAISES $8 MILLION IN FINANCING LED BY TENCENT HOLDINGS, BENCHMARK CAPITAL AND FIRSTMARK CAPITAL

Strategic Investment Underscores the Global Promise of Riot’s Game Quality,
Publishing Platform and Digital Goods-Based Monetization Strategy

Los Angeles – Aug. 9, 2009 – Riot Games, a leading independent developer and publisher of premium online games, has closed a round of financing with the top venture capital firms, Benchmark Capital and FirstMark Capital, and the Chinese online services company Tencent. Tencent is the leading provider of internet value-added services with more than 400 million users and the largest digital goods company in China, which operates a fast growing online games business. The investment of these strategic players signals Riot’s leadership position as an emerging leader of next generation games based on a digital goods economic model.

Although still nascent in western markets, Riot’s session-based, free-to-play, virtual item-based business model is by far the most popular business model for monetizing games in Asia. While most North American and European publishers continue to prioritize a packaged goods model, Riot has embraced the “games-as-service” model, which it believes is undoubtedly the future of games and a major global opportunity.

“Riot is fortunate to have such a strong and diverse group of investors who support our vision of combining triple A quality gaming content with the emerging free to play business model,” said Brandon Beck, CEO, Riot Games. “With our focus on delivering and operating core games as premium, live services that constantly adapt to our customers’ needs, we have a unique opportunity to build global franchises. This new investment comes as Riot prepares the worldwide launch of its flagship League of Legends title, and further positions the company as a leader in next-generation online games.”

Riot Games’ first free premium game League of Legends is slated to launch in North America this Fall. Earlier this year, Riot Games and Tencent announced a distribution partnership for Riot’s “League of Legends” in the Chinese market. For more information, please visit www.riotgames.com

About Riot Games

Riot Games, Inc. is an independent Los Angeles-based video game online video game developer and publisher, funded by venture capital firms Benchmark Capital and Firstmark Capital as well as China’s largest internet and online gaming company, Tencent. The Company was established in 2006 to develop innovative online next-generation titles for consoles, mobile devices and the PC. Comprised of industry veterans with a shared passion for creating fun, innovative gameplay, the company is currently developing a cutting-edge online gaming platform. Riots’s first title, League of Legends combines the best elements of the action role-playing and real-time strategy genres into a uniquely replayable and competitive multiplayer experience.

About FirstMark Capital

Based in New York City, FirstMark Capital, has established itself as a venture leader with a strong, international reach over its thirteen year history. FirstMark invests in companies that are creating new markets with innovative technology solutions or disrupting existing markets by applying a novel business model. With nearly $2 billion in capital commitments, FirstMark’s team of investment and operations professionals have decades of real-world experience and leadership in core technology markets, making the firm uniquely qualified to offer industry insight, relationships and the operational expertise to partner with entrepreneurs to build lasting businesses. Select historical investments include: Netgear, Inc. (NASDAQ: NTGR); First Advantage Corp. (NASDAQ: FADV); StubHub, Inc (Acquired by eBay, Inc.); Netegrity, Inc. (Acquired by CA Inc); Flarion, Inc. (Acquired by Qualcomm, Inc.); OutlookSoft Inc. (Acquired by SAP AG); Analex Corp. (Acquired by QinetiQ); Vallent (Acquired by IBM); Syndesis (Acquired by Subex) and Navic (Acquired by Microsoft). For more information, please visit www.firstmarkcap.com.

About Benchmark Capital

Benchmark Capital, a leading international venture capital firm, was founded in 1995 to help talented entrepreneurs with original ideas build successful technology companies. Benchmark’s general partners take a team-oriented, labor-intensive approach to venture investing to deliver a superior level of service to the firm’s portfolio companies. Benchmark’s portfolio includes high-profile start-ups like Infinera, MySQL, OpenTable, Second Life, Tellme, Yelp, and Zillow, and franchise companies such as eBay, Juniper Networks and Red Hat. The firm manages nearly $2.8 billion in committed venture capital. For more information on Benchmark Capital, visit its website at www.benchmark.com.

The only thing I can say is “well done guys”, and I’m looking forward to play League of Legends.

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