On July 10, 2008, it was announced that Riot Games, founded by a pair of industry veterans with a long list of credentials, had secured $7 million in funding from Benchmark Capital and FirstMark Capital to work on a new, as-yet-unnamed title. New board member Mitch Lasky had this to say about the transaction:
“There’s never been a better time for an online games company to succeed. It’s one of the truly dynamic sectors of the games business. I believe that Riot is creating a unique offering for a unique customer.”
Sadly, Lasky’s prediction was incorrect, as the intervening years have seen online gaming activity drop to nearly zero — what with the collapse of World of Warcraft, which was “killed” multiple times by competing MMORPGs — and Riot Games never amounted to anything. That’s not hard to understand, considering some of the radical ideas Lasky was floating around, like:
“New business models, like advertising, subscriptions, micro-payments, and the sale of virtual goods offer flexibility over the traditional retail model.”
It’s tempting to speculate what Riot’s little game would have played like. Sadly, we’ll never know.