How a Successful Business Started with a Free Product


“LOL, what?”

This might be the question that parents from the world over seem to be asking. Just when they thought they already knew how to talk like a ‘Millennial’ and be hip in chat messaging, moms and dads seem to need more time to learn about the world that their kids live in.

Members of Generation Y and Z would laugh when a Boomer or a Gen-Xer would assume it’s simply “laughing out loud.” Among Millennials and younger children today, the term LOL would most likely refer to League of Legends.

Collectively known as Summoners, the loyal followers or players spend hours upon hours of game time, often to the bewilderment of their parents who grew up playing hopscotch with neighbors on asphalt roads in the ’60s, ’70s, and early ’80s. If only these parents knew the business behind the gaming phenomenon, they would have more interest in it.

One of the Most Popular Games Online

More popularly called LOL, this real-time strategy (RTS) and role-playing game (RPG) commands millions of followers or players worldwide. It is so popular that hardcore fans spend their money to purchase LOL bronze accounts or other packages sold online.

Of course, there are also Gold, Silver, Platinum, and other special packages to choose from. Verified online account sellers do brisk business daily, especially since there are at least 50 million people who play the game.

The attraction of purchasing one of these accounts from an account seller is that the gamer or player need not take a long time to play and reach a certain rank. The account also “boosts” the skill level of the player even if he or she is relatively new to it. There is also exclusive gameplay access in these accounts. Buying the offer will also provide opportunities to play with other skilled gamers, leading to greater thrill and improved gaming skills.

Online, avid gamers can also browse and choose self-leveled packages reconfigured based on the preferences of LOL fans. The deals on these packages allow the player to select based on skill level, game champions, and game skins, to name a few.

So What’s It All About?

What’s the big deal about another online video game? Aren’t there hundreds if not thousands of games out there? What makes this game so widely played?

The video game offers fun, thrill, and fantasy as it allows its players to dress up their characters (for a price, which makes for a good income stream for the company). It as several levels as part of the gameplay, and the virtual wars and battles on the digital platform are excellent by friends young and old.  Finally, the game can be played in from across the seas with no time zone barriers. At least 27 million people play the game every day around the globe.

What is more interesting is the amount of money made by the company that created this game. In 2019, the game earned at least $1.5 Billion in revenue for Riot Games, a video game development company founded in Los Angeles, California back in 2006. The company has a team of professional gamers employed to play the game for hours.

These games are broadcast live and watched by fans live on satellite, video streaming platforms, on Youtube, and cable television. The company also organizes LOL conventions or mass gatherings of players who pit against each other in battle but all in the spirit of gaming bliss. These conventions or tournaments typically have a 5 to 10 dollar entrance ticket price.

Why It’s Free and How It Earns Billions

The exciting thing about this gaming phenomenon is its business model. The company that developed the game charge zero fees to people who wish to download the game application. It is free.

Perhaps the strategy of the game developer was to get as many people as possible to sign up on an account, experience the gameplay, and develop a mass following.

As was shown brilliantly in their business history, Riot Games was able to generate income from game enhancements bought by players. Such improvements can be bought anywhere from $2to $50, a small sum that is nevertheless multiplied into millions of dollars as fans collectively shop and enjoy the extras. Players also pay to use certain characters, which is another way for the company to make money.

So looking at all the cash that is generated by the company that made it, it is not a game at all but real serious business.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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