Free Minds & Free Markets

Free Games Make Money

League of Legends ( is one of the most popular PC games in the world and the linchpin of a thriving business. It is also free to play. Boasting a player base of 32 million, it invites gamers to select from a roster of more than 100 fantasy-themed champions and duke it out in teams.

Players can succeed at the game without spending a cent. But money unlocks new champions and “skins” (to change a champion’s appearance). A regular flow of new characters and skins brought Riot Games, the Los Angeles developer of League of Legends, enough cash to hold a tournament with a $2 million prize pool last October.

While the free-to-play economic model is not new (especially in Asia), League of Legends is the first freebie to create the kind of gaming culture in the U.S. normally associated with $50-to-$60 offerings. Its massive success shows the economics of free can work for producers as well as consumers.

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  • trig||

    Yeah I've spent more $ on free to play games than on paying games lately. $10 for League of Legends and $20 for Planetside 2. I know a lot of people in planetside that have spent a LOT more.

  • snapch23||

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