Riot Games Raises $8M, Goes After China Gaming Market

Riot Games socialRiot Games is planning to launch a new game in October, called League of Legends, that combines hardcore gaming with casual online features. Today, the company announced that it has raised $8 million from leading Chinese social media company Tencent and existing investors Benchmark Capital and FirstMark Capital.

In Legends, players are “summoners” — wizards that summon “champions” to fight each other in battle. You can have up to six people per team, earn skill that you can carry across battles. My former colleague at VentureBeat, Dean Takahashi, has more on how the company plans to make money:

The game is a free-to-play game, meaning players can start playing for free. If they want to decorate their characters or buy time-saving features, they have to pay. Riot was able to set up the virtual goods system in a deal with Fatfoogoo, a virtual goods and electronic commerce platform maker. With Fatfoogoo, the company was able to add two kinds of currency: one that you can earn through experience, the other that you can buy with real money. Games with these dual currency systems are considered more fair, since rich players can’t entirely buy their way to victory. Players can spend the currency in the game’s store, where they can buy a variety of items.

League of Legends will first roll out in the U.S. and Europe, and later expand to Asia. Tencent, notably, plans to carry the game to its hundreds of millions of users in China.