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Riot Games invests in maker Aim Lab to build on training and mobile goals

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Riot Games, the publisher of video games such as “League of Legends” and “Valorant”, has acquired a minority stake in Aim developer Lab Statespace, the two companies announced on Wednesday. The move will see Aim Lab, the free virtual shooting range, designated as the official training platform for “Valorant”, with in-game weapons, maps and physics integrated into the training app. Riot also said it intends to develop “Valorant” coaching and scouting tools in conjunction with Statespace.

But the ambitions of the two companies go even further. Jake Perlman-Garr, global head of corporate development at Riot Games, hinted at the possibility of expanding Aim Lab’s offerings to meet fan demands for Riot’s other games, including those on other games. platforms.

“We have a number of MOBAs – ‘Wild Rift’ on mobile, League of Legends’ on desktop – and it would be great to see if some of the other offerings Statespace is exploring might be suitable for those communities as well,” says Perlman-Garr.

Aim Lab isn’t currently available on mobile, but during an interview with The Washington Post, Statespace CEO Wayne Mackey lifted his phone – with Aim Lab running – in the call Zoom. Mackey said the release of a mobile version of Aim Lab is imminent.

“We’re launching Aim Lab mobile next month,” Mackey said. “It’s ready to go.”

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Riot and Statespace declined to share financial details of the transaction between the two companies. The partnership, Mackey said, would give Statespace more leeway to design new offerings for gamers, rather than just optimizations tweaks to features they already had.

“For us, we’re looking to really reduce the friction between playing the game you love and getting better at the game you love,” Mackey said.

As hypothetical examples of what this might look like, he described a player being given the option to immediately participate in a coaching or gameplay review session after losing a “Valorant” match, or that same player being rewarded for their training. in a way that was reflected in the game client.

In April, Riot announced plans to introduce a new competitive game mode in “Valorant” that could act as an on-ramp for players to enter the game’s esports scene. Asked about possible synergies between scouting ambitions of Aim Lab and the upcoming competitive mode, Mackey declined to elaborate, but said, “Your intuition is spot on.”

“When we think of scouting, we think of it more in the sense of the social connections of the people you would like to play with and who you would like to play with, both skill-wise and personality-wise, and how do we put that together,” Mackey said. “What we looked at [with respect to scouting tools] is like a first productization of these ideas and the research that we have been carrying out for probably two years.

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There are no plans to integrate Aim Lab directly into the “Valorant” client. Mackey also said the arrangement with Riot would not change the experience for players coming to Aim Lab to prepare for other games, such as “Rainbow Six Siege,” nor would it divert resources from healthcare and Statespace research.

“Whether [this partnership] one day allows Ubisoft, another of our great partners, to decide, oh, we can go further too [with Aim Lab]I think in a way, selfishly, we hope that’s what happens,” Mackey said.

Aim Lab has hovered in “Valorant” orbit since the game launched in 2020. Aim Lab has hosted “Valorant” esports-themed challenges, and official match streams often include ads for the software. training – specifically its training replicas of existing in-game cards. scenery from the animated series.

When discussing the deal, Perlman-Garr and Mackey called the announcement simply the culmination of a relationship that had already been fruitful for both parties.

“I think that’s an example of the kind of value we can add where, in addition to something like just capital, we have a lot of expertise,” Perlman-Garr said of the involvement of riot. “We have five major titles being launched and I’m sure more are in the pipeline. So I think when it comes to differentiating ourselves from others in the market, [we can] deepen a partnership related to one of our games and help that product succeed or achieve goals that it probably could not achieve without our partnership.