Thanks to the immense social footprint of League of Legends, the most popular community idea for Microsoft’s HoloLens was a spectator client for Riot’s iconic MOBA. But it’s something that’s never going to happen, according to a response from Microsoft.
“We love this idea, the creativity, and the level of support it has received from the League of Legends community,” the team behind Microsoft’s augmeneted reality technology wrote on the Share Your Idea listing for the LoL match viewer.
But that’s all it will remain: an idea. According to the HoloLens team, they’re not able to create anything that is built on “existing intellectual property”. And part of that is due to the fourth piece of criteria on how the finalist ideas are chosen, which is whether the project can be open sourced.
“Lastly, we want to share the development process with everyone,” Microsoft’s guidelines for the community-driven competition says. “That means all of the intellectual property and ideas have be open to the public. We will think about how useful the resulting application will be to developers once it is open sourced, and the opportunity for the community to extend the application in new and interesting directions once it is open for contributions and forking.”
There’s no mention of whether Microsoft reached out to Riot, or whether Riot reached out to Microsoft, on whether they would be open to having a HoloLens spectator client be open-sourced. I’ve emailed Riot for further comment, but for now it seems like the dream of spectating League in a holographic form — or any other popular game not owned by Microsoft — will remain just that: a dream.
Update (5:31 PM): As pointed out by Morgan Jaffit on Twitter, Riot and Microsoft could still create a separate HoloLens client for League of Legends outside of the realms of the competition. The rules state that winning ideas will be released as open source products to other developers, but that doesn’t mean Riot couldn’t create a first-party solution of their own down the road.
I’m still waiting to hear back from Riot on whether they’d be interested in doing something like this, so for now there’s no progress on an actual HoloLens viewer. And it won’t win Microsoft’s competition — that’s a guarantee. But as for the future, who knows.