The third-party Steam key resellers have fallen afoul of the League of Legends developers, and it could spell disaster for some prominent professional teams.
The report from Daily Dot kicked off what could be a new powder keg in League of Legends. G2A, a third-party reseller of keys for Steam and other digital marketplaces, had been promoting another site that sold League of Legends (LoL) accounts and services where gamers could pay to have their LoL accounts boosted.
Understandably, Riot were hardly impressed by this and after what one of the company's staffers publicly described as "many weeks of back and forth conversations", the developer decided to ban the key reseller as a sponsor.
"We do not at all enjoy affecting the income of the teams, but the LCS rules include guidelines specifically against this sort of thing. We did however keep teams in the loop during the process in an attempt to avoid any surprises," Riot's Sargonas wrote on Reddit. He added in further comments that Riot specifically requested G2A "remove all account selling and boosting-site links".
G2A has been a prominent backer for many professional organisations in the past. The reseller jumped on board with ESL to sponsor the ESL One Frankfurt event earlier this year. They've put money behind Team Liquid and currently sponsor Cloud9 (whose CS:GO squad is travelling to Melbourne for this weekend's $55,555 Crown Invitational), paiN Gaming, H2K, Counter Logic Gaming and others.
Those teams will have to drop G2A as a sponsor, and the end result will almost certainly — although it must be stressed that this hasn't happened yet — result in G2A following rival reseller Kinguin in abandoning all its League of Legends sponsorships.
Sargonas added that teams have been kept informed throughout the process "in an attempt to avoid any surprises", but given the nature of sponsorships that might not be a pleasant outcome. What will be interesting to see is whether G2A switches tack and moves their marketing dollars into more Dota 2 or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams, where the reseller already has an established presence.