LoL Oceanic Pro League has Been Dissolved and Riot Games Closes Sydney Office
It’s truly a sad day not just for the OPL, but for Oceanic Esports in general. Today, we learned that LoL’s Oceanic Pro League dissolved, and it gets worse from there. Riot Games is also closing down its Sydney office in Australia. It’s already hard to be a pro player in the Oceania region. With serious latency issues when trying to play outside of Australia and a scene that’s not taken seriously by outsiders, it’s a huge blow to the esports of the area as a whole. Despite this, the Mid-Season Invitational and World Championship Qualifiers for 2021 will still go ahead as scheduled in the region.
A Crowded Market
We have to ask: Would anyone really want to go forward and play, knowing their region is doomed? Maybe for pride, maybe to show that their region isn’t a joke. We love so many of the Oceania teams here at Esports Talk, so we’re very disappointed to see this. We aren’t shocked though, with the OCE operating subsidy being removed earlier this year.
What does Riot Games have to say about this sudden development? Malte Wagener, Managing Director, NA & OCE, and Tom Martell, Director of Operations, Global Esports cite that “the OPL has not met our goals for the league, and we do not believe that the market is currently able to support the league in its current form.”
So apparently this decision really isn’t too sudden. We were musing last year that the end of the LoL Oceanic Pro League could be coming, and not even a year later, it’s been dissolved. There are eight teams in the OPL right now, and there’s no telling what the future will hold for them. Perhaps they will be able to join other parts of their organizations, but we have no idea what will come. Here’s what we do know though.
The OPL players will be integrated into the NA region, and LCS teams will no longer have to use an import slot to bring OCE players onto their teams. This sounds great on paper. But you also have to consider how crowded the LCS scene is right now. The top slots are already going to players who simply aren’t putting forth their best effort to win, and NA doesn’t look to stand a chance in this year’s Worlds. It would be interesting to see some of the LoL Oceanic Pro League players come back after their region dissolved and take an NA spot or two.
Wagener and Martell have said “Riot remains fully committed to supporting all players in OCE, and we are excited for what’s to come in 2021 and beyond,”, but that doesn’t sound like support at all. That sounds like jumping off a sinking ship and leaving a couple of inflatable rafts for your crew. What’s going to happen to the Riot Games employees in Sydney? Will they get offered spots at other offices? Or are they just out of luck? There’s no word on that right now. It’s going to be a hard few months for the OCE players, but we genuinely hope they land on their feet.
With COVID1- still running the planet, it’s going to be harder than ever for these players to find a new home. What we would like to see as a possibility is a merging of regions. Perhaps the OCE players could join SEA teams and the two regions could merge somehow. That would keep them remotely close to home, while also being able to compete with solid players.
There are some remarkable talents in the Oceanic Pro League though, and they could really make waves in NA, Europe, or elsewhere. But right now, there’s no plan in place that we’ve seen. It’s truly a sad day for the League of Legends community just in general. The OCE region has some of the most passionate fans and hardest working players. They’ve had to suffer setback after setback, so we’re curious to see what’s next. We’d love to see some of them come to find homes in the NA region though.
Do you have thoughts on what could have fixed this, or what could be done in the future? Be sure to let us know!