Riot Games suspended the 2020 League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) Spring Split on March 13, due to concerns over the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Fortunately, it looks like the North American game developer may be transitioning to an online game format in the upcoming weeks, according to esports consultant Rod “Slasher” Breslau.
Riot Games LCS officials and esports team owners are working together towards a plan that brings back LCS by as early as next weekend with games played online from LCS team facilities, sources tell me
— Rod 'I don't sign NDAs or embargoes' Breslau (@Slasher) March 16, 2020
LCS with online game format
Riot Games has been working with esports organization owners to bring the LCS to an online game format. Players would be based out of their respective team facilities. However, referees from the LCS would be sent to each team, to make sure that all the guidelines are followed. This is the same system that the League of Legends Pro League (LPL) has been operating with.
However, Slasher says that the referee aspect is a safety concern shared by both Riot Games and LCS organizations. There are also potential issues with competitive integrity since the players would be competing on their own equipment. A recent requirement that gatherings in San Francisco must have only 10 or fewer people could also impact the viability of this plan.
Riot Games following suit
The online game format system has already been adopted by the Overwatch League, which has changed the structure of the regions. This is because latency is a major aspect of online gaming, which can give a particular team an advantage over another. Granted, the Mid-Season Invitational will not occur anymore, but it is unclear whether the same will happen for the League of Legends scene.
Some fans have asked whether the same would be done with the European LEC league, while others have commented that the internet infrastructure in Europe is worse than the United States, which would make it much harder to implement. The South Korean LCK was also canceled after host Mina Kim showed symptoms on broadcast, but Riot Games Korea has been considering a potential transition to the online game format as well.