How Much Money Does Riot Make On a New Skin? (League of Legends)

What’s up guys it’s me Jeremy. In 2016, Riot Games released a total of 74 new skins, not including chroma packs, for League of Legends. Riot also released their earnings for the year of 2016 where they showed a revenue of just about $1.8 Billion Dollars. That’s a lot of skins! Now of course, a lot of that revenue comes from things other than skins, but there’s no denying, Riot sells a lot of skins, and they certainly release quite a lot of skins as well to keep up with the demand for new content.

Now, although Riot doesn’t share more in depth statistics for their sales and things like that, there are a few past events we can draw information from. Starting with some information from a while back, In 2011 Riot held a charity event for the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami fund, where they ran a promotion with the Red Cross to donate 100% of the profit from Nurse Akali to the charity. And it was later announced that they had raised over $160,000 dollars and sold over 50,000 copies of the skin.

This brings them out to an average profit of $3.2 per skin sold, however it’s likely that the margin would increase if they sold a lot more copies, since the production costs of a skin remain the same whether you sell 1 copy or 1 million copies of it. (Source: http://forums.na.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?t=633653) In 2012, Riot had another charity event involved with Make a Wish, where they sold the Jaximus skin at 50% off and donated 100% of the revenue to charity for the duration of the event and sale, which lasted for a total of two weeks. It was later announced that they had raised $480,000 for charity during this event.

(Source: http://www.lowelo.com/blog/2012/7/13/in-memoriam-joe.html) Now, those numbers are of course a small fraction of what things are like today. Back in 2011 and 2012 league of legends was a much smaller game. But there’s even more information and more recent statistics to go off of. In October of 2016, it was announced that a little over $3 million would be added to the worlds prize pool, as a result of 25% of the revenue from Championship Zed and the Championship Ward skin. This means the total revenue for those two was around $12 million.

However, we can’t really say how much of that was the skin and how much was the ward. Although ward skins might be cheaper, there is a larger appeal since a zed skin is only something zed players would want, while the ward is something potentially anyone could purchase. (Source: http://www.lolesports.com/en_US/articles/update-fan-contributions-worlds-prize-pool) Riot also announced that if had they done this type of promotion for the Worlds prize pool in 2015, Championship Kalista would have and I quote “More than doubled the prize pool”. Which means that with the prize pool of $2.13 Million, Champion Kalista made at least $8.5 Million, likely a bit more since they said it was more than double, not just double.

(Source: http://www.lolesports.com/en_US/articles/lol-esports-now-and-future) Now of course, how much a skin sells depends quite a lot on a ton of factors, including but not limited to the popularity of the champion, the price of the skin, the promotion and marketing material behind the release, as well as the quality of the skin itself. In the case of skins like Championship Kalista and Championship Zed, the skins are only on sale for a short period of time, and then are taken down from the store. And although that may cause a lot of hype and sales for the duration those two weeks, the skins that remain on the store forever slowly accumulate sales here and there, and likely surpass any temporary promotions. The championship skins were both 975 RP, but based on the statistics provided, the most accurate estimate, is that they made around $10 million or so each. Not too bad for a 975 rp skin!

As for the more expensive ones, it’s a tough call since you can’t be sure how many copies of a more expensive skin they might sell relative to the cheaper ones. And going back to the overall revenue numbers, if we consider the average of $10 million per skin, 74 new skins a year, that’s $740 million, and with a revenue of 1.8 Billion that does start to seem like a realistic estimate. Add in a ton for champions, as well as a bit for some of the older skins, and bits and pieces here and there for things like summoner icons, ward skins, and name changes, and $10 Million of revenue per skin is looking to be pretty accurate.

Perhaps it’s a bit of an overestimate, but it’s tough to generalize since obviously each skin individually is going to make drastically different amounts of revenue compared to one another. Considering that the skin department is actually relatively small compared to other departments at Riot Games, it’s quite interesting to see how successful skins really can be, and one things for sure, is that we can count on Riot Games to release more skins in the future. So thanks for watching! All of the information used to put this video together can be found at links in the description, so check em out if you want, but anyway that’s going to be it, so I’ll see you guys next time.