Riot wants out of its deal with disgraced crypto firm FTX (edited)

Per a recent court filing, Riot Games wants to break off from its $96 million deal with FTX after the arrest of its founder Sam Bankman-Fried. Understandably, Riot wants to prematurely cut the deal made with FTX in August 2021 because of public perception. 

Bankman-Fried was arrested last week, and faces charges of money laundering and fraud. That kind of press is impacting the League of Legends developer financially and reputation-wise, particularly since the 30-year-old founder is a self-professed League fan. 

“Riot’s image and reputation to its customer base, remained inextricably linked to FTX through its former CEO, Mr. Bankman-Fried,” wrote the developer in its filing. Bankman-Fried’s face was photoshopped onto images of League of Legends across outlets and social media, continued Riot, and prior to his arrest, he confessed to playing League during business meetings.

As crypto researcher Molly White explains, the deal between the two companies was intended to last through 2028, and FTX has thus far only paid $6.25 (roughly half its payment) for 2022. 2023’s payment to Riot would amount to $12.875 million, and subsequent years would see rises. 

FTX declared bankruptcy in late November, meaning it couldn’t pay Riot the money it owes even if it wanted to. Further, the developer (quite scathingly) added that “There is simply no way for FTX to cure the reputational harm already caused to Riot…FTX cannot turn back the clock and undo the damage inflicted on Riot in the wake of its collapse.”

Riot isn’t the only game developer that FTX has gotten in bed with. Earlier this year, the crypto company acquired Good Luck Games, developer of the PC game Storybook Brawl. At time of writing, Good Luck hasn’t commented on how FTX’s recent troubles have affected the developer. 

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