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Why Are League Skins So Expensive?


Picture this. You go to the League of Legends in game store to purchase a skin for a friend of yours. Maybe it’s their birthday or a different special occasion. You look for their favorite skin, Elementalist Lux, only to find out that it’s worth 3,250 Riot Points, which, as you might have guessed, is way more than most would be willing to pay for an in game skin.

There are multiple reasons for League of Legends skins being so expensive. These reasons range from the licensing rights to specific skins being very expensive to the fact that the game itself is free to play and the developers need to make money in some way. There’s also the cost of making a skin and the whole rarity factor to consider.

We’ll be going through all the reasons why specific League of Legends skins are so expensive so that the next time you know why you’re paying such a hefty price for a cosmetic item.

Reason #1: Licensing Costs

The first reason, and perhaps the most uncommon one is the fact that certain skins in the game require Riot to pay money to other companies to get the licensing rights to their characters or themes.

Don’t get what we mean? Well, certain champion skins such as the Star Guardian and Odyssey skins require licensing agreements with the companies that own the intellectual property rights to these characters. However, these agreements can be expensive. We’re talking potentially six figures expensive.

So what does Riot do? They make it so the cost of the licensing agreements is passed on to the consumer in the form of higher prices most of the time. This is the reason you’ll find certain special licensed skins to be more expensive than others.

Reason #2: Developing Cost

Now, it’s pretty obvious that making a skin is tough work. You have to first design the skin sprite, then you have to implement all the animations to ensure everything is working smoothly. After that you need to work on specific artwork that’s special to that skin only. To wrap everything up, certain skins also require you to think of and work on a unique recall animation JUST for that skin.

As you can imagine, this isn’t a job for just anyone. Therefore, Riot has to pay various different people to develop even one skin. Noe, Riot has to make the money back somehow, right? What better way to do that AND make a profit in the meantime than by simply setting the cost of the skins high?

This isn’t even mentioning how long it can potentially take to develop even one skin. Some skins have been said to have taken months to be finished, so it’s only natural Riot would want to make it worth their time.

Reason #3: Rarity

The entire fun of a gacha or mystery box system in any game is the fact that certain characters, skins, or other items are rarer than others. This makes getting a rare item from a lootbox all the more special, and flaunting it to other players even more fun.

However, if every skin was worth the same amount of money, then players would simply go for the rarest skin. Like this, rarity would have no meaning as players would be able to very easily simply purchase whatever skin they want instead of trying their hands at winning them by getting lucky when opening chests.

To stop this from happening, and to give players a reason to hunt for chests every season, Riot made it so certain skins are very expensive. So much so that most players would think more than just twice before even considering the skin a good purchase. This ensures that the rarity aspect is still there and you don’t see legendary rarity skins in every single match.

Reason #4: Revenue Stream

Now, it’s a well known fact that League of Legends is a game that’s completely free to play. However, with them having so many employees under their umbrella, it’s only natural that they would have to pay all of them a fair wage for all the hard work they put in. However, how are they supposed to do that if they aren’t making any money from their most popular game?

Well, that’s where skins and other in game purchases come in. Riot as a whole, relies on in-game purchases, such as skins, to generate revenue. The high cost of skins is part of this revenue stream, and it allows Riot to continue developing and updating the game.

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