Esports organizations participating in Mobile Legends could be forced to drop or never sign a team for Wild Rift due to a signed exclusivity contract with developer Moonton (owned by short-form video app TikTok), according to a report by Wild Rift news outlet WRCompetitive.
Team Secret CEO John Yao weighed in on the report on Facebook, noting that the ability to participate in multiple titles is crucial to the survival of esports organizations. He also indicated that compensation from Moonton would have to be substantial to justify such an exclusive deal. Team Secret recently entered Wild Rift, marking the organization’s expansion into the Philippines.
While it has not made a significant global impact, Mobile Legends is a major esport in Southeast Asia – the region currently seeing the most esports activity for Wild Rift. Several organizations in the region that field Mobile Legends teams have already signed Wild Rift rosters. European organization Alliance also entered the region through Wild Rift. earlier this year.
While not specifically mentioning Mobile Legends, Riot Games Esports Project Manager for Southeast Asia Ban Chee tweeted as discussions surrounding this report were mounting on social media. In his post, Chee stated his reassurance that Wild Rift would not restrict SEA teams from competing in other esports.
Exclusivity contracts of this nature are largely non-existent in esports, though some companies have tried to reduce the exposure given to competing titles by their esports athletes. An early, leaked version of LCS player contracts had a clause which prohibited the livestreaming of select video games. Following significant public backlash, this clause was removed. In 2019, Riot also fined G2 Esports when World of Warcraft Classic was shown on one of its player’s computers during an LEC broadcast.
SBJ has reached out to Moonton for comment.