MANILA, Philippines — Riot Games‘ expansion into the Asia-Pacific region continues with the establishment of its presence in the Philippines.
A new team – under the banner of Riot Games’ Philippines operation – is slowly growing with its lead with the country’s general manager Joel Guzman at the forefront.
After calling himself a “gaming agnostic”, playing all kinds of games from PC to mobile and even tabletop, Guzman felt it was a dream come true to be a part of the industry he was passionate about. .
He was previously at Microsoft, managing OEM devices, but later seized the opportunity to lead the Singapore-based Xbox category management team.
“It was like my gateway into gaming. I was devices, then games, and with the pandemic I wanted to be closer to my family, so I moved back to the Philippines. [Riot Games] the opportunity came up which was perfect timing and I luckily got the part,” Guzman shared in an interview with Philstar.com.
One of his team’s top priorities is to “hyper serve” the market as they value Filipino players and want to make sure their presence is felt by the community.
He described it by focusing on three pillars: community, esports foundation, and marketing.
“We have pillars that we are focusing on. The number one pillar would be the community and influencers. We really want to tap into influencers who have different kinds of communities, different kinds of audiences. We want to take care of these influencers, these communities. Pillar number two, the foundation of esports. Before becoming a pro gamer, there is a front, semi-pro, collegiate level, which really improves your skills as it is the aspiration of esports gamers. The last pillar is a combination of performance marketing and hyper-local activities. Events like Star Guardian Art School, [gives the community an opportunity] to see more of our presence. Guzman explained.
What he loves about the Philippine market is how passionate Filipinos are about esports and gaming and it’s not like any other country or region he wants to focus on, in especially with the help of the Philippine Esports Organization (PeSO).
“It’s always something in my pipeline to discuss with PESO what could be a good ecosystem to have in the country. There’s so much potential, not only from a revenue perspective, but also from a players,” Guzman added.
Additionally, Guzman mentioned that the country might be geared towards MOBA and FPS games, but that doesn’t mean they will leave other devices and genres behind.
One of the first events launched by Riot Games in the Philippines is the Star Guardian Art School in San Juan, spotlighting skins from the League of Legends alternate universe.
The event brought Star Guardian to life and also encourages fans to unleash their creativity with art workshops.
Along with giving back to fans who have been asking for Star Guardian’s return, Guzman also sees the event as a way to tap into the gaming community.
“Diversity and inclusion is one of Riot’s top priorities. Star Guardian’s message is about empowering women. It’s about celebrating your authentic self, representing your authentic self. The message is to value friendship, build good relationships and have good friends. I hope events like these pave the way for female players, [to empower them]”, Guzman said.