League of Legends publisher Riot Games has blocked digital redemption code reseller G2A from sponsoring teams, due to its ties to third-party services that artificially boost player rank.
The ban was enacted last month, and was publicly announced this week. Players with existing G2A sponsorships must sever their ties with the company in order to participate in League of Legends tournaments and online play.
G2A is a service that offers discounted redemption codes for games on Steam and other digital storefronts. The company’s low advertised prices are made possible by circumventing regional pricing differences. G2A codes are frequently bought from economically convenient regions that offer lower prices, and then resold to players from regions with typically higher prices.
Steam and publishers have fought to combat the practice, and players who purchase off-region keys run the risk of having their codes revoked when detected.
G2A also advertises a third-party service that boosts League of Legends profile rank, earning players quick access to the game’s higher levels of tournament play for a fee. The service temporarily takes over a user’s profile and plays online matches until the desired rank is reached, saving players the time and effort of doing it themselves.
The Daily Dot reports that G2A-sponsored teams Cloud9, Counter Logic Gaming, H2K, and paiN Gaming have removed G2A logos from their streamed sessions and merchandise at official League of Legends events, upon request from Riot.
“We do not at all enjoy affecting the income of the teams, but the LCS rules include guidelines specifically against this sort of thing,” Riot’s J. Eckert explained in a Reddit thread this week. “We did however keep teams in the loop during the process in an attempt to avoid any surprises.”