For anyone who is even remotely familiar with the Esports world, you have to know the game League of Legends. It is currently one of, if not the most, popular video game in the world. It currently has over 120 million monthly players, which is significantly more than other popular games such as Fortnite and Overwatch (80 million and 40 million players, respectively).
In this How I Built This episode, host Guy Raz talks with Riot Games founders Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill. Although Beck and Merrill ended up selling Riot Games to Chinese conglomerate Tencent, they were the original founders of Riot Games (and thus, also, League of Legends).
I found this story incredible for several reasons. First of all, I really enjoyed listening to the podcast because both Beck and Merrill are USC graduates. They are known as two of the most “successful” people to graduate from USC, so it was cool to hear the story from their perspectives. It is also relatable because they really just started off as two college students who had a passion for video games, but who were eventually able to start a company of their own (after graduating from USC).
I also found this particular episode incredible because they really helped to change the video game industry. As they mention in the podcast, up until Riot Games was launched, the main way to play video games was to buy the game from a store and play them on either a console/computer; however, they completely changed this business model by making League of Legends free to play, and then charging users to buy new skins/items within the game. A lot of investors at the time thought that this sort of idea would never work, yet it has proven to be incredibly lucrative (and one of the most popular game styles today).
Overall, I just found the entire episode to be really captivating and eye-opening, and how seemingly average college kids were able to change a hundred billion dollar plus industry. Riot Games is now one of the biggest video game companies around, even if it is no longer owned by Beck and Merrill.