Starting next season, the League of Legends Pacific Championship Series (PCS) ecosystem will continue its expansion to include the League of Legends Japan League (LJL). This announcement follows the inclusion of the League of Legends Oceania Circuit (LCO) earlier this year.
This development is part of a multi-year strategy by Riot games to strengthen the League of Legends esports ecosystem in the Asia-Pacific region. According to the publisher, there is still a lot of work to be done, and more news to come, but they wanted to share the key principles that will guide the development of League of Legends esports in the region as an exercise in transparency.
The goal of these changes is to create a unified league in the Pacific that can become a powerhouse in the global League of Legends Esports ecosystem. It is expected that by giving teams the opportunity to test their mettle against other strong competitors on a pan-regional level, can improve the quality of all professional teams and foster a higher level of competition in a multi-tiered ecosystem.
In addition, this is also intended to enhance the fan experience by offering quality products in English, Japanese, Mandarin and Cantonese.and more hyper-local experiences throughout the region. Fans will be able to enjoy various matchups between existing PCS, LJL and LCO teams. And it will be easier than ever to get league updates and match information through PCS’s unified social channels. The goal is therefore to create a more sustainable esports ecosystem in which professional players and organizations can grow. This consolidation is the first step in providing professional teams with a larger platform with new fan bases and audience potential.
LJL players will also be considered PCS residents, meaning that they will be able to join any team in the PCS ecosystem without being considered foreign players. However, LJL teams will still need to have at least three Japanese players on their roster.
Just like when the LCO joined the PCS ecosystem last season, the LJL will continue to play its domestic season in Japan. After that, the top three LJL teams will qualify for the PCS playoffs and compete with other PCS and LCO teams for a spot in international events such as MSI and Worlds. The top finisher from the Spring Split will participate in the MSI, while the top two finishers from the Summer Split will qualify for the Worlds.
FORMAT OF THE PCS QUALIFIERS
The top three teams from the LJL will advance to the PCS playoffs, where they will join the top six teams from the PCS and the top two teams from the LCO. The PCS playoffs will be divided into two phases, with the top three teams advancing directly to the second phase.
In the first phase, teams will be divided into groups A and B, competing in a double-elimination format, with the winners of each group advancing. The remaining teams will compete to become the winners of the lower phase of their groups. The two winners will compete in a promotion match for the final spot in the second phase.
In the second phase, the six qualified teams will face each other in a double-elimination playoff to be crowned the best team in the Pacific.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
This focus on improving competitiveness will continue for years to come. Riot Games recognizes that this is a big change, and expects that there will be some scalability issues as they expand the league. However, they are confident that this evolution will ultimately contribute to making this league more sustainable in the future.