Riot Games Adds LoL Japanese League to the PCS Ecosystem
Ahead of the start of the 2023 League of Legends esports (LoL Esports) season, many different regions underwent changes. Apart from the League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) and Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), Riot Games announced that the Oceania (OCE) region will no longer directly seed in international tournaments. OCE had to play through the League of Legends Pacific Championship Series (PCS) from 2023.
Continuing to modify the PCS, on 27th November, Riot Games confirmed that starting next season (2024), the PCS ecosystem will continue its expansion and include the League of Legends Japan League (LJL).
It added, "This follows the inclusion of the League of Legends Circuit Oceania (LCO) earlier this year. This evolution is part of our multi-year strategy to strengthen the League esports ecosystem in the Asia Pacific region."
However, Riot Games acknowledged that there is still a lot of work to be done and that it will have more updates in the future.
What are the changes in PCS and LJL?
Time and again, Riot Games has said that it is committed to building on the foundation that was laid over the first 12 years in its esports ecosystem. It has clear key principles for the development of League esports in the PCS region. They are as follows:
Creating a unified, Pacific league that can become a powerhouse in the global League of Legends Esports ecosystem. Riot hopes that a pan-regional setting will help improve the quality of all pro teams and foster a higher level of competition.
Improving fan experience by providing quality broadcast products in English, Japanese, Mandarin, and Cantonese, and more hyper-local experiences across the region.
Presenting diverse matchups between existing PCS teams, LJL, and LCO (League of Legends Circuit Oceania) teams.
Creating a more sustainable esports ecosystem.
Notably, just like the PCO players, LJL players will also now be considered residents of the PCS. This means that they can join any team within the PCS ecosystem without being called an "import." However, LJL teams will still have to field at least three Japanese players on their rosters.
Just like the LCO in 2023, the LJL will continue to play its domestic season in Japan in 2024. However, following this, the top three teams from LJL will seed into the PCS Playoffs and compete with other PCS and LCO teams for a spot at international events such as Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) and Worlds.
The first placed team from the Spring Split will enter MSI, while the top two teams from the Summer Split will qualify for Worlds.
PCS Playoffs Format in 2024
The top three teams from the LJL will move onto 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 have a total of 11 teams. It will also be divided into two stages, with three top seeds placed directly into Stage Two.