Is Riot printing money with Prestige skins?

If you can market something as a virtual status symbol to a large, engaged community, then yes you can print money

The skin that inspired this article — Battle Queen Diana Prestige Edition; compare to non-Prestige base version

A Prestige skin costs somewhere between $195 and 115 hours

Bonus RP is given if paid by credit card or PayPal in the game client; no bonus if RP is purchased on Amazon, as a gift card, or other means
Some Prestige skins are available only from Prestige Point Shop
Left: “Missions” tab tracks objectives that award a total of 300 tokens when fulfilled, plus tokens earned from playing games (only unlocked with Battle Pass). Right: Event shop where tokens are spent
Orb (loot box) bundles are sold each event where tokens can be directly purchased, bypassing the tedious grind
Masterwork chest bundles include Prestige Points — unlike event orb bundles, these can be purchased outside of events

What exactly makes a Prestige skin prestigious?

Example of base Epic skin vs. its Prestige edition. Left: Firecracker Vayne, Right: Firecracker Vayne Prestige Edition
In-game model of Firecracker Vayne (L) vs. Firecracker Vayne Prestige Edition (R).
Pre-game loading screen showing each player’s champion and skin; note “Firecracker Vayne Prestige Edition” and its golden border (Source: Youtube, @Tommynoob)

Value-based pricing over cost-based pricing in luxury

Despite containing the same occlusive ingredients as Nivea’s $1 Creme, La Mer raises consumer WTP with its luxurious packaging, mystique, and photographs
Designer sunglasses can retail for over $500 while estimates put their production costs as low as $20!

Creating the perception of value

Loading screen cut of Arcade Caitlyn Prestige Edition with gold border; compare to 1350 RP base version
Hextech Nocturne, like other Gemstone skins, are arguably even more difficult and expensive to obtain than Prestige skins. This line was not as successful for Riot
In One-for-All, when all five players turned out to own the Prestige skin, it was shared with /r/EvelynnMains as “easily the most satisfying load screen I’ve been a part of” (Source: /u/DrKiwiXD)
Knife skins in particular are coveted in CS:GO. This Fade Flip Knife skin sells for >$300 (Source: Steam Marketplace listing, Youtube @Crushimz)

Conclusion

K/DA ALL OUT Kai’sa Prestige Edition — this champion started the Prestige windfall for Riot and recently became the first to receive two Prestige skins (base version)

Avid gamer and eSports fan. Also passionate about fashion, pharma, skincare, race & class, management consulting, and travel

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