The short answer is no, League of Legends is not natively free to play on Xbox consoles. However, Xbox gamers can access and play LoL for free on a Windows 10 PC by using the Xbox Game Pass subscription. So with this one caveat, LoL is essentially "free" for Xbox owners through the Game Pass service.
Let‘s dive deeper into the details…
Since its launch back in 2009, League of Legends (LoL) has become nothing short of a global gaming phenomenon. Developed and published by Riot Games, this multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) title popularized the competitive 5v5 "lane-pushing" format that has inspired countless successors.
But unlike those successors, LoL remains completely free-to-play and monetizes solely through optional cosmetic purchases. This fair free-to-play model combined with LoL‘s polished gameplay and eSports ecosystem has amassed a staggering player base over 100 million monthly active users worldwide!
LoL‘s Gargantuan Player Base
To comprehend LoL‘s scale, consider these mind-boggling statistics:
Over 8 million peak concurrent players as of 2019.
Consistently over 1 billion hours played monthly.
Notable markets include China (over 50M players), United States (over 20M) among many others.
Reported revenue of $1.75 billion in 2020 alone.
For any online multiplayer game, assembling this sheer mass of enthusiastic players is the dream. And Riot Games has done exactly that with LoL on PC.
But that enormous success also poses challenges when exploring expansion to new platforms like consoles. More on that later…
First, what exactly is the League of Legends experience for the uninitiated?
Welcome to LoL: A Quick Primer
LoL thrusts two teams of 5 players into battle on a symmetrical map split into 3 lane pathways. The goal is to push past enemy defenses to demolish their "Nexus" structure.
Players control an avatar "Champion" with unique abilities to battle the opposing team. Matches incorporate strategy, teamplay, reflexes and quick thinking.
Part of the appeal is the vast diversity among Champions. With over 140 to choose from currently, there are deep layers of customization and synergy to discover.
Those Champions must be unlocked somehow though, right?
Well, this is where LoL diverges from most MOBAs…
League Remains Gloriously Free-to-Play
The core League of Legends game is completely free-to-play with no pay-to-win elements or gameplay-affecting purchases.
Riot Games pushes no ads or upsells during matches. You earn access to Champions just by playing more matches and gaining experience.
Most revenue comes from optional skins that provide cosmetic changes to your Champions. So spending money simply speeds up unlocking the vast roster.
This was an early strategic decision by Riot Games – provide 100% of gameplay for free, only charge for visual flair. And that accessibility is key to LoL‘s rampant popularity.
But could Xbox gamers enjoy LoL given its PC-only status? Enter Xbox Game Pass…
Xbox Game Pass Brings LoL to Consoles (Sort Of)
In 2019, Riot Games and Xbox partnered to provide League of Legends on the Xbox Game Pass for PC service.
For a monthly subscription fee, Game Pass members gain access to a catalog of over 100 games to download on Windows 10 devices.
By linking your Xbox profile with a Riot Games account, you can install LoL on any PC and unlock Champions as a Game Pass perk.
So technically, this gives Xbox gamers access to the full League of Legends experience. But there‘s a catch…
LoL is only natively built for PC. You still need a Windows 10 PC capable of smoothly running League. There is no Xbox console version yet.
However, gaining access to the world‘s biggest PC game is a major value-add for Xbox Game Pass. This partnership attracts more PC gamers to the subscription service and builds the Xbox gaming ecosystem.
For Riot Games, it opens League of Legends to new audiences beyond dedicated PC gamers. Let‘s examine the experience for Xbox players diving into LoL for the first time…
Playing LoL with an Xbox Controller
As an Xbox gamer, you likely want to play League of Legends using your familiar Xbox wireless controller. Especially relaxing on the couch with your gaming PC connected to a big-screen TV.
The good news is LoL fully supports using an Xbox controller on PC! The process is simple:
Connect your Xbox controller to your Windows 10 PC via USB or Bluetooth.
Launch League of Legends normally through the Xbox Game Pass app.
The game auto-configures the controls to your connected gamepad.
You can immediately navigate the menus and jump into matches using just the controller.
But how does an Xbox controller compare to the traditional PC mouse & keyboard setup?
More ergonomic and comfortable for long play sessions.
Analog sticks enable smooth omnidirectional movement.
Familiar gameplay experience for console gamers.
Vibration feedback adds immersion to abilities, attacks, etc.
Less quick and precise cursor control for targeting.
Smaller number of accessible inputs and shortcuts.
Difficulty executing rapid combo abilities.
Movement and actions feel slightly sluggish.
The consensus is controller support works surprisingly well in LoL, but mouse & keyboard still have noticeable competitive advantages.
The greater precision and low input latency of a mouse is ideal for the fast reactions needed in intensive LoL matches. So Xbox players may be at a disadvantage against seasoned keyboard/mouse opponents.
But casual and lower-ranked play is certainly viable on a gamepad. It comes down to your preferences and priorities as a League player.
For Xbox gamers seeking the optimal setup, consider these tips:
Invest in a gaming mouse with high DPI sensitivity and programmable buttons.
Use a keyboard with anti-ghosting technology to avoid missed ability activations.
Choose a high refresh rate monitor for minimal input lag.
Tweak settings like cursor size and screen scroll speed that suit your playstyle.
Use the Xbox controller for movement but mouse for targeting and abilities.
With some adjustments, Xbox players can find a hybrid setup that lets them compete with seasoned LoL veterans.
But perhaps the real question is…
Will LoL Ever Launch on Xbox Consoles?
ported directly to Xbox consoles like One and Series X/S?
The short answer according to gaming industry experts: highly unlikely.
Riot Games has actively resisted releasing LoL on consoles despite its wild popularity. A few major hurdles stand in the way:
The sheer complexity of LoL‘s controls, interfaces and gameplay systems poses a monumental challenge for conversion to controllers.
Running a smooth 5v5 LoL match demands serious processing power beyond what modest console hardware can deliver.
Segregating the audience between PC and console would lead to matchmaking issues and split the community.
Balancing Champion abilities fairly between mouse/keyboard and controllers would be difficult.
Without dramatic overhauls to the core LoL formula, a console port seems untenable currently. Is there any hope for Xbox gamers seeking to play League on the big screen?
Perhaps, but the better candidate is LoL‘s mobile iteration…
Could Wild Rift Come to Xbox Consoles?
In 2020, Riot Games released League of Legends: Wild Rift – a redesigned 5v5 MOBA adapted for mobile devices and controllers.
Built from the ground up for thumbsticks and touchscreens, Wild Rift simplifies LoL‘s complexities into a more streamlined experience.
Given its controller-friendly design, Wild Rift is logically much closer to making the leap to Xbox consoles and televisions. The advantages are clear:
Only around 40 Champions makes balancing and optimization more feasible.
Single map and game mode reduces hardware demands.
Meant for shorter 15-20 minute matches suitable for consoles.
Designed ground-up with analog sticks and button inputs in mind.
Riot Games has not officially announced plans to bring Wild Rift to Xbox yet. But the foundations are clearly there for a console launch that League of Legends proper may never achieve.
And Xbox Game Pass for PC subscribers already have a taste of LoL. Transitioning them to the console-ready Wild Rift on Xbox would be logical.
But for now, League fans on Xbox can only enjoy Riot‘s juggernaut MOBA on a Windows PC. That leads into properly removing LoL from your system…
Completely Uninstalling League of Legends
If you wish to delete League of Legends from your Windows computer, here is the cleanest process:
Windows Key + R to open the Run dialog.
Type appwiz.cpl and click OK to launch Programs and Features.
Search for League of Legends and click Uninstall.
In the popup prompt, choose Uninstall Completely to delete all associated files.
Click Yes to confirm removal of LoL and wait for process to finish.
Restart your PC for changes to fully take effect.
Use the Disk Cleanup utility to wipe any leftover LoL files and caches.
Reboot again and LoL should be completely wiped from your system.
With LoL removed, you can free up hard drive space and reduce system resource usage. When ready to play again, simply reinstall League through the Xbox Game Pass for PC app.
The Bottom Line
While Xbox console support is unlikely soon, League of Legends remains freely accessible for Xbox gamers through the Xbox Game Pass for PC service.
LoL plays quite smoothly using an Xbox controller, even if competitive mouse/keyboard players have an edge. Casual and low-ranked play is certainly viable on gamepads.
Riot Games continues focusing on PC while expanding into mobile. But Xbox fans shouldn‘t lose hope. The Wild Rift offshoot seems a prime candidate to one day bring League gameplay to living room screens.
For now, pull up a computer chair and dive into LoL‘s wonderfully fair free-to-play waters – over 100 million players can‘t be wrong! Just don‘t blame me if you find yourself six hours deep in the battle arenas with no intention of stopping…