A Riot Games statement and internal email have been published, indicating layoffs to over 500 employees worldwide.
While some aspects of the industry are thriving, what many have labeled an esports winter continues to grow colder. Riot Games, the developers behind League of Legends, VALORANT, and Teamfight Tactics, has announced a round of layoffs.
The company is eliminating over 500 roles globally, which they estimate to be around 11% of their workforce. It is always painful to see layoffs like this in gaming, but Riot Games has delivered a refreshing sense of transparency regarding these internal changes.
Riot Games layoffs to start 2024 intended to refocus on core live games
The Riot Games layoffs come after a breakout year for VALORANT and League of Legends Worlds becoming the most watched esports event of all time. Still, after that success, it doesn't appear that anyone in gaming is safe.
A statement from CEO Dylan Jadeja and President Marc Merrill details the reason behind the layoffs. The company will shift back to a focus on games:
"Our vision for the future is bold and our commitment to our core live games – League of Legends, VALORANT, Teamfight Tactics, and Wild Rift – is more ambitious than ever. We're prioritizing these teams so they can focus on the content, features, and updates that directly respond to what you’ve been asking for. Expect events, modes, and long-term roadmaps that lead to vibrant (hopefully multi-decade) futures for these games."
Riot plans to deliver fewer, high-impact products. The statement addresses how this will lead to a more sustainable future, which sees its esports, music, and overall entertainment projects all tightly integrated with their games.
Impact to Legends of Runeterra and end of Riot Forge
In terms of Riot Games products affected most by the layoffs, look towards Legends of Runeterra and Riot Forge. These aren't the only areas where people's jobs are being removed, but they are noted as seeing an immediate impact in the statement.
Riot is downsizing the Legends of Runeterra team, after the game has faced financial challenges. The game will now focus more on The Path of Champions experience, which has been where players spend the most time in the game.
Next up is Riot Forge, the third-party label within Riot Games. Riot intended it to be a program where other studios could make games that tie into League of Legends lore. New game development within Riot Forge is officially ending after the release of Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story.
How Riot Games will assist employees after the layoffs
The Riot Games layoffs were detailed to employees through an internal email. Well, to keep up the transparency, CEO Dylan Jadeja made that email public. It expresses his sympathies for those affected, but the global reach of Riot Games makes it so those affected will have to find out via email.
Thankfully, Riot Games intends on assisting those hit by the layoffs. Here are examples of what they will provide:
- Minimum 6 months severance pay
- 100% of everyone's 2023 annual performance bonus
- Pay to cover health benefits equal to the length of the severance pay
- A laptop to take home if they don't have a personal computer
- Access to the Rioter Assistance Program, email access for a short period, and visa support
Those are probably the only brightside of what is taking place. The gaming industry is something that has brought all of us together, and for a reason. It hurts to see people that play a role in our favorite titles lose their jobs. We're all thinking about the ones affected, hoping they land on their feet.