- Over 500 employees had their work contracts terminated prematurely
- Riot is also scaling back on various projects
- The company promised to make the transition as painless as possible for the affected workers
Riot Games is laying off about 530 employees in an attempt to quell unsustainable projects and “maintain a long-term focus for players.”
Riot Reveals Bad News
In recent weeks we have been seeing more and more big tech companies announce big employee layoffs. This trend started in the latter months of 2023 but it seems it is continuing just as strongly in the new year. Companies like Google, Twitch, Pixar, Discord, and many others have announced they have or will be prematurely releasing employees which correspond to upwards of dozens of percent of their workforces. It seems that Riot Games has not been spared by this trend.
On January 22, the videogame company released a statement revealing the planned contract termination of 530 roles globally. This corresponds to about 11% of Riot’s workforce and the affected employees have already received the bad message.
The company shared the news on Twitter and it seems that the fans were updated at the same time as the employees. This will result in restructuring across some of Riot’s titles and it seems the most affected one is Legends of Runeterra. The size of its development team will be reduced to concentrate resources and expertise on the most engaging aspect of the game – the single-player “Path of Champions” mode.
Furthermore, the Riot Forge initiative, which is responsible for collaborating with external studios on smaller-scale Runeterra IP projects, will be concluded after the upcoming release of Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story. Although Riot Games said it is proud of what it has achieved with the project, the company said shutting it down is a way to facilitate work on other large works.
How Did It Come to This?
Considering the major layoffs we have already seen over the past year in big tech companies, perhaps it should not be that surprising that Riot followed soon. One main reason that all the affected entities share is the fact that they hired many people over the last couple of years of the Covid-19 pandemic. This was in response to the fact that consumption of various entertainment media skyrocketed when a lot of people were stuck at home without much to do.
However, as the world reopened in 2023, this consumption diminished, leaving many of the tech companies with an abundance of employees. Layoffs soon followed and as the new year arrived, they haven’t stopped. According to The Guardian, more than 7 500 employees from big tech and electronic companies like Amazon, Discord, Unity, and more, have been laid off since the start of 2024.
Riot Games’ chief executive Dylan Jadeja shared a letter about the situation, explaining that he feels deeply sorry about the situation and how the layoffs will happen. “I realize this is awful news to hear, and especially hard for those who will be leaving us. To all the Rioters who are being laid off, we are deeply sorry that it has come to this,” the letter from Dylan Jadeja reads. “As CEO, I’m accountable for the changes we’re making and where we’re headed in the future. So, I think it’s important for me to share how we got here and how the next few days will work.”
Jadeja then proceeded to explain how letting go of the employees would work. According to his letter, Riot Games will offer a minimum 6 months of salary for the affected workers, as well as related bonuses and health care benefits wherever they apply. In addition, the employees will still have access to their work emails for some time, and Riot promised to provide aid to those who who have a work Visa.
However, all fo this is likely not much solice for the hundreds of employees who effectively lost their jobs.