Riot Games, the maker of popular online games such as League of Legends and Valorant, has announced that it will lay off about 530 employees globally, which represents around 11% of its workforce. The company said the decision was necessary to create focus and move towards a more sustainable future.
In a letter to its staff, Riot Games CEO Dylan Jadeja said that the company had grown too fast and lost its sharp focus. He said that some of the significant investments the company had made were not paying off the way they expected them to. He also said that the company’s costs had grown to the point where they were unsustainable, and that they had left themselves with no room for experimentation or failure, which is vital for a creative company like Riot Games.
Jadeja said that the layoffs were the last thing they ever wanted to do, and that he was deeply sorry for the impact on the lives and careers of the affected employees. He said that the company would provide them with severance pay, cash bonuses, health benefits, and outplacement support for up to six months.
The impact on the games and projects
Riot Games said that the layoffs would have the biggest impact on teams outside of core development, such as marketing, publishing, esports, and operations. The company said that it would focus on its portfolio of live games, such as League of Legends, Valorant, Teamfight Tactics, and Wild Rift, and that it would continue to support and grow these games for years to come.
However, the company also said that it would stop new game development under Riot Forge, a label that partnered with external studios to create new games set in the League of Legends universe. The company said that Riot Forge had not met its expectations, and that it would cancel some of the projects that were in the works. The company also said that it would drop some features in Legends of Runeterra, a digital card game based on League of Legends, that had not performed well.
The reaction from the industry and the players
The news of the layoffs came as a shock to many in the gaming industry and the player community, as Riot Games had been seen as one of the most successful and influential companies in the sector. Riot Games had more than doubled its headcount in the last few years, as it expanded its global footprint and launched new games and experiences. The company had also been praised for its efforts to improve its culture and diversity, after facing allegations of sexism and harassment in 2018.
Many industry analysts and experts said that the layoffs were a sign of the challenges and uncertainties that the gaming industry was facing, as the market became more competitive and saturated, and as the consumer preferences and behaviors changed. They said that Riot Games was not the only company that had to make tough decisions, as other gaming giants such as Tencent, Amazon, ByteDance, Epic Games, Ubisoft, and Niantic had also announced cuts or downsized their gaming divisions in the past year.
Many players expressed their sadness and disappointment at the news, and thanked the Riot employees for their work and contributions. They also expressed their concerns and questions about the future of their favorite games and projects, and hoped that Riot Games would keep its promise to deliver high-quality and engaging experiences for them.