Game developer and esports company Riot Games has announced a round of layoffs that will affect around 11% of its total workforce with 530 global roles being terminated.
Riot said the reason for the layoffs is a shift in focus for the company, which results in shutting down its third-party publishing label Riot Forge and reducing the size of its Legends of Runeterra teams. Various esports personnel at Riot Games also appear to have been affected. Affected workers have been offered an extensive severance package.
Riot Games is one of the largest esports-focused gaming companies in the world and has steadily grown and expanded its portfolio since its inception in 2006. Since 2014, the company expanded into other genres, notably with the release of VALORANT, Legends of Runeterra, Teamfight Tactics and League of Legends: Wild Rift.
The scaling and costs related to growing the company have, according to Riot, led to a situation in which the company does not have a clear enough focus and is “doing too many things underway”, according to a letter sent to employees by its CEO, A.Dylan Jadeja. Jadeja shared that “some of the significant investments Riot made did not pay off the expected way”, and that “Riot is left with no room for experimentation or failure”.
Jadeja added that several moves were made to offset costs and become more sustainable in recent months, but the changes made were not enough. Jadeja also stated that the company is not releasing employees to “appease shareholders or to hit some quarterly earnings numbers”, but that the move is something needed to ensure the future of Riot Games.
Two areas where changes will be most apparent will be Legends of Runeterra and the Riot Forge. While Legends of Runeterra will continue to exist, its development team will be shrunk and focus more of its efforts on PvE content in the future. The Riot Forge, a segment of Riot Games that saw the developer work with indie studios, will shut down after the upcoming release of Bandle Tale.
Multiple individuals associated with Riot Games’ esports department have also publicly announced their departure from the company. This includes the likes of Jianhua Chen (PR for Riot EMEA) and Ashley Washington (Product Lead, Game Changers EMEA at Riot Games), among others.
Affected Riot Games employees will be offered a severance package which will include six months of salary, cash bonuses, health benefits, a computer and career support for the next six months. The company’s leadership noted that it aims to “support them in this moment and through this transition.”