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Riot Games lays off 530 people as it focuses on high-impact projects Riot Games lays off 530 people as it focuses on high-impact projects
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Riot Games cofounder/chief product officer Marc Merrill and CEO Dylan Jadeja announced in a post they have laid off 530 people at the company, which is famous for its League of Legends and Valorant games.

They said in the post they are refocusing the company on high-impact projects that “move us toward a more sustainable future.” In doing so, they are the latest of many companies that have laid off thousands of people in the past year as the game market struggles.

The layoffs show that even large companies with big hits like Riot are not immune from the malaise. Among the areas taking a hit are Riot Forge, which publishes non-Riot games in the League of Legends universe, and Legends of Runeterra.

“For most of our history, we’ve managed to avoid days like this, but this decision is critical for the future of Riot. This isn’t to appease shareholders or to hit a quarterly earnings number—it’s a necessity,” the leaders said in a blog post. “Over the past few years, as Riot more than doubled in headcount, we spread our efforts across more and more projects without sharp enough razors to decide what players needed most. The adjustments we’re making aim to focus us on the areas that have the greatest impact on your experience while reducing investment on things that don’t.”

Flames and searchlights at the League of Legends Worlds Championship.
Flames and searchlights at the League of Legends Worlds Championship.

The cuts represent about 11% of the staff, meaning Riot has close to 4,500 remaining employees. Riot Games will focus on core live games – League of Legends, Valorant, Teamfight Tactics, and Wild Rift. Riot is prioritizing these teams so they can focus on the content, features, and updates that directly respond to what players have been asking for. Players can expect events, modes, and long-term roadmaps that lead to vibrant (hopefully multi-decade) futures for these games.

“Our strategy will more tightly integrate esports, music, and entertainment with our games. Esports isn’t just about competition; it’s about the highs, the lows, and the communities that flourish around the games,” the leaders said.

They said entertainment isn’t just about storytelling; it’s a gateway to the deeper narratives, characters, and worlds that enrich the game experience.

“As we’ve grown, some of our efforts have become more isolated, and we aspire to more seamlessly blend gameplay, competitive excellence, and narrative depth in ways that truly make it better to be a player,” the leaders said. “Whether it’s the next hit from K/DA, the story unfolding in Arcane, the intensity of a TFT Open, the one-of-a-kind chills of a Worlds game 5, or the electric atmosphere of VAL Champs, our focus is on quality, impact, and unified experiences for players around the world. “

Beyond live titles, Riot Games has projects in the pipeline like Project L, which they said has been making great progress (stay tuned for more updates coming later this year). And they said Arcane Season 2 is on track for November 2024. Plus, there are a number of projects cooking in various stages of R&D.

“Our volume of releases will never be massive. We want everything we deliver to be something that you can be proud of and excited to share with friends,” the leaders said. “That requires having financial flexibility to be able to take the time to make things that are truly great for players. We know we’ll still have occasional misses, but we want those misses to be for the right reasons, not because we prioritized the wrong things or had to rush projects out the door before they were ready.”

The full post

Riot Games' Legends of Runeterra.
Riot Games’ Legends of Runeterra.

Here’s the full post from Marc Merrill and Dylan Jadeja:

Players,

Minutes ago, we shared with Rioters that we are refocusing on fewer, high-impact projects to move us toward a more sustainable future. Now, we want to tell you what these changes mean for our games, everything around them (esports, Arcane, music, etc.), and what to expect going forward.

For most of our history, we’ve managed to avoid days like this, but this decision is critical for the future of Riot. This isn’t to appease shareholders or to hit a quarterly earnings number—it’s a necessity. Over the past few years, as Riot more than doubled in headcount, we spread our efforts across more and more projects without sharp enough razors to decide what players needed most. The adjustments we’re making aim to focus us on the areas that have the greatest impact on your experience while reducing investment on things that don’t. 

This means we’re eliminating about 530 roles globally, which represents around 11% of Rioters, with the biggest impact to teams outside of core development. We recognize that many of you don’t just care about the games you play, but also about the people who make them. These are not just organizational changes; they affect individuals and families, and we do our best to approach these decisions with respect and sensitivity. If you’d like to read the email we sent to Rioters, we’ve shared it here.

Doubling down on games at the center

With today’s moves, we’re going back to putting games at the center of everything we do. 

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.

Our strategy will more tightly integrate esports, music, and entertainment with our games. Esports isn’t just about competition; it’s about the highs, the lows, and the communities that flourish around the games. Entertainment isn’t just about storytelling; it’s a gateway to the deeper narratives, characters, and worlds that enrich the game experience. As we’ve grown, some of our efforts have become more isolated, and we aspire to more seamlessly blend gameplay, competitive excellence, and narrative depth in ways that truly make it better to be a player. Whether it’s the next hit from K/DA, the story unfolding in Arcane, the intensity of a TFT Open, the one-of-a-kind chills of a Worlds game 5, or the electric atmosphere of VAL Champs, our focus is on quality, impact, and unified experiences for players around the world. 

Beyond live titles, we have projects in the pipeline that we can’t wait to get to you when they’re ready. Project L has been making great progress and we’re looking for more opportunities for you to try out the game (stay tuned for more updates coming later this year). Arcane Season 2 is on track for November 2024. Plus, we have a number of projects cooking in various stages of R&D.

Our volume of releases will never be massive. We want everything we deliver to be something that you can be proud of and excited to share with friends. That requires having financial flexibility to be able to take the time to make things that are truly great for players. We know we’ll still have occasional misses, but we want those misses to be for the right reasons, not because we prioritized the wrong things or had to rush projects out the door before they were ready.

Legends of Runeterra and Riot Forge

We want to specifically address two areas where you’ll see immediate impact from today’s changes: Legends of Runeterra and Riot Forge. 

The Journey Ahead with You

Our strategy moving forward is clear: we’re honing in on what we do best and what resonates most with you. Every endeavor, from development to storytelling to competition, will be crafted to deliver meaningful, memorable experiences with games at the center. 

While change can bring uncertainty, it also presents opportunities for growth and innovation. We’re grateful for your ongoing support; nothing Riot has ever created would be possible without you. Your passion and engagement inspire us every day, and we’re excited to continue this journey together.

Dylan & Marc

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