Riot Games to lay off 530 workers amid broader gaming industry cuts
Los Angeles-based video game giant Riot Games announced Monday it would lay off 530 workers, cuts that amount to roughly 11% of the company’s global workforce.
In a letter to staff, Chief Executive Dylan Jadeja called the move a “decision we hoped we would never have to make.” The biggest hit would be to teams outside of core development, he said.
The video game industry has been hit with more than 6,500 layoffs over the last year. The cuts come as the industry course-corrects after its pandemic-era expansion, experts say.
“To all the Rioters who are being laid off, we are deeply sorry that it has come to this,” Jadeja wrote. “As CEO, I’m accountable for the changes we’re making and where we’re headed in the future.”
The layoffs come after a year of deep cuts in the video game industry, as publishers and developers adjust to post-pandemic demands, rising production costs and growing competition. More than 10,000 video game workers have been laid off globally since January 2023, including hundreds at California-based companies, industry estimates show.
The game developer — which spun an Emmy-winning animated series called “Arcane” out of its hugely popular multiplayer online battle arena game “League of Legends” — has been growing its footprint in Los Angeles.
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The company has been a pivotal player in the development of the esports industry through events including the League of Legends Championship Series.
But some of the investments the company has made “aren’t paying off the way we expected them to,” Jadeja said.
“Our costs have grown to the point where they’re unsustainable, and we’ve left ourselves with no room for experimentation or failure — which is vital to a creative company like ours,” he said. “All of this puts the core of our business at risk.”
As part of the cuts, the company announced it would be “sunsetting” Riot Forge, its publishing arm working with external studios to develop smaller-scale games from Riot’s intellectual property.
Riot tried to change course in various ways, Jadeja added, including hiring slowdowns and freezes.
Employees will receive at least six months of severance pay if laid off, in addition to being eligible for cash bonuses.
“A decision like this has a massive impact on people’s lives and on the culture of Riot,” Jadeja said. “We’re not doing this to appease shareholders or to hit some quarterly earnings number – we’ve made this decision because it’s a necessity.”
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