It’s been a bleak start to the year for workers, and the hits keep coming as mega-developer Riot Games announces it will be laying off 530 employees, 11% of its global staff. According to a company blog post, the layoffs are “critical for the future of Riot.”
The company is owned by Chinese media conglomerate Tencent and is best known as the developer of League of Legends and producer of Netflix’s Emmy-winning animated series Arcane. The company’s other popular titles include games such as Teamfight Tactics, Legends of Runeterra, and Valorant.
According to a letter from Riot CEO Dylan Jadeja to company employees, the cuts will mostly occur outside of Riot’s core development teams. Two units will be particularly hard hit: the League of Legends card game Legends of Runeterra and the Riot Forge publishing division, which works with indie developers to create games inside the League of Legends universe. According to the Riot blog post, Riot Forge will be shut down entirely after the release of its next and final game Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story.
In his letter, Jadeja wrote that Riot has been trying to do too much and needs to narrow the scope of its efforts: “We have to do more to focus our business and center our efforts on the things that drive the most player value — the things that are truly worth players’ time.”
“I want to be super clear about something: this is absolutely the last thing we ever wanted to do,” he continued. “A decision like this has a massive impact on people’s lives and on the culture of Riot. 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. It’s what we need to do in order to maintain a long-term focus for players.”
Jadeja’s letter was thorough and included extensive details about the severance being offered to departing employees. Benefits extended to laid-off employees include, but are not limited to:
- Six months salary severance pay, which includes a notice period for employees whose roles are being made redundant. Some employees could receive more than the six months severance based tenure and local laws.
- A cash bonus equal to 100% of each laid-off employee’s 2023 annual performance bonus target, even those who joined within the last year.
- In locations where Riot provides healthcare, employees covered by Riot’s health benefits will continue to be covered through their last day of employment. They will also be offered additional pay to cover their health benefits (medical, dental, and vision), equal to the length of severance pay and rounded up to the whole month.
- $1,000 to cover financial commitments employees may have locked into, which would normally be covered by the company’s Play Fund and Wellness Fund.
- After returning their work computers, employees can request a laptop from the company if they don’t have one at home. They can also keep their current peripherals, such as headsets, mice, and keyboards.
- Riot will offer laid-off employees job placement services for six months, including career coaching, networking, resume writing and review, and more to help them transition to a new job.
- Riot will offer visa support to laid-off employees who currently hold their visas as part of their employment with the company.