Riot Games, the company behind the popular game League of Legends and owned by Tencent, has recently announced that it will be undergoing significant changes. The company will be laying off 11% of its workforce, which equates to around 530 employees.
In addition to the layoffs, Riot Games will also be shutting down its publishing group, Riot Forge, which has been operating for the past five years.
The announcement was made in two posts, one addressing the affected employees and the other directed towards players. The posts included details about a severance package and other benefits, such as job placement services, counseling, visa support, and new laptops for employees who do not own their own.
“There’s no way around the fact that this is an extremely sad moment,” wrote CEO Dylan Jadeja. “For those who are leaving… I want to reiterate, we are deeply sorry for the impact this has on you and your family. I can’t thank you enough for everything you’ve done for Riot, and for your dedication to players. We’re committed to doing our best to support you in this moment and through this transition.”
The note to players echoed a similar sentiment, stating that the layoffs were necessary for the company’s survival. “This isn’t to appease shareholders or to hit a quarterly earnings number – it’s a necessity,” said Jadeja.
Jadeja also mentioned two specific areas that will see immediate changes due to the organizational restructuring – Riot Forge and the digital collectible card game Legends of Runeterra.
Riot Forge, a publishing label launched in 2019, partnered with independent developers to create new stories within the League of Legends universe. However, after releasing five games, including Convergence, Hextech Mayhem, The Mageseeker, Ruined King, and Song of Nunu, Riot Forge will officially be shut down. Their sixth and final game, Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story, which focuses on the Yordles, will be released on Nintendo Switch and PC before the publishing label closes for good.
While Legends of Runeterra will continue to operate, Jadeja acknowledged that it has not been performing as well as the company had hoped. As a result, Riot Games will be reducing the size of the team and shifting their focus to improving the single-player adventure mode, “Path of Champions.”
“Some of the significant investments we’ve made aren’t paying off the way we expected them to. 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. All of this puts the core of our business at risk,” added Jadeja.
Unfortunately, Riot Games is not the only video game publisher making job cuts. Other companies that have also recently announced layoffs include Epic Games, with 830 employees let go in September, as well as Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, Activision Blizzard, and more.