In the wake of Microsoft cutting 10,000 jobs from its workforce, League of Legends developer Riot Games has announced its own round of staff layoffs. While the scope is not nearly as severe, Riot has confirmed around 50 jobs are being cut, as a result of ‘strategic shifts’ to better focus the business for the future.
The layoffs were first detailed by reporter Jacob Wolf, who flagged that layoffs had begun on 19 January. At the time, the size and scope of the layoffs were unclear, but it was believed that recruiting, human resources, support, and esports teams would be most impacted.
‘Riot’s historically not made many reductions in force in the past, but it’s in line with a broader trend in tech, gaming and entertainment as economic hardship begins to affect many corporations,’ Wolf said.
Riot has now confirmed the layoffs, but did not detail which specific departments would be seeing the brunt of change.
‘Riot Games implemented strategic shifts within a few teams to sharpen our focus in a number of areas. With these shifts, certain roles were eliminated, impacting a total of 46 Rioters,’ a spokesperson confirmed to VGC.
‘This is part of our normal course of our business: We periodically make changes to our structure and our teams based on what we believe will allow us to deliver the best content and experiences for players. We never make these decisions lightly and will always start from a place of wanting to retain Rioters and have them focus on our highest priorities. While that’s not always possible, it’s our primary goal.’
While economic conditions were not cited as a core reason for the Riot Games layoffs, it’s likely they played a significant role. As the knock-on impacts of the coronavirus pandemic contribute to a slowing global economy and reduced productivity, it’s likely Riot won’t be the only game studio contending with the need to ‘sharpen focus’ in the coming months.
On the other side of the industry, entertainment news publisher Fandom has also initiated similar layoffs for the talented employees of GameSpot and Giant Bomb, following its acquisition of the brands for US$50 million in October 2022. These layoffs have impacted a large number of staff, including tenured employees and new hires.
Our thoughts are with those impacted by these devastating layoffs.