The tech sector’s tough times continue. Riot Games, the video game developer behind the popular League of Legends and Arcane, the Netflix series on which it is based, is laying off about 530 staffers worldwide in a move its CEO described as a “decision [that] is critical for the future of Riot.”
The cuts represent about 11% of the global staff of the company owned by China’s Tencent.
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“We are refocusing on fewer, high-impact projects to move us toward a more sustainable future,” Riot CEO Dylan Jadeja and co-founder/chief product officer Marc Merrill wrote in a note addressed to “Players” (read it here). “With today’s moves, we’re going back to putting games at the center of everything we do.”
League of Legends is a free-to-play multiplayer online battle game that debuted in 2009. The steampunk action series Arcane, which in 2022 became the first streaming series to win the Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program, has been renewed for a second season that is slated to bow in November.
Jadeja and Merrill said to expect “immediate impact” on two of the company’s games — Legends of Runeterra and Riot Forge. Riot is “reducing the size of our team” on the former and “ending new game development” on the latter, after the upcoming release of Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story.
“Today, we’re a company without a sharp enough focus, and simply put, we have too many things underway,” Jadeja wrote in a memo to staff (read it here). “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.”
The execs said “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.”