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Riot Games begins layoffs in a wave of job losses

by | Jan 22, 2023

Reading Time: 2 min.
Reading Time: 2 min.

A series of Riot Games layoffs have been reported at the huge League of Legends and Valorant developer, and have been confirmed by the company.

Riot Games has had a rough few years, even by its own standards, following development difficulties and talent losses in 2020 and 2021. The developer of huge MOBA title League of Legends and tactical FPS Valorant was reported to be making a round of layoffs earlier this week and later confirmed for itself that dozens of staff had lost their jobs in this round of job losses. This follows fan backlash over development and broadcast decisions in League of Legends and the admission of serious development hurdles in the past two years by Riot Games.

Riot Games layoffs 46 jobs in game dev

It was reported that Riot Games was beginning a wave of layoffs earlier this week, with initial reports unsure of the number of job losses. As the week went on, it became clear that the layoffs affected some 46 employees at the international developer. This was confirmed through Riot Games itself, which gave the exact count of employees being laid off in the first go of job losses. Following significant community backlash after what appeared to be cutbacks on events, the LCS broadcast, and season start cinematics, several senior Riot Games members on the League of Legends team had outlined the difficulties of 2020 and 2021 for the developer.

The reports of layoffs were first brought up by esports journalist Jacob Wolf on Twitter before being directly confirmed by the developer itself to gaming publication Rock Paper Shotgun shortly afterward. Riot Games isn’t the only major developer to be making significant layoffs, with Halo Infinite developer 343 studios also announcing layoffs in the same week.

Years of difficulty lead to layoffs at Riot

Wolf reported that the layoffs were focused on human resources, recruiting, player support, and esports. Esports, League of Legends especially, has had significant issues with perceived cutbacks as the LCS moved days to accommodate the newly-partnered VCT league for North Americas. Long-time LCS host James “Dash” Patterson was also announced to no longer be a permanent fixture of the franchised North American league.

Riot Games described these as “strategic shifts.” Given the challenges of talent loss, increased sick time, and more over the past two years, it’s hard not to see these firings as part of wider layoff trends in the industry. No more layoffs have been announced, it seems that the League of Legends developer intends to keep the rest of its current staff.

The studio has been growing rapidly in recent years. The creation of a new Seattle-based studio is underway to focus on the development of Valorant. The creation of the League of Legends MMO is one of the studio’s largest changes. These large steps forwards may have been too much for the studio with these sudden layoffs. While new talent is brought on, other talent is let go in order to refocus on specific areas.

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