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Riot Games to lay off 11% of global workforce, primarily in teams outside of core development

Riot Games to lay off 11% of global workforce, primarily in teams outside of core development

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Affected employees will have immediate access to job placement services for six months, including career coaching and more, to help them transition to a new job.

Riot Games has announced its decision to eliminate around 530 roles globally, or roughly 11% of its workforce. The primary impact will be on teams outside of core development.

The video game developer, known for games such as League of Legends, made the decision to shift how it works across the company to create focus and move towards a more sustainable future, having realised that significant investments were not "paying off" as expected.

As clarified in a recent statement by Dylan Jadeja, Chief Executive Officer: "Since 2019, we’ve made a number of big bets across the company with the goal of making it better to be a player. We jumped headfirst into creating new experiences and broadening our portfolio, and grew quickly as we became a multi-game, multi-experience company — expanding our global footprint, changing our operating model, bringing in new talent to match our ambitions, and ultimately doubling the size of Riot in just a few years."

"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."

Before coming to this decision, he shared, the team tried to alter its trajectory in many different ways — it has asked leaders to make tradeoffs in the things their teams are working on, rolled out hiring slowdowns, and, in some cases, hiring freezes. It also put an emphasis on controlling costs while strengthening revenue growth. 

"But as I’ve dug in with leaders across Riot, it’s become clear to all of us that these changes aren’t enough. 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."

"Unfortunately, this involves making changes in the area where we invest the most — our headcount."


In carrying out the layoffs, Jadeja affirmed that Riot held on to the guiding principle to do its very best to make sure it is treating its employees ('Rioters') with respect and grace — starting with limiting the time they spend in ambiguity about their role and future with Riot where possible.

Within an hour of the statement being posted, Rioters around the world would be receiving an email informing them whether or not their role is, or may be, impacted. Shortly after, every Rioter whose role is or may be impacted will get a calendar invite to meet with their senior leader and people team partner and discuss next steps within 48 hours. While these meetings will be completed this week in the US, it may take several weeks to finish them around the world to comply with local laws and regulations.

Rioters whose roles are going away, and who are not moving into new positions, will be offered the following:

Severance pay 

  • Riot will offer a minimum of six months of salary, inclusive of notice period for all Rioters whose roles are going away, and more for those with longer tenure, in line with local laws.

Cash bonus

  • Riot will offer a cash bonus equal to 1x (100% of) everyone’s individual 2023 Annual Performance Bonus (APB) target, even if the employee joined within the last year.

Health benefits

  • In locations where Riot provides healthcare, employees covered by Riot's health benefits will continue to be covered through their last day of employment.
  • Further, they’ll 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.

Play fund, wellness fund, and more

  • Riot is offering an additional US$1000 (or local equivalent) under the Play Fund & Wellness Fund.

Equity

  • Rioters who have received Riot shares from vesting their single-vesting RSUs will get to keep them — subject to their terms and conditions.
    • This also applies to other vested instruments (like options, or cash-settled SARs in certain jurisdictions such as China).
  • In the event of a future buyback opportunity, Riot intends to allow these former employees to participate.
  • Rioters who hold dual-vesting equity, who have satisfied the service-based vesting component at the time of exit, will be able to vest their equity in the event the organisation has a qualifying liquidity event (like a change-in-control transaction) within the next 12 months.

Computer 

  • After returning their work computers, employees will have the option to request a laptop from IT if they don’t have one at home. They can keep their current peripherals such as their headset, mouse, and keyboard.

Career support 

  • Employees will have immediate access to job placement services for six months, including career coaching, networking, resume writing and review, and more to help them transition to a new job.

Rioter assistance programme 

  • Employees will continue to have access to RAP 24/7 for three months after they leave Riot which includes trained counselors who can help with emotional, legal, and financial concerns.
  • Further, enhanced employee assistance programmes (including mental health benefits) will be accessible in a number of locations worldwide. Local HRBPs will provide information about these programmes as available.

Visa support

  • For employees who hold visas as part of their employment with the organisations, Riot has a dedicated support lined up for those who need it.
    • This includes supporting transitions to non-employment visas where possible. Its global mobility team and outside immigration consultants will be in touch with impacted Rioters to discuss their individual situations.

Riot email access 

  • Riot will not immediately cut off email access. Instead, it will continue to provide access to impacted employees for a limited time after notification (this will vary by region). 

As for now, employees have been asked to cancel meetings and rituals over the next few days where possible.

Jadeja shared: "There’s no way around the fact that this is an extremely sad moment. 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.

"For those who are staying, I know this is a difficult time for you too. You’re not only losing coworkers and friends, but you may also feel uncertain about the road ahead. I want to assure you that our vision for the future remains ambitious – we will not lose our desire to dream for players, and as hard as this moment may be, we will emerge from it in a stronger place. I’m confident that by creating focus together, thinking long-term and operating as One Riot, we’ll be able to truly make it better to be a player."


Lead image / Riot Games press kit

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