League of Legends and Valorant developer and Tencent-owned Riot Games announced a strategic shift, including employee layoffs and closures, to prioritize high-impact projects, “to create focus,” and to secure a “more sustainable future.”
Which leads to Riot cutting about 530 roles globally representing 11% of its workforce and shutting down its indie game publishing arm Riot Forge.
This follows industry trends, with other gaming giants like Ubisoft and Epic Games making similar workforce layoffs.
Riot Games CEO Dylan Jadeja acknowledged past “big bets” to diversify the company’s portfolio beyond its core titles. However, he admitted that some of their key investments haven’t yielded expected results, prompting the need for restructuring.
“Our costs have grown to the point where they’re unsustainable,” Jadeja explained in an official statement. “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.”
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Riot-wide layoffs impact Legends of Runeterra, sunsets Riot Forge
The layoffs will impact various teams across the company, including downsizing of Legends of Runeterra team and ceasing operations of Riot Forge.
“[Legends of Runeterra] hasn’t performed as well as we need it to, despite our best efforts,” said Jadeja on reducing the card game’s team size.
In a separate statement, Executive Producer and Game Director for Legends of Runeterra (LoR) Dave Guskin says, “The truth is that despite LoR being an incredible game developed in tandem with the community, LoR has struggled over the years to find its footing as a business.”
And that the game will “once again recenter and refocus, this time with the rising star of the Path of Champions forming the core of the business.”
Meanwhile, Riot Forge sunsets after the upcoming release of Bandle Tale. “Forge has been our collaboration with external studios to develop smaller scale games in our IP.
“While we’re proud of what we’ve created in this space, and we’re grateful for the Forge team and for our external partners who made these games happen, we don’t view this as core to our strategy moving forward.”
What comes next for Riot
With all these significant changes, Jadeja emphasized Riot’s commitment to its core titles – League of Legends, Valorant, Teamfight Tactics, and Wild Rift. He also highlighted the company’s focus on esports, music, and entertainment integration for its flagship games.
In February 2024, Riot says they’ll be holding a product focused ‘RiotNow’ to discuss their porfolio and plans for players in 2024. As for LoR, Guskin says there will be a ‘chat with me’ on February 2nd, regarding what comes next for the game and will lay out FAQ on the specific changes.
As early as Thursday, there will be a Riot WW Town Hall “to give more context into this moment as well as portfolio changes” that the company made.