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Riot lays off 530 staff, Riot Forge shutting down

League of Legends developer Riot Games has announced that it’s laying off 11% of its workforce, representing 530 employees.

The layoffs primarily impacted teams “outside of core development,” CEO Dylan Jadeja said in a lengthy update on Riot’s website. The employees affected will receive a minimum of six months of severance pay, a cash bonus, and extensive support including hardware if needed, job placement services, additional pay for health insurance, and more.

The company also announced that the scope of Legends of Runeterra is being reduced as well as the end of its publishing label, Riot Forge, which was focusing on titles set in the League of Legends universe.

“[Legends of Runeterra] hasn’t performed as well as we need it to, despite our best efforts,” Jadeja said. “We’ve been subsidising the cost of development on LoR through our other games, but at this point, that’s just not a viable option. So, we’re reducing the size of the team and shifting our focus to the ‘Path of Champions’ PvE game mode.”

As for Riot Forge, it will be shut down after the release of Bandle Tale, due to launch on February 24.

“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. We aren’t closing the door entirely on single-player experiences or working with other developers if the right project comes along, but we would want it to look pretty different in the future.”

Jadeja also explained the logic behind the redundancies, saying that Riot had made “a number of big bets” since 2019, expanding its portfolio and leading the company to double its size within “a few years.”

“Today, we’re a company without a sharp enough focus, and simply put, we have too many things underway,” Jadeja added. “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 company tried to course correct, Jadeja added, reducing scope on projects, reducing cost, and implementing hiring slowdowns. But Jadeja said these changes “[weren’t] enough.”

“We have to do more to focus our business and centre our efforts on the things that drive the most player value – the things that are truly worth players’ time,” he continued. “Unfortunately, this involves making changes in the area where we invest the most — our headcount.”

Riot will hold an internal meeting called Riotnow in early February to give further update on its portfolio.

Jadeja was appointed CEO of Riot back in May 2023, following up on Nicolo Laurent’s six year tenure.

Riot laid off 46 employees in January 2023 due to “strategic shifts.”

Riot Forge was launched in 2019, with the goal to partner with external studios to “create bespoke ‘completable’ League of Legends games.”

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