Tencent’s Riot Games to cut 11 percent of staff as gaming industry continues ‘course correction’ after mass pandemic hiring
Los Angeles-based Riot Games, majority owned by Tencent, is to cut 530 jobs, or about 11 percent of its worldwide staff, in the computer gaming industry’s latest round of layoffs.
Riot Games chief executive Dylan Jadeja said the company had “more than doubled in headcount” over the past several years.
He said costs had “grown to the point where they’re unsustainable”.
The company is to refocus on its core lineup of live games such as League of Legends, Valorant, Teamfight Tactics, and Wild Rift, Jadeja said.
“We are refocusing on fewer, high-impact projects to move us toward a more sustainable future,” he wrote in a memo to staff on Monday night.
In 2019 the company marked its 10th anniversary with projects aimed at expanding the League of Legends universe into other games and new areas of entertainment.
One of those projects, the Riot Forge publishing label formed to produce League-related titles in partnership with smaller studios, is to shut down after releasing the upcoming title Bandle Tale, Jadeja said.
The free-to-play card game Legends of Runeterra, also announced in 2019, is to be scaled back and refocused on the player-vs-environment (PvE) game mode, he said.
Tech course correction
But he said the Project L 2D fighting game featuring League characters was “making great progress” and that the second season of the Netflix League of Legends animated series would come out in November as planned.
The industry experienced heavy job losses in 2023, with more than 10,000 losing their jobs, according to estimates by videogamelayoffs.com.
This year is on track to outpace the figure, with more than 3,800 job cuts so far in January at firms including Amazon’s Twitch, according to estimates by gaming news site kotaku.com.
In common with other tech firms, including Amazon and Facebook parent Meta Platforms, gaming companies said they were forced to reduce headcount after a hiring splurge during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns, when consumers were spending heavily on software and electronics.
A Game Developers Conference (CDC) survey released this month found 56 percent of respondents expected layoffs were on the way for their studios due largely to a “post-pandemic course correction”.