Riot Games Eliminating 46 Positions Amid Shift in Priorities

The layoffs, one of Riot's first-ever publicized reductions in force amid shifting priorities within the company, focus primarily on talent acquisition and recruiting.

Riot Games, the company behind some of the world’s most popular multiplayer games, is eliminating 46 positions in one of its first-ever publicized reductions in force amid shifting priorities within the company.

The layoffs focus primarily on its talent acquisition and recruiting departments, as well as its publishing arm, but also feature a few position eliminations in both its esports and support units. While one of the company’s first reductions, it accounts for less than one percent of the company’s workforce, which includes more than 4,500 employees worldwide.

“Riot Games implemented strategic shifts within a few teams to sharpen our focus in a number of areas,” a Riot corporate affairs executive told The Jacob Wolf Report in a statement. “With these shifts, certain roles were eliminated, impacting a total of 46 Rioters. This is part of our normal course of our business: We periodically make changes to our structure and our teams based on what we believe will allow us to deliver the best content and experiences for players. 

“We never make these decisions lightly and will always start from a place of wanting to retain Rioters and have them focus on our highest priorities. While that’s not always possible, it’s our primary goal.”

The company said it is continuing to hire, with more than 150 available positions posted on its hiring website and that the position eliminations is not to make a permanent reduction in the size of the workforce. Traditionally, the California-based developer behind “League of Legends” and “VALORANT” have avoided significant position eliminations, a testament to its staying power as a game development giant.

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Over the past year, though, the gaming industry, alongside technology and entertainment, has seen a growing increase in layoffs amid more difficult access to debt and alternative means of capital as well as dwindling revenues and speculation of an oncoming recession.

On Wednesday, Microsoft laid off 10,000 workers, including some on the Xbox side of its business, at developers such as 343 Industries (“Halo”) and Bethesda (“The Elder Scrolls” and “Fallout”). Other gaming companies have made similar reductions to Riot, such as Ubisoft, which eliminated 27 positions on Jan. 11. Game engine Unity laid off hundreds of workers in 2022, while gaming media companies such as FanByte and G4 completely shuttered in the past year.

On the esports side of the industry, several teams are facing economic challenges and are greatly reducing staff or shutting their doors. 100 Thieves, which Forbes valued as the second most valuable esports team in 2022, laid off roughly 30 employees on Jan. 10, a reduction of its workforce counting for somewhere between 14 and 17 percent of its workforce. Other teams, such as eUnited, have shut their doors all together.

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