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Tencent’s League Of Legends developer Riot Games to axe 530 jobs

The figure accounts for about 11% of the company’s headcount (Ted S Warren/AP)
The figure accounts for about 11% of the company’s headcount (Ted S Warren/AP)

Riot Games, the developer of the popular League Of Legends multiplayer battle game, is joining other tech companies who have been trimming their payrolls with a layoff of 11% of its staff.

In a lengthy statement to staff issued late on Monday, chief executive Dylan Jadeja and co-founder and president of the company Marc Merrill said the move was meant to “create focus and move us toward a sustainable future”.

It said 530 jobs were being eliminated, accounting for about 11% of the headcount at the company, which is owned by the Chinese technology giant Tencent.

A note to customers said: “This isn’t to appease shareholders or to hit a quarterly earnings number – it’s a necessity.”

The Los Angeles, California-based company said it had expanded its investments across too many areas, doubling its staff in a few years, and was now cutting back to focus on games.

“Today we’re a company without a sharp enough focus, and simply put, we have too many things under way,” the statement said.

“Some of the investments we’ve made aren’t paying off the way we expected them to.

“To all the Rioters who are being laid off, we are deeply sorry that it has come to this.”

Riot Games said it would pay staff who were laid off six months of salary at a minimum, cash bonuses and other benefits.

It said it would offer access to job placement services, counselling and visa support for staff who were working with visas. Those laid off could also request use of a laptop if needed, the company said.

Job cuts have been taking a toll on workers across various industries — including retail, tech, media and hospitality — over the last few years. In recent months, layoffs have been announced at Google, Amazon, Hasbro, LinkedIn and more.

Many have been in the tech sector, which hired heavily during the pandemic, when people passed the time stuck at home playing games online.

Riot Games sponsors the League Of Legends World Championship and the company said it remained committed to esports and entertainment in support of its games.

The company said it would make changes to its Legends Of Runeterra to “move it to sustainability” and reduce the staff working on that team, shifting its focus to its Path Of Champions.

Riot Forge would be discontinued after the upcoming release of Bandle Tale, it said.