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Refocusing Efforts: Riot Games Lays Off 530 Employees

Riot Games, the studio behind the popular game League of Legends, has initiated significant layoffs, affecting roughly 530 employees, which is about 11% of its total workforce. The company stated this decision is part of its strategy to focus on fewer, high-impact projects and move towards a more sustainable future. Riot CEO Dylan Jadeja explained that the expansion into a multi-game, multi-experience company since 2019 has led to an overwhelming number of projects, some of which have not yielded the expected results. Despite attempts at hiring freezes and other cost-saving measures, these layoffs have become essential to maintaining the core business of Riot Games.

Internal Changes and Project Downsizing

In addition to the layoffs, Riot Games is implementing significant internal changes. The development team for 'Legends of Runeterra,' a card game based on League of Legends, will be downsized due to the game not meeting expectations. The focus will shift towards developing the Path of Champions PvE mode. Furthermore, Riot is discontinuing Riot Forge, a program launched in 2019 to create single-player League of Legends games in collaboration with external studios. This decision will affect upcoming releases like the crafting RPG Bandle Tale, which was being developed under Riot Forge.

New Strategy and Support for Laid-off Employees

Riot Games has articulated a new strategy to more tightly integrate esports, music, and entertainment with its games. The company has also disclosed the severance package for the laid-off employees, which includes a minimum of six months of severance pay, a 2023 performance bonus, health benefits, additional pay for expenses, access to job placement services for six months, visa support, and other considerations. This package is substantial compared to industry norms and is similar to the one offered by Google to its laid-off employees last year. These layoffs at Riot Games add to the growing number of job losses in the gaming industry, following recent layoffs at Behaviour Interactive, Bungie, and the potential closure of developer Piranha Bytes.

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