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Tencent's 'League of Legends' developer Riot Games announces layoffs of 530 staff

Tencent's 'League of Legends' developer Riot Games announces layoffs of 530 staff
Competitors play in a "League of Legends" championship series video game competition at the Penny Arcade Expo, a fan-centric celebration of gaming, in Seattle on Aug. 29, 2014. Riot Games, the developer of the popular “League of Legends” multiplayer game is joining other tech companies that have been trimming their payrolls with a layoff of 11% of its staff, announced Monday, Jan. 22, 2024. Credit: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File

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

In a lengthy statement to staff issued late Monday, CEO Dylan Jadeja and chief product officer and co-founder of Riot Games 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 now was cutting back to focus on games.

"Today we're a company without a sharp enough focus, and simply put, we have too many things underway. Some of the investments we've made aren't paying off the way we expected them to," the statement said.

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

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

It said it would offer access to job placement services, counseling and visa support for staff who were working with visas. Those laid off can 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 whiled away 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" will be discontinued after the upcoming release of "Bandle Tale," it said.

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