It’s time for me to be a little upfront about some things here. It may not be directly related to the topic at hand, but bare with me. The pervasive rot that is Capitalism has kept me from really focusing on the things I love to talk about. But, in order to have an understanding, you have to discuss the good and the bad. For every game, app, or piece of tech, there is an exploitative story behind it. That gets me down and makes me not want to do with this. I’d rather be out flipping tables in Congress or a Fortune 500 company. While I can’t do that, maybe I can further spread the layoff news to bring one more set of eyeballs to the situation.
Today, Riot Games announced that it was letting 530 employees go. And let me know if you heard this before, but the decision was made to refocus on “fewer, high-impact projects to move us toward a more sustainable future.”
In a player-focused statement, Riot said “For most of our history, we’ve managed to avoid days like this, but this decision is critical for the future of Riot. This isn’t to appease shareholders or to hit a quarterly earnings number – it’s a necessity.”
In an email to employees, CEO Dylan Jadeja elaborated:
Since 2019, we’ve made a number of big bets across the company with the goal of making it better to be a player. We jumped headfirst into creating new experiences and broadening our portfolio, and grew quickly as we became a multi-game, multi-experience company — expanding our global footprint, changing our operating model, bringing in new talent to match our ambitions, and ultimately doubling the size of Riot in just a few years.
Today, we’re a company without a sharp enough focus, and simply put, we have too many things underway. Some of the significant investments we’ve made aren’t paying off the way we expected them to. Our costs have grown to the point where they’re unsustainable, and we’ve left ourselves with no room for experimentation or failure – which is vital to a creative company like ours. All of this puts the core of our business at risk.
Over the past several months, we’ve tried to alter our trajectory in many different ways. We asked leaders to make tradeoffs in the things their teams are working on. We rolled out hiring slowdowns, and in some cases hiring freezes. We put an emphasis on controlling costs while strengthening our revenue growth. All of which has without a doubt been tough for our teams.
But as I’ve dug in with leaders across Riot, it’s become clear to all of us that these changes aren’t enough. We have to do more to focus our business and center our efforts on the things that drive the most player value – the things that are truly worth players’ time. Unfortunately, this involves making changes in the area where we invest the most — our headcount.”
CEO Dylan Jadeja
These “changes include shutting down RiotForge and reducing the team size of Legends of Runeterra.
The affected employees will be receiving a minimum of six months of severance pay, a cash bonus equal to 100% of their 2023 Annual Performance Bonus, $1000 to cover expenses that would fall within Riot’s Play Fund and Wellness Fund, a laptop to find work if they didn’t already have one, career support, three months’ access to the Rioter Assistance Program, visa support, and access to Riot email for a “limited time”.
TikTok also announced that they will be laying off staff. A spokesperson told NPR that 60 employees were getting cut. This will be mainly from their sales and advertising divisions in the US (Los Angeles, New York, and Austin) and abroad. According to the social media company, the reason for the layoffs are due to “routine reorganization”. However NPR stated that the company decided to axe them to save money.
I’m with NPR on this one. Especially when it comes to social media and ad sales, we’re probably going to see more cuts as companies embrace generative AI. If you can automate ads directly into the platform, who needs people.