Today, I’m sharing a decision we hoped we would never have to make at Riot. We’re changing some of the bets we’ve made and shifting how we work across the company to create focus and move us toward a more sustainable future. This decision means we’re eliminating about 530 roles globally, which represents around 11% of our workforce, with the biggest impact to teams outside of core development. This also sadly means we’ll be saying goodbye to many talented colleagues and friends across all areas of Riot. 

I realize this is awful news to hear, and especially hard for those who will be leaving us. To all the Rioters who are being laid off, we are deeply sorry that it has come to this. 

As CEO, I’m accountable for the changes we’re making and where we’re headed in the future. So, I think it’s important for me to share how we got here and how the next few days will work. 

How we got here. 

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.  

I want to be super clear about something: this is absolutely the last thing we ever wanted to do. A decision like this has a massive impact on people’s lives and on the culture of Riot. We’re not doing this to appease shareholders or to hit some quarterly earnings number – we’ve made this decision because it’s a necessity. It's what we need to do in order to maintain a long-term focus for players. 

How this will work. 

There is no perfect way to do a layoff, but our guiding principle is to do our very best to make sure we’re treating Rioters with respect and grace. We want those who are leaving us to feel supported in this difficult moment. This starts with limiting the time they spend in ambiguity about their role and future with Riot, wherever possible.

Within the next hour, Rioters around the world will receive an email informing them whether or not their role is, or may be, impacted. This isn’t the usual way we do things, but we wanted to optimize for letting people know as soon as possible, and that’s tough to do at our scale without using email. 

Shortly after, every Rioter whose role is or may be impacted will get a calendar invite to meet with their Senior Leader and People team partner and discuss next steps within 48 hours. There's a wide range of local employment processes that have to be followed in situations like these. So, while these meetings will be completed this week in the US, it may take several weeks to finish them around the world as we follow local laws and regulations. 

Rioters whose roles are going away, and who aren’t moving into new positions, will be offered:

  • Severance Pay — We’ll offer a minimum 6 months of salary, which includes notice period for all Rioters whose roles are going away, and more for those with longer tenure, in line with local laws. 

  • Cash Bonus — We’ll offer a cash bonus equal to 1x (100% of) everyone’s individual 2023 Annual Performance Bonus (APB) target, even if Rioters joined within the last year.

  • Health Benefits — In locations where Riot provides healthcare, Rioters covered by our health benefits will continue to be covered through their last day of employment. In addition, they’ll be offered additional pay to cover their health benefits (medical, dental and vision), equal to the length of severance pay, and rounded up to the whole month.

  • Play Fund, Wellness Fund, etc. — We know Rioters may have planned future expenses that would normally be covered by things like the Play Fund & Wellness Fund, so we’re offering an additional $1000 (or local equivalent) to cover these and other types of expenses.

  • Equity — Rioters who have received Riot shares from vesting their single-vesting RSUs will get to keep them, subject to their terms and conditions. This also applies to other vested instruments (like options, or cash-settled SARs in certain jurisdictions such as China). In the event of a future buyback opportunity, we intend to allow these former Rioters to participate. Rioters who hold dual-vesting equity, who have satisfied the service-based vesting component at the time of exit, will be able to vest their equity in the event we have a qualifying liquidity event (like a change-in-control transaction) within the next 12 months.

  • Computer — A laptop is an essential part of finding new work, so after returning their work computers, Rioters will have the option to request a laptop from IT if they don’t have one at home. They can keep their current peripherals like their headset, mouse, and keyboard.

  • Career Support — Rioters will have immediate access to job placement services for 6 months including, career coaching, networking, resume writing and review, and more to help them transition to a new job. 

  • Rioter Assistance Program — Rioters will continue to have access to RAP 24/7 for three months after they leave Riot which includes trained counselors who can help with emotional, legal, and financial concerns. In addition, enhanced employee assistance programs (including mental health benefits) will be accessible in a number of locations worldwide. Our local HRBPs will provide information about these programs as available.   

  • Visa Support — We know this change will be particularly challenging for Rioters who hold visas as part of their employment with Riot. Each situation is unique, and we have dedicated support lined up for those who need it. This includes supporting transitions to non-employment visas where possible. Our Global Mobility team and outside immigration consultants will be in touch with impacted Rioters ASAP to discuss their individual situations.

  • Riot Email Access — Rather than immediately cut off email access, which is more common in these moments, we will continue to provide access to impacted Rioters for a limited time after notification (this will vary by region). We want to make sure Rioters who are leaving us this week have a bit of time to identify and unwind any personal info or accounts that may be tied to their Riot email addresses.  

We’re not expecting this to be a normal, “business as usual” week for us. We’re asking everyone to cancel meetings and rituals over the next few days where possible as we move through these changes together. Also, if you’re at one of our US offices now, we ask that you head home for the rest of the day and work remotely through Wednesday. If you need to come into the office on those days, please respect those who may be having difficult conversations and give them space to process.

What this means for our portfolio. 

Let me start by saying we’re as committed as ever to League PC, VALORANT, TFT, Wild Rift, and to exploration in R&D. In some cases, we’re reshaping our portfolio and teams to develop these games more effectively, but you can expect these to be areas where we continue to invest. Our commitment to esports and entertainment in support of our games is also unchanged. The relationships we have with players are a real differentiator for us, so we’ll continue building the experiences in and around our games that have a meaningful impact on what it feels like to be a player. 

While it's the normal course of business for us to spin projects up and down, we also need to make hard choices when our bets aren’t performing as well as we hoped. We’re making adjustments to some of our R&D efforts across games, esports, and entertainment. We’re also re-thinking the level of support we demand from our enterprise teams. And we’ve made two decisions about our current games portfolio that we want to share with you now. We plan to announce these to players shortly. 

  • As Legends of Runeterra continues its journey, we’re making changes to move the game toward sustainability. We know there’s a passionate community who absolutely love this game, and we do too. However, it hasn't performed as well as we need it to, despite our best efforts. We’ve been subsidizing the cost of development on LoR through our other games, but at this point, that’s just not a viable option. So, we’re reducing the size of the team and shifting our focus to the 'Path of Champions' PvE game mode.

  • In addition, we’re sunsetting Riot Forge after the upcoming release of Bandle Tale. Forge has been our collaboration with external studios to develop smaller scale games in our IP. While we’re proud of what we’ve created in this space, and we’re grateful for the Forge team and for our external partners who made these games happen, we don’t view this as core to our strategy moving forward. We aren’t closing the door entirely on single-player experiences or working with other developers if the right project comes along, but we would want it to look pretty different in the future. 

In early February, we’ll be holding a product focused RiotNow to get deeper into our portfolio and to discuss some of our plans for players in 2024. 

The path forward.

There’s no way around the fact that this is an extremely sad moment. For those who are leaving… I want to reiterate, we are deeply sorry for the impact this has on you and your family. I can’t thank you enough for everything you’ve done for Riot, and for your dedication to players. We’re committed to doing our best to support you in this moment and through this transition. 

For those who are staying, I know this is a difficult time for you too. You’re not only losing coworkers and friends, but you may also feel uncertain about the road ahead. I want to assure you that our vision for the future remains ambitious – we will not lose our desire to dream for players, and as hard as this moment may be, we will emerge from it in a stronger place. I’m confident that by creating focus together, thinking long-term and operating as One Riot, we’ll be able to truly make it better to be a player. 

While we’d love for this news to remain within our virtual walls, we know that’s not realistic; there are many members of our global community who care deeply about the people who make and support their favorite games. With that in mind, I’m going to share this email publicly on in the hopes that it answers most of their questions so you don’t have to. 

We’re going to hold a Riot WW Town Hall on Thursday to give more context into this moment as well as portfolio changes we’ve made. Until then, I’d like to reiterate my deep gratitude to all the Rioters who are leaving. Your passion and commitment has been felt by the people around you and the millions of players we serve.