Tencent’s Riot Games Unit Cuts 11% of Workforce, Shifts Focus

Riot Games, a division of Tencent, trims 530 jobs (11% of workforce) and reevaluates publishing small developer games for sustainability.

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Tencent’s Riot Games unit, the publisher behind popular titles like League of Legends and Valorant, has announced a workforce reduction, cutting 11% of its staff, equivalent to approximately 530 jobs. The move is part of a strategic shift to create focus and work towards a more sustainable future, according to Riot Games CEO Dylan Jadeja.

In a letter to employees published on the company’s blog, Jadeja stated, “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.”

The downsizing aligns with recent job cuts observed across the media and technology industry, continuing a trend from the previous year when companies implemented cost-cutting measures amid challenging economic conditions. Tech giants like Amazon and Google have also confirmed layoffs in 2024.

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Riot Games, known for its popular esports titles, mentioned plans to reduce the headcount for its Legends of Runeterra title, a game released in 2020. Jadeja explained, “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.”

The Legends of Runeterra team will see changes in leadership, with Eric Shen stepping in as the new executive producer, replacing Dave Guskin. The company is also scaling back operations in its Forge division, which publishes games from independent developers.

Jadeja emphasized that Riot Games remains committed to ambitious internal projects, stating, “We’re proud of what we’ve done together to bring these stories to life, but it’s time to refocus our efforts on the ambitious projects underway internally at Riot.”

Tencent, based in China, invested in Riot Games in 2011 and later became its outright owner. The gaming company, headquartered in Los Angeles, has played a significant role in Tencent’s gaming portfolio. Tencent has been facing challenges, with its revenue experiencing single-digit growth or decline for the past seven quarters. The company’s founder and CEO, Pony Ma, previously mentioned a strategic shift toward “less scalable activities” and increased investments in artificial intelligence.

The move by Riot Games to streamline operations and focus on key projects reflects the broader adjustments happening in the gaming industry, influenced by evolving market conditions and a desire for sustainability.