Layoffs in the tech and entertainment industry are continuing to hit several companies, and Riot Games is no exception. For the first time in the company’s history, Riot cut down his staff.
Riot Games’ layoffs are “part of their normal course of business”
According to a report from Jacob Wolf, on Jan. 18, Riot laid off part of its workforce, mainly cutting on recruiting, human resources, support and esports. Riot employs roughly 4,500 people globally, and yesterday’s layoffs hit a total of 46 employees, meaning that it’s still only 1% of the company’s workforce.
“Riot Games implemented strategic shifts within a few teams to sharpen our focus in a number of areas,” is what a Riot corporate affairs representative told The Jacob Wolf Report in a statement. “With these shifts, certain roles were eliminated, impacting a total of 46 Rioters. This is part of our normal course of our business: We periodically make changes to our structure and our teams based on what we believe will allow us to deliver the best content and experiences for players.
The company said that it’s still continuing to hire, with over 150 positions available on its hiring website and that the recent layoffs doesn’t translate to a permanent reduction in the size of the workforce.
“We never make these decisions lightly and will always start from a place of wanting to retain Rioters and have them focus on our highest priorities. While that’s not always possible, it’s our primary goal.”
The layoffs are a broader trend of economic hardships
Over the past year, the gaming and tech industries have seen a growing increase in layoffs with the speculation of an oncoming recession, as well as more difficult access to debt.
Recently, Microsoft laid off 10,000 employees including those at The Coalition, 343 Industries, and Bethesda, while Amazon laid off 18,000 more which is around 5% of the company’s corporate staff. Game engine maker Unity also laid off over 200 employees.
On the esports side of the industry, teams are also facing challenges and reducing their workforce. Last week, 100Thieves have laid off around 30 employees, which was equal to one-sixth of its workforce. This is a worrying trend for the industry, as we might see more layoffs in the upcoming months.
In a Reddit AMA, Gen.G CEO Arnold Hur mentioned that the “esports winter is coming”. He mentions how there might be more than 30% of esports teams that cannot make it in the next 2 years. That said, he also added that there’s a strong alignment from top to bottom and that they are trying to fix the esports business model. It might be a tough 2023 for the esports industry, but there is hope that it will create new opportunities to ensure sustainability in the long run.