Riot Games Promises Internal Changes in Response to Potential Employee Walkout
With talks about a walkout at League of Legends studio Riot Games, management is opening up internal conversations about the company culture.
Management within Riot Games, the studio responsible for League of Legends, is attempting to quell unrest within their workforce. Internal complaints about the company culture and management’s responses to those complaints have led to the organization of an employee walkout, prompting management to respond, Waypoint reports.
It has been well-known recently that employees have expressed dissatisfaction with company culture, with a recent pushback against the apparent “bro culture” and a sexist environment in Riot Games. This has led to an amendment added in the company’s “values policy,” although further actions from Riot Games increased the amount of ire raised by employees. According to another report from Kotaku just last Friday, Riot Games took steps to prevent their own employees from taking legal action against management.
Numerous Riot Games employees offered information and insight into the situation to Waypoint under anonymity; according to these employees, the actions from the company were considered aggressive enough to prompt serious discussions about an employee walkout ever since the release of the Kotaku report. One employee stated that Riot did not provide transparency and actions as originally promised.
Word of talks about a walkout eventually reached leadership, and sources from within Riot say that the company’s chief diversity officer Angela Roseboro responded to such talks on the company’s private Slack channel. Roseboro acknowledged that employees “are not feeling heard,” and offered “small group sessions” for employees to express their concerns and feelings. CEO Nicolo Laurent also had the following statement to share to press:
“We’re proud of our colleagues for standing up for what they believe in. We always want Rioters to have the opportunity to be heard, so we’re sitting down today with Rioters to listen to their opinions and learn more about their perspectives on arbitration. We will also be discussing this topic during our biweekly all-company town hall on Thursday. Both are important forums for us to discuss our current policy and listen to Rioter feedback, which are both important parts of evaluating all of our procedures and policies, including those related to arbitration.”
Roseboro also acknowledged the Kotaku report, saying that the company would rather resolve legal action from employees through private arbitration. One employee expressed continuing frustration at Riot to Waypoint about what “Rioters” take as another example of a lack of transparency, due to the proposal of closed-door small group discussions. Rioters also complain that Riot COO Scott Gelb, despite a two-month unpaid leave for misconduct in the workplace, is still employed at the company.
Unrest at Riot Games is yet another entry in the long list of cases defined by employee unrest amongst video game workers, including complaints about crunch at Mortal Kombat 11 studio NetherRealm and Fortnite studio Epic Games. Video game workers are still not formally unionized, but organizations such as Game Workers Unite have been in the spotlight recently, especially with actions from the bottom up by employees like those in Riot Games.