Riot Games to Pay Staff Who Leave Ahead of Change in Company Direction

Riot Games has outlined its plan for the next five years.
Riot Games has outlined its plan for the next five years. / Photo courtesy of Riot Games

Riot Games has outlined the strategy it plans to implement over the next five years, and CEO Nicolo Laurent says any employees who want out of the new Riot will be paid 25% of their base salary if they opt to search for new work.

"For a number of years, we've had a program in place called Queue Dodge," Laurent wrote in a blog post published Tuesday. "It's a program that lets anyone opt out of Riot within their first six months and get paid part of their salary to help transition to whatever is next. No hard feelings.

"As we prepare for the next phase of growth, we're opening Queue Dodge for a limited window for any Rioter, however long they've been with us."

The expanded Queue Dodge system will pay Riot employees who leave 25% of their base salary and three months of COBRA benefits where applicable. Leaving employees will also receive their full bonuses, regardless of whether they exit before the date those bonuses are typically paid out.

Laurent says Riot's ultimate goal remains to be "the most player-focused game company in the world," but that the scope of that mission has expanded.

"We'll always make games. But we also increasingly think that's an outdated way to categorize us. We don't want to be defined by the things we make, we want to be defined by the people we make them for. Put differently, we prefer to think of ourselves not as a games company but as a gamer's company," Laurent said.

That means that games like League of Legends and Valorant will remain a core part of Riot's identity, but the company plans to expand beyond the games themselves. This potentially means more projects in the vein of virtual band KDA and Netflix series "Arcane."

Laurent said Riot's long and well-publicized struggles with toxicity will continue to inform its work moving forward.

"To be clear, we aren’t asking anyone to forget about this chapter and move on. On the contrary, the lessons we’ve learned together over the last few years will be a crucial part of the Riot Games origin story. Something we’ll continue to teach as part of our 'denewb' orientation and lessons that we’ll use to always orient ourselves toward what is right for Rioters to make Riot the best possible place to work."

Other coming changes include re-organizing the company, a hybrid model of at-home and in-person work, a renewed focus on culture and improved stock-vesting compensation. Tencent has also agreed to return partial ownership of Riot back to the employees.

"When I first joined Riot, I never would have imagined that ANY of the things we achieved last year would have been possible," Laurent said. "But looking forward, I hope all of Riot can join me in believing the possibilities of the future are endless."